Bp. Stephen Lane on Lent

From an Ash Wednesday sermon by the Rt. Rev. Stephen Lane, Bishop of Maine:

Through Christ’s death and resurrection, we are made whole, made new, and restored to God and one another. The orthodox call this divinization: Christ was made human that we might become divine. As Athanasius of Alexandria, the 4th c theologian, put it: “For He was made man that we might be made God.”

Divinization, my dear friends, is the purpose of Lent. The goal of all the self-examination and study, of the giving up or taking on, is that we might become more nearly like Christ in our behavior toward God and one another. That’s why we spend so much energy on Lenten disciplines. It’s not a trivial matter. It’s not simply about bettering oneself, or increasing one’s charitable giving. It’s about taking our part in the ministry of reconciliation.

The way we do that, Paul says, is to recognize first that today is the day. There is no need to wait for another. Today is the right time to begin. Right now. And we begin the process of divinization by throwing ourselves into the paradoxical hurly-burly of life — by being servants of one another and of the world. As servants of the Crucified One we will experience what he experienced: great endurance, afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger. And we will live as he lived: by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God.

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