AS INCENSE

Friday, March 18, 2016

 

Let my prayer be set before you as incense, the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.” (Ps 140/141: 2, chanted solemnly at Byzantine Vespers & Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts)

 

The visible burning of incense is an instructive reminder of the invisible “burning” of the heart in prayer, which rises up as an offering, as our self-giving at this evening service. The “lifting up of my hands,” a physical gesture we don’t practice all that much (not in my church, anyway), is also referred to here, because from ancient times the body, not only the “soul,” is involved in the whole business of prayer.

 

Today let me “see” this intertwining of the visible and invisible; let me “see” more biblically. As Lent involves my whole being, body and soul, in its salvific traditions, let me gratefully participate in its wholesome vision, whether I’m at work or at church on this sunny, Lenten day. If I’m at work, let my fasting (in deed, word, and thought) be “set before” the Lord, as He draws me in, both in and out of church, to His way of “seeing,” as I journey toward the vision of His resurrection. Glory be to Him.

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