As the world (that includes you and I) continues to reflect upon what has changed and been lost (perhaps forever?) over the past year, I offer one simple thought: the anticipation of our Holy Week services, and certainly the glory of Holy Pascha this year, will be in all likelihood measured against the loneliness and sadness of Pascha, 2020. If nothing else, these months have allowed us time, and a long time at that, for periods of deep reflection on the relationship we have with God on some level. Is our response to him increased? Decreased? Or, is it non-existent?
The constant work it takes to maintain an inner life should be the fuel that propels our life. If we are to have a relationship with Christ, and prepare a place for him to lay his head on our hearts, then we must take the spiritual life as something that is necessary. If we are not dialed into Christ, how else can we possibly expect God to hear our prayers? Receiving the Eucharist (actual participation in the Heavenly Banquet), and hearing the Epistle and Gospel read each Sunday in church should not be seen as something simply important, but absolutely essential.
On a personal level, I have learned never to take the Divine Services for granted again, and caring for those who I love. On his ordination day to the Holy Priesthood, the pastor assumes the responsibility to care for each person entrusted to his spiritual care.
My heart is saddened when I consider that so many have not yet returned to church. Please know that I take each thought of you, and turn it into a silent prayer; I continue to carry each of you in my heart. Who knows, perhaps even more so now than before? Please join us during Holy Week and Pascha this week; consider this an invitation to do so.