Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A vigorous south wind is hauling in beautiful weather for the rest of the week, the warmest we've seen so far this year. And what a respite it is after this cold and snowy winter. Life is growing up everywhere, 'long and lovely and lush.' The tulips are hurrying on toward bloom, and the bradford pears look painted white and perfume the air in rows along sidewalks. Chickweed, white clover, and henbit are returning life to dormant lawns. And the trees are budding out their leaves. Yesterday I fell asleep in the sun on the North Oval of campus, and today is the first day I've worn shorts and a t-shirt. Spring is here.

And still, liturgically, it's as if the Church is saying, 'No, not yet. Just a little longer.' Holy Week brings us to the culmination of Lent, of penance and of repentance. Easter is here almost and the resurrection, but Good Friday comes first and the bonds of sin and death still weigh heavily, even on redbuds and honeysuckle. We will soon feast and rest, but not yet.

Life as we know it, and as Christians have always known it in our post-lapsarian existence, is balanced by Good Friday and Eastern Sunday. Between our quotidian sinfulness and our bodily redemption. It is intensely eschatological; it is a pilgrimage.

Today's troparion is a warning not to be caught unaware:

Behold, the Bridegroom is coming in the middle of the night, and blessed is the servant whom He shall find awake and watching, but unworthy is he whom He shall find idle and careless. Beware, then, my soul, lest thou be weighed down with sleep, lest thou be given up to death and shut out of the Kingdom. But awake and cry: Holy, Holy, Holy, art Thou, O God: through the intercessions of the Forerunner, save us.


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