2020 Great Lenten Journey

Day 20 – Learn to Love

We are officially half-way through our Great Lenten Journey. Remember, the forty days ends the day before Saturday of Lazarus, and today is day twenty! We’ve made it this far, and if you’re still “in the game” chances are you will finish the race. Congratulations on making it this far! I’ve written a great deal about how this year’s health crisis has affected our journey. Today I’ll look ahead at try to “reframe” the second half of our journey considering the new, albeit temporary, reality.

Day 19 – This too shall pass

As the second week of Great Lent comes to an end this weekend, we look back at a week filled with anxiety and emotional rollercoasters. If you’re like me, you have to force yourself to turn off the news just to have some peace and quiet. The last time I experienced this much public tension to this level was in the days and weeks after 9/11. I remember feeling like the anxiety might never end, and the (then new) 24-hour cable news didn’t help insisting on airing over and over scenes of panic.

Day 18 – No More Holy Communion

In many Churches throughout the world yesterday, Presanctified Liturgy was either celebrated behind closed doors, or was cancelled all together. We were blessed to offer Presanctified Liturgy at our host parish last night, but I was inspired by one comment by a mother shortly before the beginning of Liturgy. “The fact that I’m running to church tonight to commune my family in case it’s the last time during our most holiest time of the year, tells me that the devil is working on overtime to keep us out and us faithful really need to step it up.”

Day 17 – Defeat Pride

Over the years of my ministry, I have come to the realization that the single common sin in every human being is pride. This longstanding tradition of pride goes way back to our ancestors in the Garden, as we have learned during Great Lent by reading daily from Genesis. In the case of Adam and Eve, pride drove them to falling into the temptation from the devil, and more than anything else, Great Lent is about defeating the pride so that we can enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.

Day 16 – Social Distancing

Since our current health crisis is going to be our partner on our Daily Lenten Journey, I will endeavor to remain focused on our journey while not ignoring the reality of the Coronavirus. We’ve all been asked to practice social distancing, and many of our Church throughout the world have actually closed their doors. For some this has been a source of scandal, while for other it has been a relief from anxiety. Either way, it will be imperative that we do not allow these few weeks of social distancing to permanently change the way we interact as human beings, let alone as churches.

Day 15 – Fill the Void

Today we begin our third week of our Great Lenten Journey desperately in need of focus for our souls. The world is overwhelming our hearts with fear and panic about a virus we ultimately no nothing about. Keep washing your hands. Stay out of crowded places and pray for those working to keep us safe. I suggest we refocus our heart and minds toward something other than this virus. I say this because if we desire, we can experience God this week.

Day 14 – Sometimes You Need to Get Creative

As the Coronavirus (COVID19) continues to wreak havoc throughout our nation and world, the Orthodox Church continues to stand faithful to Christ. She offers words of peace and comfort amidst so many unknowns as health officials continue to learn more each day. Church throughout the world, and here in America, have decided either to close completely or at minimum reduce schedules.

Day 13 - Maybe the Ancients Knew Better

The past few days have been eye-opening for me in regard to the attitude of the society in general toward the Orthodox Church. Attempting to remind our Orthodox Christian faithful of the safety of Holy Communion, our host parish became the recipient of viral (no pun intended) attacks on social media. These attacks ranged from mild name-calling to accusations of trying to kill our parishioners. So after nearly 100,000 views with hundreds of such comments, I decided to remove the post.