Monday, February 19, 2007

The beginning of Lent

I often have to explain Great Lent to people, especially this year when I am a college freshman with a whole new set of friends. None of them are Orthodox, several aren't religious, and even those who are mostly understand Lent from a Catholic background. Generally when I am finished they look at me in horror and say, "How do you do that? I could never do that!" I usually make a wry face while in the back of my mind I think, "Well I have to." Not exactly the best response but I suspect it's pretty common in the Orthodox world. Lent is something difficult and hard. We don't really want to do it but we know we have to. So we hold our nose and take the plunge hoping it will be over as soon as possible.

It's the natural response to Lent (although, as I said, not exactly the best one) so it took me aback when I noticed for the first time the Epistle reading for Cheesefare or Forgiveness Sunday: Romans 13:11-14:4. This reading includes two verses which I think sum up how we are supposed to think about Lent:

And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of
sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.

The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off
the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Romans

You see? Lent is not some terrible burden that we slog through as best we can. No, it is the time when our salvation is near. It is in fact the day, not the night. It is a time to be sober, but it is not a time to be sorrowful. Let us each try to put on the armour of light and look at Lent a new way.

1 comment:

Katie said...

Yes, Peter Marshall is Catherine Marshall's husband. I suppose I should have said Peter Marshall Sr. but their son usually goes by Peter John.

I hope this works this time, it's giving me goofy stuff...