Making It Count


Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!

Today we are here celebrating, with pomp and circumstance, the resurrection of our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ. This celebration does not stand-alone; it is adjoined to the Passion, Crucifixion, and Burial of our Lord. So, as in the history of the Orthodox Church, which is often forgotten in our day, Maundy Thursday, Holy Friday, Holy Saturday and Resurrection Sunday are not seen as separate religious observances, isolated with its own purpose, but rather all three observances are seen as one, having a singular divine purpose. If such were the case, then I would postulate “all” of the religious observances of the Church, the “major” Feast Days and the ones that we might consider “minor,” are to be considered one singular divine movement from one end of the liturgical calendar to the other…from the beginning of time, to present and into the future…for is not Christ eternally begotten of the Father, having no beginning or end. So likewise, this experience of Great Lent centers on the Christ, who, as the Bible say, is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Therefore, our fasting is not confined to 50 days. Our experience of a “greater” prayer life is not isolated to this Fast alone. Our turning away from certain foods is not only for this time period; but for many of us, it is medically recommended to continue it, at least is some sort of modified way, throughout the year. The “extra” steps that we took to refrain from sinful behaviors or excessive desires is not be seen as a struggle for only Lent, but one that must be continued, probably with more intensity, after today.

My dear brothers and sisters, Christ, and how we experience him during the Lent and Holy Week, is a divine experience, never to be “stuffed” into a “50-day-closet” and then be reopened again next year. If such is the idea, then my dear brothers and sisters, our fasting, our lent, our prayers, are fleeting, of no consideration before the throne of God. Putting it another way, as I have heard before, the Great and Holy Lent is the pregame for the regular season. In the game of football, we do take the pre-season seriously, in that it offers the management, coaches and players a time to assess what needs to be improved, what needs to be added or changed. But it is the regular season that “counts”—it defines a playoff berth or if a team will not advance. Similarly, Lent is a time to assess our life (not only spiritual but holistically) to determine what needs to change, added or maintained. For example, if we are getting help/counseling for our sinful behavior--continue it. If we stopped eating certain foods because it was causing harm to our bodies--continue it. If we controlled how we talk, what we say, where we go, how we act, whom we hang out with, continue it in the Post-Lent season. The regular season is about to begin are we going to make it count?

If we make it count, that is, continue our progress into the Post-Lent, then our life will become a “Lent.” Then, not only will we make it count; but also we will reach the heights of spiritual awareness, self-control, humility, love, grace, and mercy. We will be able to experience God in a greater way that we ever thought possible.

Will you join me in beginning the “real” Lent…the “real” Fast? Together let’s make it count! Let’s advance forward with our spiritual life, with the great hope that we will one day, receive that crown of victory of salvation by our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ.  

Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!