Great Lent – Take Two

Great Lent

Today we begin the second week of Great Lent, and I invite you to reflect on how last week ended up? Did it end up like my week because you fell short of your goals? Did last week finish with you being thankful you made it through by the skin of your teeth? Either way, today begins a new week, and a new opportunity to commit to the journey that is Great Lent.

For starters, let’s look at the theme coming up this Sunday. On the Second Sunday of Great Lent, the Church reminds us of St Gregory Palamas, who taught that we could experience the uncreated Light of God through prayer and spiritual ascesis. What is Great Lent if it isn’t prayer and ascesis? Sometimes I, yes even I, forget just how much consideration the Church has placed over the centuries on these truths. So, this week we’ll talk about the journey that is Great Lent from the perspective of preparing to experience God’s energies.

In today’s reading from Genesis (you can read the entire passage below) we learn about Adam and Eve being removed from the Garden. This is one of my favorite passages because it sets the framework of God’s relationship with humanity between the Fall and His Incarnation, Passion and Resurrection. Before removing them from the Garden, and His direct protection, He gave them clothing to protect them from the elements of what we now know to be potentially dangerous weather climates.

Then, what on the surface appears to be an extreme punishment for eating from the forbidden tree, God sent them out “to till the ground from which he was taken.” In fact, this is not punishment. It is salvation. If Adam and Eve, now in their fallen state had eaten form the Tree of Life, they would have been eternally condemned to a fallen state. Removing us from the Garden saved us from ourselves.

Then, once outside the Garden, clothed with God’s protection, we struggle in the elements of the fallen world until He returns to claim His Bride.

And so they went, into the world of temptation and struggle. Today’s reading ends with a warning, “Sin is crouching at the door; its desire is for you, but you master it.” I invite you to spend this second week of Great Lent, mastering sin and fighting temptation. Don’t fear. God has clothed you with His righteousness, and He will protect you, so long as you fight. Ready for battle? It is time for the fight of Great Lent – Take Two.

And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins, and clothed them. Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever”- therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man; and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life. Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD.” And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a tiller of the ground. In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is couching at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.” – Genesis 3.21-3.7


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