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As once more we are about to enter Great Lent, I would like to remind us of the verse that we just sang, from one of the hymns: “Let us begin Lent, the Fast, with joy!” So many people under various influences have come to think of Lent as a kind of self–inflicted inconvenience. Very often in Lent we hear these conversations: “What do you give up for Lent?” – it goes from candy to, I don’t know what. There is the idea that if we suffer enough, if we feel hungry enough, if we try to “suffer” and be “tortured,” so to speak, it will help us to “pay” for our absolution. But this is not our Orthodox faith. Lent is not a punishment. Lent is not a kind of painful medicine that helps only inasmuch as it is painful. LENT IS A GIFT! Lent is a gift from God to us! Don’t we understand, brothers and sisters, what power is given to us in Lent. Lenten Spring! Lenten beginning! Lenten resurrection! And all this is given to us free. Come, listen to that prayer. Make it yours! Don’t even try to think about it; just enter in and rejoice! And that joy will start killing your old, painful and boring sins… And with that you will have that great joy which the disciples experienced when they returned to Jerusalem after Christ’s Resurrection and Ascension into heaven. It is that joy which was left with them that now belongs to us—if only we will claim it. It is first of all the joy of knowing, the joy of having something in me which, whether I want it or not, will start transforming life in me and around me. Today we have to forgive each other whether or not we have any explicit sins or crimes against each other. That reconciliation is another epiphany of the Church as the Kingdom of God. We are saved because we are in the Body of Christ. We are saved because we accept Christ. And finally, we accept Christ when we accept each other. Everything else is a lie and hypocrisy. So, let us forgive one another. Let us not think about why. Let us do it. Right now, in a kind of deep breath, say: “Lord, help us to forgive. Lord, renew all these relationships.” So, please, for the sake of Christ: let us forgive each other now, today—as the living sign that in Christ we are all forgiven.
Jake Lee, podcaster of Generation Orthodox and Journeys to Orthodoxy (OCN), spent Holy Week and Bright Week with his wife and baby daughter (and Mom) in a small village in Cyprus to experience Paschal life [...]
Sitting in for Fr. Evan tonight is Fr. Steven Tsichlis, pastor at St. Paul Greek Orthodox Church in Irvine, CA. He tackled questions ranging from organ donations to the Orthodox view of salvation compared to [...]
Join host Kevin Allen as he speaks with Rev. Fr Steven Tsichlis, pastor of St. Paul's Greek Orthodox Church, Irvine, CA and parishioner Alex Gorbenko about their parish's commitment to build a church (and more) [...]
Fr. Ted Stylianopoulos (PhD), professor emeritus at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Theological Seminary, St Paul scholar and author, speaks with host Kevin Allen about justification, sanctification, the sacraments and new perrspectives on St Paul. Kevin says [...]
Most Christians are not aware that in the latter part of the 16th century, early Lutheran Reformers - close colleagues and followers of Martin Luther - set in motion an eight year contact and correspondence [...]