Fear Not!~Br Milan Komadina

I would like to start this sermon with a very beautiful orthodox prayer that Christians in eastern traditional churches sing on the occasion of Ester and it goes:

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and on those in the tombs bestowing life! (Greek: Christos anesti ek nekron, thanato thanaton patisas, ke tis en tis mnimasin, zoin charisamenos)

I remember the time when I was living in an orthodox monastery as a novice. We had a special time of joyfulness during the Easter season since Easter is the most joyful Christian holiday and it brings the purpose to each human since we know that through Easter Jesus had given us everlasting forgiveness and everlasting life. When I was just a kid I used to live in one building where there were around 20 or 25 apartments. On a daily basis I was meeting neighbors greeting them on my way to school and back home. Then I remember the period of life when a few very old neighbors passed away. It was shock for me. I asked parents where did they go and they told me that they went to heaven. When I further asked if they could ever come back home from heaven the answer was no. I remember the biggest shock when one day I heard that an 18-year old beautiful girl from my building suddenly died. This very early period of time was the time when I as a kid raised awareness of death and gained knowledge that we are not eternal and we will all die sooner or later. What is interesting I didn’t have a fear of death at that time. I remember I was even curious about it. I even tried with a few friends to do a (I must emphasize NON-Christian) ritual of inviting ghosts of neighbors who passed away in order to ask them about their death experiences and find out more about what comes after. I did that because at that time as a very young curious kid I didn’t know that all those answers I could find in the Bible. As we grow we become more connected to this world and materialism. And even though it sounds a bit ironic the older we grow the bigger fear of death we raise.

Fear of death! Should Christians have that fear? I remember that somewhere I read when I was studying about phobia that the fear of death thanatophobia is one of the biggest fears which people have. There is a definition of it stating that thanatophobia is an extreme fear of death or the dying process. You might be scared of your own death or the death of a loved one. Psychotherapy can help most people overcome this disorder but I would like to add here that the biggest psychotherapy for thanatophobia is faith in what Jesus has promised us – we who believe will never die.

Jesus Has Risen (Matthew 28:1-10)

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

Every person someone questions what is the meaning of life. Especially when we lose someone who we love. Christians believe that the death is just a temporal separation and we are sure that we are already saved by grace and that we already live in Jesus and Jesus in us. And though He is Eternal and he destroyed death we are also eternal in Christ through faith. That is the beauty of our faith and that is why it is so special and full of hope. When I was younger I was occasionally investigating about other religions and teachings but I found that our let us call it religion is the most optimistic, the most secure and the fullest with eternal and perfect love.

Let us rejoice because the Death is beaten. The everlasting life is gifted and our Jesus is alive and he will come again in His Glory. Happy Easter! I am greeting you all with eastern Christian greeting – Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed.