This our procession

CHRIST IS RISEN!

“Buried in water we have been transferred out of the Kingdom of night.

We have entered into the splendour of His marvelous light!

This our procession, into the heavens, cleansed and forgiven, in Christ!

This our procession, into the heavens, we have been made citizens of the

Kingdom that has come, of the only begotten Son!

Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father and of the Son, and of the Spirit

now and forever and to all ages.

AMEN”

– David. T. Way and Mark Clevenger

The Judas in me

“Today, the Master shows His disciples an example of humility: He Who wraps the heavens in clouds, girds Himself with a towel; He Who holds all life in His hands, kneels down to wash the feet of His servants. O long suffering Lord, glory to You.

– Even my dearest friend, whom I trusted, who ate of my bread, has lifted up his heal against me. (Ps 41)

Today Judas lays aside his outward pretence of love for the poor; he no longer even seems concerned for the needy as he openly displays his greed for money. As he desired to sell the sinful woman’s oil of myrrh, now he seeks to sell the heavenly myrrh itself, ready to take the silver pieces and be off. Unable as he is to accept the Lord for whom He truly is, in his greed for the profit of the sale and in his frightful turmoil he concludes the transaction. From such a faith deliver us, O Lord!

– Whenever she comes to visit, she pretends sympathy, but her mind gathers mischief and slander, and when she goes outside she gossips freely. (Ps 41)

You are treacherous and deceitful, O miserable and evil-minded Judas! Because you are sick with the love of money, you have come to despise mankind. If riches mean so much to you, why become the disciple of the One Who teaches poverty? Why even pretend to be His follower! But if your love is truly for Him, how can you betray Him? How can you sell Him for money and hand Him over to be murdered? Let the sun tremble and let the moon weep, let all the earth quake and groan, and let all creation cry out with us: O long-suffering Lord, glory to You!”  (Troparia of Holy Thursday)

To remember Judas for for the crime he committed is proper. It is also easy, often to easy. I find that it is with ease that I project my own participation in the betrayal and murder of our Lord on Judas, Herod, the Pharisees and Pilate. Yet deep down I know that I also, on numerous accounts have betrayed my Lord. When I deny Him like Peter, when I commit sins that I know are wrong. When my lack of love and concern for others takes over my priorities. When I let greed fester in my heart. The only thing I know that I can do to transform this pseudo, luke warm reality residing in me is to let Him wash my heart clean. To accept His sacrifice in His broken body and in His blood. The hour for this sacrifice draws near.

Let us go in holy silence! And in anticipation, let us watch and wait!

What I could not, He could

At the end of Lent I find myself identifying with St Pauls words more deeply: “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate… So then it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells in me… Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 7:15,17,24 – 25)

 I don’t know about you but to me it seems like every time I set up a regimen or rule to follow during Lent, I fall short and fail. With all my will power I can’t muster the strength to follow through on my promises. In the words of St Gregory of Nyssa:

“Our nature was sick and needed a doctor. Man had fallen and needed someone to raise him up. He who ceased to participate in the good needed someone to bring him back to it. He who was shut in darkness needed the presence of life. The prisoner was looking for someone to ransom him, the captive for someone to take his part. He who was under the yoke of slavery was looking for someone to set him free.”

The law as well as Lent reveals to us the depth of our inadequacy to save ourselves, we can’t. “So then it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells in me.” This is St Paul acknowledging that he has failed in his nepsis (watchfulness) and let sin into his life, sin makes him do things that he knows he does not want to do! This champion of faith is painfully aware that he falls short in defeating his ‘flesh’ on his own but he also knows where to turn: “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Today is Holy Tuesday, let us fix our eyes and hearts on the One Who is able to do what we can’t. Let us follow the example of St Paul and surrender to the grace of God. Let us invite Him to clean the inside of our cup and dish. Let us be like the wise virgins, keeping our lamps burning. Lets stay awake as the hour of the end is approaching.

Lets go up to Jerusalem

In the end, the fast turns into a feast. The trajectory of the Kingdom is a growing one, not a receding one. The prophets of the Old Testament bear witness to that the Kingdom will prevail, dry bones will live again. The priests of the Old Testament offers up the animals as a for-shadowing of what is to come. The Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world. The kings in the line of David, good or bad, makes us aware of that something that is not yet perfected will soon be. As we enter Holy week we need to re-mind ourselves of this. The fast will turn into a feast. Out of darkness, light will shine forth. The pass-over meal that was shared in haste in Egypt has in Christ been transformed into a meal that we may share in peace and harmony without having to worry about leaving our new home, the Kingdom of heaven. In Christ and in His sacrificial passion we are in a mystery transformed into the household of God, His very sons and heirs. In Christ we do not have to fast any longer because He presents the table where real food and life is offered. The bitter herbs is left behind. He is the Lamb, entering Jerusalem on the foul of a donkey. As we enter Holy week let us lay down our lives as the people in Jerusalem laid down their clothes in front of Jesus. Let us ask of Him to save us, Hosanna, from the forces of evil that seeks to destroy our souls. Let us exalt His name as our King in a Kingdom that is growing wherever anyone lays down his or her life for one another. Let us invite the King into our own hearts, so that He may transform them into His holy city, Jerusalem – the foundation of peace. Let us follow Him up the way of pain in faith, because we know that with Him, pain and suffering will turn into eternal life and rejoicing. Let us be attentive and on guard, for soon the Creator of the Universe will be put into the hands of His creatures. Soon He is leaving the eternal marriage feast in heaven so that we may partake of it with Him once more. 

“Let your loins be girded and your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the marriage feast, so that they may open to him at once when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes; truly I say to you, he will gird himself and have them sit at the table, and he will come and serve them… You also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” Luke 12:35 – 40