Deacon: “Let us love one another that with oneness of mind we may confess:” People/Choir: “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: Trinity, one in essence and undivided.” (Byzantine Divine Liturgy, just before the exchange of the Kiss of Peace)
Tomorrow is “Forgiveness Sunday,” when in our churches we have a special, pre-Lenten Rite of Forgiveness (asking forgiveness of, and forgiving, one another). But of course we have a Rite of Forgiveness at Divine Liturgy every Sunday as described above, just before we proclaim our common faith in the Creed and begin the central, Eucharistic Prayer. This “Rite of Forgiveness” often goes unnoticed, since it is only the celebrating clergy who actually exchange the “kiss of peace,” and they do so in the sanctuary. Nonetheless, the call of the deacon, “Let us love one another…” is addressed to all of us, also to me. And I find it helpful also today, as I prepare for Forgiveness Sunday.
Indeed, “Let us” love. I don’t “have to” love, but I can. Because I have that God-given and God-like capacity, in Him and from Him. And “He loved us,” as C. S. Lewis says, “not because we were lovable, but because He is love.”
So let me love, that I may let go, forgive, and be forgiven. Let me let myself love, rather than demand or expect from, myself and others, so I can let go of burdensome resentments and move forward. “Getting over a painful experience,” if I may quote C.S. Lewis again, “is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.” So let me let go and move forward this Lenten season, that I may grow in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen!