Please forgive my lack of posts this week. My family and I were preparing for Pascha and a visit from my parents. I will work on having posts ready for future gaps. For tonight, though, I would like to say just a few words on Pascha.
I grew up in a God-fearing family, though my parents did not attend church, I always considered us to be Christians. We had bibles and Grandma took us to church as long as we were willing to go. I often prayed in bed, out in an open field or walking in the woods. Group or family prayers were kind of a foreign thing other than Grandpa and Grandma’s house. I was interested in several of my friends various churches, but never got involved in any.
Then meeting Ian, who had been raised in a family that went to church every Sunday, we decided we wanted to nurture a more active Christian life than I was raised with. We attended and researched different churches and even looked outside of Christianity. The first time Ian took me to an Orthodox church, where his parents had recently joined, I didn’t know what to do. Orthodoxy appeals to all the senses and can be overwhelming to newcomers. I was resistant to joining at first as we had been attending Catholic adult education classes and I was just starting to grasp the importance of liturgical based faith. However studying the history and talking to priests on both sides made it clear to me that Orthodoxy was the right choice.
Going from a childhood where the only preparations for big holidays was who’s house will we gather at and what food can we bring to fasting 40+ days (and failing on many of them, but getting up to try again tomorrow) has been a tough adjustment. It used to get me really down and I would feel like I was a horrible Christian and that I would never be able to honor Christ the way we are asked to. However this year, I found my comfort in the Parable of the Laborer (Matthew 20:1-16), knowing that even if it takes me to the eleventh hour to show up with a open and prepared heart, Christ will still accept me.
I tried everyday to keep the fast, say the extra prayers, attend nearly every service we could, and even read several wonderful books to prepare for the resurrection of Christ, but some days life got in the way or without thinking I ate John’s half eaten string cheese, in previous fast these would have gotten me down, but this time I was able to say I failed but I will do better. If you are having a hard time or feeling like God won’t accept what you offered today, take accountability for that and do better tomorrow. Our chances aren’t unlimited but God is merciful and He sees when we strive and how we react when we stumble. And there is so much more joy left to celebrate with now that I am not dwelling on my failures and focusing on making tomorrow better than today.
Hope you and your families had a wonderful celebration, whether this weekend or last! Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!