Its a little after 10 in the evening and Great Compline is done. The challenge of Lent is upon us and the joyous struggle has begun.
The services are familiar and it takes just a little time to return to the ancient rythms. Life outside of the church door stops for a while and we are timeless in a holy place. The prayer of St. Ephraim reminds us again of why we are here, to recognize our need of grace and tend to the tasks of our salvation.
We journey through Lent alone but together. Alone in that we are called to focus on ourselves and not on others. Our work is our own and what we believe the sins of others may be are not our business. Yet we are together as well because we share a common struggle, a common hope, and a common joy.
In the weeks to come there will be more services with names like Akathist and Pre-Sanctified. They all mean something and in Holy Week they merge so deeply that it actually feels like Liturgies interrupted by life rather than the other way around. The season demands our attention and seems incomplete if done in fractions.
The energy of Lent has begun, may its momentum carry us to the holiest night in the world.