Preparing bulletin and sermon for tomorrow, the realization that we begin the Lenten Triodion tomorrow brings with it the “crashing down around you” realization that Great Lent will be upon us shortly. For the non Orthodox, the Lenten Triodion is the book that contains all of the specific material needed for the Lenten season. We are now entering the “pre-Lenten” season. If your memory goes back to 1928 Prayer Book (or earlier) Anglicanism, you’ll remember pre-Lent and such wonderful words as Septuagesima, etc. Pre-lent, like so much, has been tossed into somebody’s liturgical waste basket. The reason is quite simple – if you don’t plan to do much with Lent anyway – then why the need for weeks of warm up. Orthodoxy seems to have no liturgical waste basket.
Next week is a “fast-free” week. Eat it now, for before long you’ll be eating differently and a lot less. Lent is coming.
I love the Lenten season. It may be my favorite. It’s exhausting in its fullness, even on the parish level. But the exhaustion brings Pascha in its final throes.
Rumors of snow dash about town today – but this is East Tennessee – and it’s just not likely to happen. My wife and I will fly to Detroit on Monday for the Colloquium on Faith of our Fathers (Orthodox talking with Anglicans). I’m eager to see old friends whose paths do not often cross with mine. The Matthewes-Greens, Fr. John Parker, Fr. Pat Reardon, etc. As well as any number of Anglicans I can only imagine.
On a yet more personal level, it’s a trip to Detroit by plane that I could not take in the early 90’s. Then, my panic and anxiety would not let me fly and I had to find a way to say I cannot come (I was to speak at an Anglican event). Since becoming Orthodox, I’ve flown a lot. It became clear as we made this conversion in 1998 that there was to be no way around getting on a plane. Good friends prayed me on my first flight (they actually sat in the waiting area and held my hand – imagine non-flyers being able to go to the departure gate). Many flights later, and I don’t want to drive. Fly me.
I was ordained to the Orthodox priesthood in the season of Lent. I was chrismated on the Sunday of the Prodigal Son (a year before the ordination). Lent is that season that you cannot do. It is too large, to overwhelming. All you can do is be sure to show up, do what is given you to do, and wait for the plane to taxi down the strip.
We’re all flying to Pascha.
All God’s children are flying to Pascha.