“Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” Isaiah 43:18-19a
I am about to do a new thing, says the LORD: Coming soon to a neighbourhood near you, God’s new thing. In the Christian church we call that ‘new thing’ Easter, the Resurrection of Our Lord, the Eighth Day of Creation, the beginning of God’s vision for the healing of the entire cosmos. But, we’re not yet there. Our Lenten journey, our pilgrimage with Jesus to the Cross continues. We have come far since our foreheads were smeared with an ashen cross, but we still have miles to go before we celebrate the great Feast of the Resurrection, which takes a whole week of weeks to do justice to the joy. Remember too, that ashen cross, although partly a reminder of death, is also the Cross of Christ, always and ever a reminder not only of death, but also of new life in the risen Christ.
Soon ahead lie the highest and holiest days of the Christian year, the year which began with a time of hopeful contemplation on the mystery of the Incarnation, a time we call Advent, a time of wondering at the wonder of the Word become flesh and dwelling among us, anciently and presently and fully and forever at the end of time, whether the end of my personal kronos or at the end of cosmic kronos, the ultimate kairos, or perfect time/ing of God.
Months have passed already; the 24th of March will be the Sunday of Palm and Passion, the beginning of Holy Week, completed with the Triduum, the single service which takes place in three parts over three days (triduum in Latin): Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Great Vigil of Easter on what we now call Saturday night, but which, for Jesus’ first disciples, and all observant Jews to this day, is the beginning – with sunset on Saturday – of the new day called Sunday. Easter Sunday, that day called The Resurrection of Our Lord, continues the celebration, and gets us into the party groove for the next seven weeks, through the Day of Pentecost.
Here are markers for the final stage of our pilgrimage to the Cross, and then beyond…
It seems to me that Dmitri of Rostov (17th century) put it well in a prayer that feels perfect for these final days of Lent:
Thanks be to God! PNJ