Having touched “another world”
I love the season of Lent! It’s not just that it provides us with a time for the spring cleaning of our souls, or that it has some of the most beautiful music of any of our liturgical seasons. For me, Lent is anything but a sorrowful and sad season, but quite the opposite. There is a quiet joy that pervades. What I love most is that this season is about undergoing a transformation. Lent provides the structure for self-examination in the midst of our chaotic world. It provides that opportunity to re-order our lives, to put our focus and energy into that which is truly important - our faith in God, our love of Jesus Christ, and care for God’s creation. It forces us to slow down, to connect more deeply with God and each other.
Alexander Schmemann, a prominent twentieth-century Orthodox priest and teacher writes:
“Bright sadness is the true message and gift of Lent. Little by little we begin to understand, or rather to feel, that the sadness of Lent is indeed “bright,” that a mysterious transformation is about to take place in us. It is as if we were reaching a place to which the noises and the fuss of life, of the street, of all that which usually fills our days and even nights, have no access – a place where they have no power. All that which seemed so tremendously important to us as to fill our mind, that state of anxiety which has virtually become our second nature, disappear somewhere and we begin to feel free, light and happy. It is not the noisy and superficial happiness which comes and goes twenty times a day and is so fragile and fugitive; it is a deep happiness which comes not from a single and particular reason but from our soul having, in the words of Dostoyevsky, touched “another world.” And that which it has touched is made up of light and peace and joy, of an inexpressible trust.“ (1)
Our daily Lenten disciplines are indeed important to our transformative journey, but most important – most profound – is the regular coming together in worship each week – if not more often. (Why not go to a Wednesday Noon Eucharist or Evensong next Tuesday, March 19 at 6:30pm?). For it is in worshiping together that we join in that ever-flowing stream of worship – a conversation between God and God’s people begun long before we were born and that will be offered until the end of time. We join together with those in heaven and on earth, where we are transformed by the inexpressible love of God.
See you in worship!
Soli deo Gloria,
1. Bright Sadness: From Great Lent, Alexander Schmemann. Copyright 1969, St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press. Used with Permission