Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Beginning of Lent - Forgiveness Sunday

Today is officially the beginning of Lent for us Orthodox Christians. To start things off with we have the "Forgiveness Service" right after vespers. Today neither Hubby nor I made it. I'm sure he could have, but when we both looked up at the clock it was 5:45 PM and the service actually began at 6:00, which was not enough time for him to get from here to there.

At the "Forgiveness Service" the priest asks each and every one of us in attendance for our forgiveness just in case he has offended us or something. The petitioner says, "Forgive me sister (or brother, depending)" and the reply is "God forgives." Then you are the petitioner and ask the other person for forgiveness, which is a most humbling thing. You finish with a "kiss of peace" which is a kiss on each cheek. A line forms as you move along. It is one of the more beautiful of services I have ever experienced in my life. It is humbling in a way that fills your heart with joy, and definitely not pride. I am sorry I did not go, but it was for the best with the snow on the ramp.

With Lent beginning there are all kinds of services. Monday is usually Compline, Wednesday is mid-week service and liturgy; Friday is the Akathist service; and Saturday is Vespers with Sunday being Liturgy. I don't always go to each and every service, but this year I am going to try my best and go to Wednesday services and as many of the Akathist services as possible.

It feels strange for Lent to be here. It is fairly early this year it feels, and we are going to be having Pascha/Easter with the rest of the world. It happens every three years or something like that I believe.

Wow. Lent is here.

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