Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The image of the Passover in in the Old Testament is one of people setting off on a journey. The people are instructed to eat unleavened bread as a sign that the journey is hurried – they haven’t even time to let the bread rise. Rather, they are to eat with their shoes on and ready to start traveling at once. The travel is urgent!
So for us every year we keep Pascha as a supremely urgent journey which begins with our seeking forgiveness of one another and then plunging us into Great Lent. And, whether we keep Lent strictly or not, often it seems like a long journey. Week after week we persevere. The services are long – if we are fasting, we tire more easily. The Lenten services take of our precious time. Patience can wear thin – a form of Lenten road rage emerges as we impatiently judge those around us who annoy us.
This year, we had a number of people join our community in the sojourn. Our numbers increased as we worked our way toward Pascha. We have asked God to sojourn with them and us: “Let God arise” and lead us toward the Kingdom, despite threats and enemies in the world. We move as did ancient Israel through a hostile world seeking the promise of the Kingdom of Heaven.
We remind ourselves every year of the destination – Pascha, the resurrection of Christ. And we recognize that though the destination is clear, the sojourn continues. Daily we carry the Cross always moving toward God. We walk with Christ, beginning at His tomb, which is also our baptismal font. We are buried with Christ in baptism, and then raised with Him to a new life. Through His Cross, joy has come into all the world.
May God bless you and strengthen you to continue the sojourn. Rejoice constantly on the road to God’s Kingdom. Ultimately, the suffering of this world is nothing when compared to the glories of the world to come.
Christ is risen!