In the beginning…
As we approach Clean Monday, the start of our journey of Great Lent, the Church calls us in the vespers service to remember another start – the start of the earth “In the beginning…” (Gen 1:1-13). In light of the other passages read during this service which directly focus on attributes of fasting; how to prepare, to ask for forgiveness (Isaiah 1:1-20) and to do all with humility (Matthew 6:14-21) the inclusion of the passage can seem a bit strange. Why was it chosen for this day?
The story of creation, reminds us that this time of Lent is our time spiritually renew ourselves. As we spend the next 40 days walking in the steps of Christ, witnessing His suffering and ultimate sacrifice, we can’t help but be touched by God’s deep love for us. This love, so apparent in the Crucifixion, is one that we can see from the very moment of creation. God could easily have created the whole world in an instant. However, as St John Chrysostom writes in his Homily 3 on Genesis, the passage of time in days and the process involved expresses the great level of care and consideration He took in designing everything that is around us. Care to create a world for the purpose that we may be called to salvation. From the very moment of existence, our Father has shown His indisputable love for us all.
So as we begin our Lenten journey, we are reminded by the Church of this first beginning as an opportunity to begin again our own spiritual life. To take on the example of the love God has always shown us in how we should interact with all of His creation.
Source: February – March 2016 Lychnos Edition