Lenten Themes: Christ Fulfills The Old Law Via Redemption
Lent is about redemption. Through suffering, comes redemption. As our sacrifices and penance bloom forth into the Easter Pascha and Easter Baskets, so Christ’s suffering led to his glorious Resurrection.
Christ Fulfills the Failures of the Old Law
The Old Law while serving its purpose in the dark ages of Original Sin was fulfilled by Christ and elevated to a new level. This is why in redemption history we hear the terms, “Christ figure” or “Prefigurement of Christ”. The Old Testament Patriarchs while holy were far from perfect but they gave glimpses of the future to come. Moses stands out as an excellent example of a Christ figure. In redemption history, he stands as a physical redeemer of the Jewish people, bringing them out of bondage of Egypt and guiding them through the desert. Christ is the New Moses and a spiritual redeemer. Through his sacrifice he leads his people out of the bondage of Satan. His blood is the paschal blood of the lamb. His passover sacrifice is the perfect sacrifice. What was prefigured in the Old Testament is fulfilled in the New Testament via Christ.
Christ’s suffering, as our own suffering when united with him, can lead to redemption. His blood and suffering and walk to Calvary is symbolically the Lent that eventually leads to his resurrection on Easter. This Lent, let us join our suffering with Christ, so that as Paul states, we may rise with him in the future.
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Become a Certified Christian Counselor: East and West Fast Differences
Christian Counselors can help many confused Christians of both East and West regarding fast rules and regulations. Christian Counseling sessions can include a time for informative exchange of information. One such conversation can include both Eastern and Western guidelines.
The History of Differences
Even prior to the schism of the Eleventh Century, the East and the West had begun to diverge socially from each other. While the Eastern empire continued to prosper, the Western empire began to crumble as barbarian invasions crippled it during the Fourth and Fifth centuries. Traditions that were once universally shared began to erode hence creating two different social and cultural traditions of Christianity. While sharing the same faith and professing the same lord, the West began to adapt to the culture that had subdued it. In fact, as Rome christianized the barbarians and became the only light of the dark ages, it also was changed in some ways.
The See of Peter became a secular throne as well as a spiritual one which whether for better or worst would shape the future of the papacy and its interactions with the new found kingdoms. As these changes progressed, the church itself would become a central figure in the new culture of Western Christendom. While there were many differences between East and West such a celebrant priesthood, the role of the pope, the filioque and other minor rules, the two churches continued to exist as one universal church. These issues would later lead to a schism between the two heads of Rome and Constantinople.
Among the minor differences were fast rules. The East then and as well as today, subscribed to a stricter Lenten code. This included days of Abstinence from meat products on both Wednesday and Friday. It also included Lent starting on Monday instead of Wednesday. A final difference was regarding complete fast days. The East subscribed to no dairy and meat on the first day of Lent and Good Friday.
The West would adapt to its new found converts and only enforce no meat on Friday, start Lent on Ash Wednesday and not enforce dairy on complete days of abstinence.
Since then, these rules have continued to exist in both churches. Slight differences include Latin age requirements of 21 to 59, while Byzantine requirements are for all who can receive communion.
The Eastern Churches in union with Rome also maintained their traditions but coincide with the West in regards to the Gregorian calendar, while the Orthodox hold firm to the Julian calendar–which ultimately places Easter usually on a different day. A final difference is the East counts Sundays as part of the consequent forty days of Lent, hence the Eastern Lent ends the Friday before Good Friday, but Holy Week still involves fasting as a separate period of purification. The West counts its Lent to the day prior to Good Friday and recently included Good Friday into the Easter Tridiuum till Easter Vigil. All fasts are still imposed the final three days.
Whether Eastern or Western, Catholic or Orthodox, or Catholic or Protestant, all can agree sacrifices and offerings to God as a universal whole are important. This Lent, no matter what rules or regulations bind us in charity, let us all offer together to God remorse for our sins and thanksgiving for the sacrifice of his Son.
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