Monday, March 7, 2011

Forgiveness Sunday

Last night we attended the Forgiveness Vespers service at church. It is such a beautiful service. Humbling. It's exactly the right way to begin Lent. During the service all of the vestments, candle holders and table cloths are changed from red to purple. It's beautiful. Purple, the color of royalty, repentance, and self-discipline, is the traditional color for the season of Lent.
After the Vespers service ends we begin the asking of forgiveness part. We line up and begin with the priests. You stand face to face and each person says, "forgive me", you make the sign of the cross and bow and then each person says, "I forgive you", or "God forgives" as you hug and press your cheek to each side of each other's face. Does that sound confusing? Think of a European greeting with a kiss to each cheek...only we don't do the kiss part....okay, a few people do. After the priests come the Deacons, Sub-Deacons, Readers, and then the congregation.

We go through the line with our kids to help them along. I can say it was MUCH easier this first year not carrying someone on my hip/back/front in at least 5 years. Whew! WAY easier. :) Sis surprised us all by giving each priest a HUGE hug. Wow! Baby George was more shy. Tuba LOVED it and giggled the whole way through. He loves to greet each person. Busy Guy and Mr. P did a fabulous job. It can be intimidating for adults to do this service but even more for young kids. The boys were awesome. They crossed themselves and asked for forgiveness to each and every person. Great kids!
Of course the most moving part of this is when you get to ask your immediate family to forgive you. I always linger a bit longer with each of my kids and husband as we hug. It is wonderful to see our kids hug each other too. Brings tears to my eyes.

I ask all of you for forgiveness also. Please forgive me if I have ever offended you. Forgive me my shortcomings or any wrongdoings.
God forgives.

1 comment:

  1. I love reading about your Lenten traditions. I grew up Baptist and barely recognized Lent, although we were big into Easter. I became a Lutheran about 16 years ago and have learned a lot about Lent and the Lutheran Lenten liturgy and beautiful/meaningful traditions. Our Lutheran Liturgy is of course different from yours which is why I appreciate hearing about your traditions.

    I like to think of all us Christians walking this walk toward Eastern together, even if our paths divurge some. Hopefully we are all humbled by our Savior's sacrifice and filled with joy as we relive His resurrection on Easter!!

    Carrie T. - mom to 4 from Korea



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