The End is At Hand

And he who sat upon the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.  …  It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.” (Revelation 21:5-6)

We come today to the end of Great Lent.  And it turns out that Jesus Christ is the end – not only of Great Lent but of all things.  When we come to the end of Lent, we come to Jesus Christ our Lord.  We come also to our judgment.    Below is a hymn from the last Thursday of Great Lent (from the Triodion) for us to think about where we are, and where we are going.

Come, Brothers and Sisters, and before the end of the Fast, let us draw near with pure hearts to the compassionate God, laying aside all earthly cares, caring instead for our souls.

Laying aside all earthly cares – there are so many needs and issues in our lives and in our nation and on this planet that press upon us and demand our attention.  And we worry about so many things and are upset with so many things, but does all our emotional angst and anger really help anything or anyone?  We need that space and time when we lay aside all these earthly concerns in order to experience eternity.  We never can live outside of time but we can take time to lay aside earthly cares to experience anew the simple fact that God is the Lord, despite all our worries, fears and reactions.  We need to stand in the presence of God at times, to regain perspective.

By abstinence, let us renounce our love of pleasure, and concern ourselves instead with charity, For in this way, as it is written, some have unknowingly been hosts to angels. By providing for the needy, let us feed Him Who has fed us with His own flesh; let us clothe ourselves in Him who clothes Himself in light as with a Garment,

Another reminder in this hymn that Lent was about love and making ourselves love God and neighbor rather than being so narrowly fixated on our selves, our concerns,our anxieties, our worries and all we fret about.  In giving charity, which we should have been doing throughout Lent, we feed Christ, we clothe Christ, we house Christ, we minister to Christ.  We feed and clothe God!

so that by the intercessions of the most pure Mother and Virgin Theotokos, we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and cry to Him with compunction: save us, Lord, from the condemnation of those on your left hand, and make us worthy to stand at your right hand, for You are the merciful lover of humankind!

We come to the end of Great Lent – we come to our Lord Jesus Christ – for the forgiveness of our sins, or mercy and for all we need for our salvation.

Becoming and Being Christian

“‘Know you not,’ writes St. Paul to the Corinthians, ‘that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which you have of God, and you are not your own? For you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s’ (1 Cor. 6:19-20). These words are  real summary of St. Paul’s constant appeal to Christians: we must live according to what has ‘happened’ to us in Christ; yet we can live thus only because it has happened to us, because salvation, redemption, reconciliation, and ‘buying with a price’ have already been given to us and we are ‘not our own’. We can and must work at our salvation because we have been saved, yet it is only because we are saved that we can work at our salvation. We must always and at all times become and be that which – in Christ – we already are: ‘you are Christ’s and Christ is God’s’ (1 Cor. 3:22)” (Alexander Schmemann, Great Lent, p 119)