Monday, March 02, 2009

On Forgiveness and the start of Great Lent.

Excerpt from "Great Lent" by Alexander Schmemann

He is speaking about the Vespers service...

This day's Great Prokeimenon announces the beginning of Lent:

Turn not away Thy face from Thy servant for I am afflicted!
Hear me speedily.
Attend to my soul and deliver it!

Listen to the unique melody of this verse--to this cry that suddenly fills the church: "...for I am afflicted!"--and you will understand this starting point of Lent: the mysterious mixture of despair and hope, of darkness and light. All preparation has now come to an end. I stand before God, before the glory and the beauty of His Kingdom. I realize that I belong to it, that I have no other home, no other joy, no other goal; I also realize that I am exiled from it into the darkness and sadness of sin, "for I am afflicted!" And finally, I realize that only God can help in that affliction, that only He can " attend to my soul." Repentance is, above everything else, a desperate call for that divine help.
Five times we repeat the Prokeimenon. And then, Lent is here!...
We will have to wander forty days through the desert of Lent. Yet at the end shines already the light of Easter, the light of the Kingdom.

One of the things that is so amazing to me, the thing that has been so comforting and appealing to me from early on in my journey to Orthodoxy is knowing that all over the world, Orthodox Christians are singing these very same hymns. Orthodox Christians all over the world are walking together, singing and repenting, asking forgivness and beginning this journey of Great Lent together. Knowing that I could go just about anywhere and enter just about any Orthodox Church and I would hear the same hymns being sung:
Turn not away Thy face from Thy servant for I am afflicted!
Hear me speedily.
Attend to my soul and deliver it!

Together we fast, pray and give almsgiving as we strive a little harder on our path to salvation. That we may come out in the end a little bit more like God.

My dear friends and family in Christ, as we begin our journey through Lent I ask forgiveness.
Please forgive me!
God forgives all!


Pres. Kathy said...

Please forgive me also. May you have a blessed and fruitful lent!

Matushka said...

I forgive and God forgives!

Please forgive me!

Matushka Michelle

Mimi said...

I forgive as God forgives.
Forgive me, my sister.

It is such a haunting and true melody.

Kelleylynn said...

God forgives and so do I
Blessed Lent!