Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Significance and Meaning of Mid-Lent

The New Testament is the exhibition of the hidden truths of the Old
Testament. The Old Testament could be called as the history of the
expectation of the Savior of mankind and the New Testament could be called
as the description of the savior and his ways of saving. In the Old
Testament we could see so many shadows of the events of the New Testament.
The sacrifice of Isaac on mount Moriah is considered as the shadow of the
sacrifice on mount Calvary. Likewise we could see so many shadows in the Old
Testament. When the Israelites were on their exodus to the Promised Land,
under the leadership of Moses, the people had oppressed and murmured against
God and God's anointed. For each and every need they used to get adamant.
When Moses had to stay 40 days together with Lord God on top of the
mountain, the people got irritated and they collected their gold ornaments
and made a golden calf for their worship. When they had no water to drink,
they were in an aggressive mood. Due to the prayers and intercessions of
Moses, all Israelites were blessed to have Manna and the meat of the bird.
Still they rebuked and spoke against God and His men. And the :Lord sent
fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people and much people of
Israel died. (Numbers 21:6) When the people came to Moses and said, we have
sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee, pray unto the
Lord, that he take away the serpents from us, Moses prayed for the people;
And God said unto Moses, "make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole
and it shall come to pass that every one that is bitten, when he looks upon
it shall live" And hence Moses made the serpent of brass and put it upon a
pole and all those who looked on it were saved.

The exodus of the sons of Abraham from the bondage of captivity in Egypt to
the Promised Land is the shadow of the exodus of the modern Israelites to
the kingdom of God. In our exodus we come across so many types of exercises
for our spiritual growth and nourishment. The lent is one among them. Our
Lord only taught us to practice the Lent and fasting to win over Satan and
the evil powers. Our Great Lent is a spiritual exercise exactly like a
travel through the desert. When we would try to be more close to God, we
might come across so many temptations like the biting of the serpents. And
as a result we become self centered than God centered. So the Holy Church
insists us to erect the blessed cross in the middle of the Church, on the
mid day of the lent, so that all who come inside the Church could meditate
on the Cross, which represents our Lord who died on the Cross. When we would
look at Him, we get cure for all our spiritual illnesses. On the midday of
the lent, the celebrant takes the cross from the north (Which identifies
the Golgotha, where our Lord was crucified) The staff on which the brazen
serpent was erected in the center of all their tents is the shadow of the
north, which has a red stole with the sign of cross. There is special
service of the elevation of the Holy cross and during which he prays O Lord
you were identified by the staff of Moses, the first among the Prophets, and
when the staff was erected in the center of the tents, it identified your
Holy cross of salvation. Now the Holy Church is celebrating the cross in the
middle of the Lent for the protection of her children, for the blessing of
the year, for the protection of all sorts of fruits and grains from all
sorts of destructions. It is believed that our Lord's cross was erected in
the exact center of earth, so that mankind could have a watch on Him for
their salvation. And many prayers for the spiritual and physical illnesses
are also offered for the human race during the special service of the mid
lent. All brethren are requested to make it a point to attend the Church
service on this day. May God bless us all. Kindly read St.3: 1-18 and
Numbers 21: 4-9

May God bless us all.

Jose Kurian Puliyeril

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A repost from ICON archives

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