Journey Through The Lenten Season.
By Diane Nickolaou
Looking back through my, shall we say “29 years” of Lenten Seasons, I realized each Lent has its own unique characteristics, like friendships we have had in life. Each year our journey through Lent is different, because each year we are different. It is like the relationship we have with people, some relationships we take the time to nurture, and others we let pass through our lives without much thought.
When I was little, Lenten services were like a play date my parents would make us go to. We didn’t have a choice. But as I grew and matured, I went to Church because I wanted to. The Greek Orthodox services and hymns began to take hold in my soul. And after I would hear certain hymns and Troparions, ones that even though I hadn’t heard since the last Lent, would spark my heart, like an old friend I hadn’t seen a while, and we would pick up right where we left off last time.
As life got busier, some Lenten seasons I let pass by without much thought or effort. I would think “I am too busy for this now, we will catch up later.” I didn’t take the time to fast, read, and attend special services. I am so grateful that Jesus did not ignore me, as I ignored Him. And I always took comfort in the Sermon at the Resurrection Service on Easter that says “If anyone has arrived even at the eleventh hour, let them not fear on account of tardiness”, because sometimes that was me.
And other Lenten Seasons I have slowed down and taken the time to really get to know. I made a date to show up to as many Church services as possible. I have “road tripped” with my fellow parishioners as we stopped at Sunday of Orthodoxy. We visited with St. Gregory Palamas, St. John Climacus, and St. Mary of Egypt. We rested and sought refreshment at the Sunday of the Cross. I have cried out “Hosanna in the Highest” on Palm Sunday. I have wept with Mary when they nailed Jesus to the cross. I have rejoiced with His other followers as we discovered the tomb was empty! I have read the Bible, attended the services, fasted, and gotten to better know God, His Son Jesus, and the Saints.
The Season of Lent is what YOU make of it. Just like any other relationship in your life, you need to make time for it. Set aside your worldly cares, and spend some time with the Church. St. Luke’s Church offers us many opportunities for this time with Jesus. There are many services, some in the morning, some at night. There are opportunities to read, chant, listen, pray, confess, teach, learn, clean His house, watch over His tomb, and feed His sheep! Make an unbreakable relationship with the Church. It is the beginning of a beautiful friendship!