By MOST REVEREND WILTON D. GREGORY | Published March 29, 2012
Lent is rapidly coming to an end—and perhaps not a moment too soon for many of us. We may have grown weary of the penances that we began on Ash Wednesday and long to return to those pleasures that we have set aside as a sign of our mortification and self-denial. In these closing days of Lent, our penances seem to be more like an endurance contest than what we began them as—an expression of our desire to deepen our love for God and our neighbor over any other pleasure or joy. With only a few days left, our penances often become a spiritual workout that pushes us to our limits. I know that to be the case since it is true for me as well. Yet it is during these final days of Lent, as we listen to the Scriptures of the heightening conflicts that led to the Lord’s Passion, we know that He, above all, has decided to endure a mortification that will result not only in His new life, but ours as well!
Most of us are impatient on occasion, and the long season of Lent can weigh on us as it concludes. But the Lord Jesus is the embodiment of patience, as we will hear repeatedly next week. He willingly embraces the Cross and quietly endures the cruel Passion for our sakes. As a matter of fact, as we hear of the brutality of His suffering, our meager penances really do pale in comparison.
The next week is a great testimony of the love that Christ has for all of us and renders our own mortifications modest, to say the very least. As we enter into this Holy Week, let us complete the self-denials that we have begun (or take them up again in a final push, if we have faltered) as a reminder that God’s love for us is infinitely greater than any expression of our halting love for Him.
May this Holy Week be a time for deep reflection and prayer for all of us that the price of our redemption was paid by the Lord as a quiet offering of Himself to a cruel death—all done out of love and with infinite patience.
May we all enter an Easter season renewed and filled with hope, knowing how truly cherished we are in God’s own heart. Happy Easter, my beloved brothers and sisters. And I extend a special warm welcome to all those who will join us for the first time around the Lord’s Altar this Easter. May your new life in Christ enrich all of you as it brings such joy to the heart of the Church in North Georgia! A holy and blessed Easter to you all.