This past Sunday, our church, like so many other orthodox churches across the world, practiced the freedom of forgiveness. Following Divine Liturgy, we enjoyed one another’s company during our coffee hour and then continued on with the Forgiveness Sunday Vesper service. This service includes all members of the congregation that choose to participate getting together and sharing words of forgiveness and hearing that God forgives us both corporately and individually.
So often growing up and in to my early adult years, I was taught that sanctification, understanding God, growing in my faith, and more is understood and experienced as an individual, not the corporate body of Christ. Since slowly developing in the understanding of the ancient ways of the church, have I begun to realize that my situation is first of all not more important than those around me. I not as important, but equal, and discovering every day, probably the church’s weakest link. Individually we are part of the Body of Christ…and we, together, are who He is returning for (all of us, not just me).
Judging my brother and sister, not putting my desires in God, choosing to maintain thoughts that are not constructive, and so much more hurts the entirety of the Body of Christ. My sins are not silent and secretive. They outwardly hurt others.
The freedom in participating in the Forgiveness Sunday vesper service is one of freedom and community. We are blessed to be in this season, in which the bridge of Lent, from this world, in to the next, is everywhere present.
Forgiveness Sunday is also when we remember the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. For more information on why we commemorate this occasion, please check out this link.