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Letter from Taybeh: Lenten Greetings 2016
A Palestinian from the community of Al-Hadidya in the Jordan Valley herds livestock. Struggling to survive on the land, Al-Hadidiya is an example of a community at the sharp end of life in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Letter from Taybeh: Lenten Greetings 2016

Palestinian shepherd from Al-Hadidya in the Jordan Valley herds his livestock. Struggling to survive on the land, Al-Hadidiya is an example of a community at the sharp end of life in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Dear Friends of Saint George Taybeh,

I pray and hope all of you will have a blessed Holy Great Lenten journey filled with many fruits of the Holy Spirit.

I started the Holy Great Lenten Journey in the best possible manner on Clean Monday lighting candles at the 4th century ruins of St George and staring down at the Jordan Valley where St Mary of Egypt spent more than 40 years of her life asking forgiveness of God; as she is one of the greatest role models in our church, I thought to myself, have I asked forgiveness from the many people I have aggravated this past year since Forgiveness Sunday came and went as fast as lightning.

It seems these most holy days just sneak upon you and at the end it is pretty much like Elder Ephraim said at St. Anthony’s Monastery in Arizona, “I have given you all of this time; what have you done with it? What have you achieved with your earthly time?”

My poor Greek sort of translated in my brain that Geronda Ephraim was talking about stocking up on heavenly treasures; Something most of us are too busy to think about every day.  But, it is that time again where we are reminded that everything we do for others, we do for Christ.

Thus, since time is so precious, may each moment be spent giving glory to God.

May this Holy Great Lent allow you to slow down from your busy schedule and see Christ in others.

May you feel blessed that you are in a free world since it seems here,  the whole Middle East, has gone back to the first centuries where we must pay with our life to confess Christ.

But, eternal life has always been the message for the hearts that turn to Jerusalem especially this holy time of year.  It is the True Light of Christ that will shine when you pray, fast and remember to love others as God loves you.

Holy Light at the Orthodox Paschal Resurrection Service at the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem

The Lenten Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian (adapted)

O Lord and Master of my life,

Take from me the will to be lazy and sad;

The desire to get ahead of other people

and to boast and brag.

 

Give me instead a pure and humble spirit

the will to be patient with other people

And to love them.

 

Lord, let me realize my own mistakes

And keep me from judging what other people do

For You are blessed now and forevermore.

 

Amen

Saint Ephrem the Syrian

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