Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. — Romans 13:8
February 26, 2017
Cheesefare & Forgiveness Sunday
On this Forgiveness Sunday, the beginning of Great Lent in the Orthodox Church, with our Western brothers and sisters beginning Lent this coming Wednesday, I need to beg forgiveness for a debt I will never be able to repay. It is a debt of love I owe especially to the Episcopal (Anglican) Church for midwifing me into the Orthodox Church over 25 years ago.
When I was a Christian in College without a church to call home, the local Episcopal church took me in. While the richness of the Orthodox Church stunned me into silence and kept me at an awkward distance, the local Anglican priest shared hymns and church customs that were more familiar. In the presence of an Orthodox Liturgy, I felt like a bum dragged off the street and set before a seven course French meal; I did not know where to begin to feed my starving soul; I did not know even how to use the knife and fork. My Anglican friends showed me how to use the knife and fork and then unselfishly gave me back to the Orthodox Church when I had learned enough to not be so estranged from my true home.
And now as I near ordination as a Deacon in the Orthodox Church, I am still learning things from a local Episcopal parish where I serve as an Administrator. Trinity Parish in Newton Centre, MA is another church that took me in almost 10 years ago when I was in need of employment to work my way through seminary. I consider my work there as more than just a job: It has been a means of repaying the great debt of love I owe to the Episcopal Church in general. It has been my privilege these past several years to adorn the parish communications, manage the sacred space, and usher people into the beauty of liturgical worship that made me become an Orthodox Christian so long ago. And now as my time there is coming to a close, I can only pray that my humble efforts have gone at least partially towards paying back this great debt of love.
Please forgive and pray for me a sinner, and may our good God have mercy on us and forgive us all. Veliki Post! Kali Tessarakosti! Blessed Lenten journey to you all!
Enable us also, O Good One, to fight the good fight; to complete the course of the Fast; to preserve inviolate the Faith; to crush under foot the heads of invisible serpents; to be victorious over sin; and uncondemned to attain unto and adore Your Holy Resurrection. For blessed and glorified is Your all-honorable and majestic Name: of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen
— The Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, St. Gregory the Great