2008 09 - Old Lang Zine...



       Yes, it’s a new year for us, ecclesiastically speaking. September 1st marks a fresh start to the church year. And as with our American custom at midnight on New Year’s Day, we think of that Scottish song that remembers the past... Old Lang Zine... or is it Auld Lang Syne..., and, well, just what does it mean? The translation actually means “old long ago”, and depending on where you get your information, the song actually has about 10 stanzas and has to do with a man and a woman reminiscing about the past...


       But I digress; however you wish to look at it, it is time once again for each of us to take a fresh start. Like the song says, “Let old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind...”


Wait just a minute there!!! You want me to forget??? Oh, and I expect you also want me to forgive??? Do you know what they did to me??? Do you know what she said? Did you know he forgot my most important day? Don’t they understand that I am the center of the universe??? Why, if I had my way...”


       Passion can be a mixed blessing. It can drive us to do wonderful things. Compassion (εὐσπλαγχνία - pity, mercy) can move us to put others first. Passionlessness (ἀπαθής) can keep us from emotionally overreacting in a manner that would not be considered prudent (careful or modest). If left unchecked, however, passion can turn to anger, rage or mania. Maybe that is why PRIDE (the lack of humility befitting a creature of God) and ANGER (unworthy irritation and lack of self-control) are considered two of the Seven Deadly Sins...


       But again, I digress... well, actually that is part of the point. The Church gives us many opportunities to start over - to start afresh. She gives us the sacrament of Reconciliation (Holy Confession) to bring us back into good spiritual standing with God. She reminds us of our need to keep God as the center of our universe, not ourselves. She reminds us week to week, that we should make a priority of entering God’s House to commune with Him at His table, instead of fussing around about our table and neglecting the needs of the soul because of the needs and desires of the flesh...


       In fact, our church calendar has many opportunities to start over, and for different reasons. We are encouraged to let go of the past so that we can reach for the future. We are encouraged to let go of old baggage so that we can raise our hands to the Lord, unfettered and unencumbered.


       With the beginning of the new ecclesiastical year, we are reminded to take our focus off of ourselves and to look at the world around us. Did you know, for instance, that the Patriarch and all of his bishops (Archdiocese, Metropolis, etc.) celebrate September 1st as “The Day of the Protection of the Environment”?


       As we begin a new season in the Orthodox Church, maybe it is time to let go of all that old baggage and start afresh. If you need some help, schedule an appointment for Holy Confession - The Sacrament of Reconciliation. God wants to fill us with His Love, freshness, and joy. However, putting new wine into old wineskins is never wise. So be refreshed with the words of 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” May September bring you refreshment and renewal, and may God lead you in letting “the dead (the past) bury the dead” (Luke 9:60).          Happy New (ecclesiastical) Year!