Canon of St. Andrew last night--Audra's due to return shortly from tonight's installment of the same, the second of the four which occupy the first four evenings of our Lent--if there's one thing those canon verses remind me of, it is this: I do not take my sin as seriously as it merits being taken.
The constant prostrations, bowing with my face to the ground over and over, serves as an insistent reminder that I, though I have been reconciled to Christ in baptism, am still yet a pilgrim who is working out that reconciliation through repentance, and yet, who knows that that very repentance is wholly insufficient to solve the problem that plagues our race: the glorification of our nature. Were this not a matter of metanoia, but rather simply a matter of "doing the 'right' thing" while "avoiding the 'wrong' thing," we would not need an incarnate Savior. We acknowledge that we are, indeed, sick--the canon points out just how gravely sick we are!--and that, were it not for a divine Savior taking unto Himself our diseased flesh and healing it, thus giving us a passage out of the quickly-rotting world of fallen humanity, all our prayers would be no more than syllables passing through still-decomposing flaps of flesh, all our prostrations merely the creaking of dry bones already bowing to the earth which would forever swallow them.
Because, however, humanity and divinity are reconciled in the Body of our Lover and our Lord, our repentance actually serves a purpose, and what is impossible for man becomes possible--gloriously, miraculously, unfathomably possible!--with God. Our fasting, our abstinence, our alms, our prayers, our countless "Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me"s, now serve to till the ground of hearts who no longer need to wait for the scorching wind of death to bury them, but who will now receive the warmth of Maker's sun as glorious nourishment, the draught of His rain as merciful sustenance for growth into that which His most fanciful of angels might only dream of being possible.
Let us pray, then, keeping in mind both the "the goodness and severity of God" (Rom. 11:22) which surrounds us.