Unlike the kings and queens of today, our King doesn’t just sit on a distant throne. He leads us into battle against the devil from within our hearts. Our King doesn’t enter in glory surrounded by military guards but enters into our hearts with humility. Our King never leaves our side but invites us to join Him physically forever united to Him. Our King has redefined what it means to be King and the True King of Peace. Today, Palm Sunday, we celebrate our King Who ushers in the final battle for our souls, and to free us from oppression.
Here we are, the final day of Great Lent 2021! It is my prayer that the Daily Lenten Journey has been a blessing for you, but you’re not finished with your journey. Today is only the beginning; it is not an end. Over the next week, the Church will embark on a different type of journey, one of even more intense prayer, fasting and worship. Holy Week will begin Sunday evening following two feasts. I hope you’re ready.
Tomorrow is the final day of our Daily Lenten Journey. Our readings from Genesis will soon be coming to an end leaving us with the vision of Moses and the Exodus. Before we get to the Exodus, we must first make the journey along with Israel and his family to Egypt. This journey, much like our own Great Lenten Journey, is a combination of struggle and hope, and like any journey worth taking, has many unknowns.
You can’t escape public debates these days on social media, making it difficult to live as an Orthodox Christian. It is no secret that our beliefs and morals are rarely (less and less every day) the same as the morals and beliefs of our society. Social media can be difficult to navigate without religious topics these days, let alone faith, so today’s Daily Lenten Journey is more of a ‘how to’ for Orthodox Christians on social media.
It is important during Great Lent, and every day in truth, to focus on preparing our soul to meet the Lord. Let’s face it, Great Lent is about as intense a spiritual workout we could expect, and as we approach the last few days, we’re tired. We feel blessed, but we’re tired. Being tired unfortunately tends to shorten our fuse, and we more easily get frustrated with others, but that would be a tragedy.
Just days before Christ was to enter in Jerusalem, He shared with His disciples what was about to happen. Rather than feeling the blessing they had experienced with Christ, they were worried about what seats they were going to get in heaven. Christ teaches us through this story that we must stop worrying about what seat we will enjoy in heaven, and instead to serve others in love, without trying to always be the center of attention.
Now that we are in the final days of Great Lent, I invite you to take a moment and look back on the past five weeks. Think back to the themes that Church has offered to us in order that we may prepare our soul to celebrate Pascha. Consider how you heard the advice from the Church, and to what extent you allowed the Church to lead you. This is the final week of Great Lent (Holy Week is a separate season altogether) and we don’t want to look back at the past weeks and realize we have lost time to prepare. We don’t want any regrets when we enter Holy Week.
Today is the final Sunday of Great Lent, and the Church continues to teach us about Christian humility within the proper context. As Christ was preparing His Disciples to understand what was soon about to happen in Jerusalem, rather than acknowledging the great blessing they were receiving, they could only think about themselves.
It happens all the time. I look out from the Holy Altar at the People of God, and wonder if anyone is even glad to be in Church. I first noticed this more than twenty years ago, when I was still a lay person, but it never fails. Based solely on the faces of those in Church, being Orthodox Christian is a burden and way to sad to attract anyone to the faith. It could be one of the reasons the Church hasn’t taken a stronger hold in America.
To wrap up our theme this week about Godly passions, today I bring you attention to the reading from Genesis 22.1-18. It is the story of the Sacrifice of Abraham in which we learn what it means to have a sense of Godly obedience, and it won’t be the last time in the Holy Scriptures, but today’s story does prepare us for Holy Week a little more than one week away.