We Orthodox continue our week of rejoicing, celebrating daily the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ throughout Bright Week. The Church, the community of believers, was born in Christ – in His death and resurrection. One image the early Christians used is that in the same way that Eve was taken from the side of Adam (Genesis 2), so too the Church comes from the side of Christ – in the blood and water which poured forth from His pierced side.
We each participate in this death and resurrection through the sacraments of baptism and communion. This is why in the early Church baptism of the catechumens was linked to the celebration of Pascha, the resurrection of Christ. As St. Gregory the Theologian expressed it: “Yesterday I was crucified with Him; today I am glorified with Him; yesterday I died with Him; today I am quickened with Him; yesterday I was buried with Him; today I rise with Him.”
The Roman Catholic scholar Jean Danielou says:
“The marriage of Christ and the Church, which took place on the Cross, is continued throughout the whole Church by Baptism and the Eucharist: ‘The Word of God came down to earth to unite Himself to His Bride, willingly die for her, to make her glorious and immaculate in the bath of purification. For otherwise the Church could not conceive those who believe and bring them forth anew by the bath of regeneration, if Christ did not die anew, did not unite Himself to His Church and give her the power from His side, so that all those may grow up who are born into the baptismal bath. Baptism perpetually regenerates Christians by plunging them into the death of Christ, and the Eucharist continually makes them grow by giving them the strength which comes from His side, that is, by communion in His risen Body.” (The Bible and the Liturgy, p 206)
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