As we now begin our incredible Journey through Great Lent…we stand at the very place where we will be standing in a little over 40 days…at the foot of the cross…gazing in wonder at the incredible love that God has for all mankind. Today, we take the place of Adam, walking in the Garden of Eden…weeping at what we as Human Beings have become…because we have put ourselves…our own wants…our own desires…above God.
We read in the Matins Service from last night…the indescribable sadness of the first human being Adam…who after casting HIMSELF out of paradise, cried out:
“Woe is me…For the serpent has deprived me of my boldness before God, and through eating from the tree, I have become an exile from the joy of paradise! Woe is me! No more can I endure the shame! I was once king of all God’s creatures upon the earth, and have now become a prisoner, led astray by evil council. I who was once clothed in the glory of immortality, must now, as one condemned to die, wrap myself miserably in the skins of mortality. Woe is me! Who will share my sorrow with me? But O Lord who loves mankind, who has fashioned me from the earth and art clothed with compassion…call me back from the bondage of the enemy, and save me.”
What is Great Lent, brothers and sisters?
It is our calling back from the enslavement of our passions…our wants…our desires. It is about purging ALL of those things that lead us to forget WHO WE ARE…WHAT WE WERE MEANT TO DO…AND WHERE WE ARE CALLED TO BE. And so now we begin our journey back…and repeat those words that we heard Adam say throughout the Vespers service last night: “O Lord…call me back to Eden.”
I ask for your forgiveness for any way that I might have offended you…whether voluntary or involuntary…whether in knowledge or in ignorance…and I ask that you pray not only for me, but for the rest of your brothers and sisters, as we journey together towards Golgotha and the Holy Pascha.