This Sunday, a Sunday set aside for preparing our hearts and minds for Great Lent, we read in Matthew 25: 31-46 the parable about the last judgement. The OCA website says,
It reminds us that while trusting in Christ’s love and mercy, we must not forget His righteous judgment when He comes again in glory. If our hearts remain hardened and unrepentant, we should not expect the Lord to overlook our transgressions simply because He is a good and loving God. Although He does not desire the death of a sinner, He also expects us to turn from our wickedness and live (Ezek. 33:11).OCA.org on the Last Judgement Sunday
As Father Alexander Schmemann reminds us in his book GREAT LENT (Ch. 1:4), sin is the absence of love, it is separation and isolation. When Christ comes to judge the world, His criterion for judgment will be love. Christian love entails seeing Christ in other people, our family, our friends, and everyone else we may encounter in our lives. We shall be judged on whether we have loved, or not loved, our neighbor.
This is such a great reminder. It’s all about love. Loving others. Every one.
The hymnography for this is pretty straightforward and can be intimidating. We sing all about His just judgement.
The books will be opened, and the works of all men laid bare;
the vale of tears will echo with the gnashing of teeth;
the sinners will mourn in vain, as they depart to eternal damnation.
Thy judgments are just, O Lord Almighty!
We beg Thee, O Master full of goodness and compassion,
take pity on us who sing to Thee, O most merciful One!Stichera Hymn of the Last Judgement
But the Church never let’s us forget His Love. And what He has done. He has conquered death! Joy has come into all the world through His glorious Resurrection. And so intertwined throughout the whole Resurrectional Vigil are hymns of the Last Judgement and hymns reminding us of His Resurrection. As it is every Sunday.
I am eagerly awaiting the start of Great Lent. A time for repentance and change and learning to love more like Him. And a time to prepare my heart to receive Him each day as we walk towards His glorious Resurrection.