Lectionary readings (Click the links to see the readings):
Joel 2.1-2,12-17 or Isaiah 58.1-12 | Psalm 51.1-17 | 2 Corinthians 5.20b-6.10 | Matthew 6.1-21
Beginning Lent (1)
First part of a four-part extract from "Luminous Sorrow: in preparation for Lent" a sermon by Sergius Bulgakov.
Different days of the Church Year produce in us different spiritual feelings. The air we breathe on weekdays appears to differ from that which we breathe on Sundays; and both differ from great feasts. And completely exceptional in our life is the period of Lent which is a luminous time and a time of repentance, a joyous time and a difficult time.
Both a solemn seriousness and a particular lightness enter the soul when it surrenders itself to repentance. Our soul rises above the level of the everyday and breathes the rarefied, invigorating air of the heights.
Lent gives us a sense of responsibility for our life, a vision of ourselves before God in the light of eternity, together with an acute consciousness of our sins, as if a last judgment upon ourselves. The light of Lent penetrates the darkness of our souls. The joy of spiritual knowledge gives birth to a "sorrow in relation to God" and calls us to the labour of repentance, arduous and enervating but also healing and saving.
Oh God, who has moved on the church to choose this holy season in which those who seek you may receive your help and healing: we ask you so to purify us by your discipline, that, abiding in you and you in us, we may grow in grace, faith and knowledge of you.