Journey to Easter

This week we start our Journey to Easter series, a series that is an experience as well as a group of messages. It is a series on Lent, fasting, tradition, and preparations for the Church's greatest feast.

It is important to start by saying we do not expect everybody to succeed or even take this journey with us. It is better to fast from one thing like meat and succeed then do it all and give up early. Also, if you mess up, that does not mean you have failed and cannot continue the fast. Pregnant and nursing mothers, as well as those with dietary issues, should not fast fully and use discretion – perhaps giving something else up. This is NOT about legalism. It is about getting closer to God.

Here is the schedule for the 3 preparatory weeks before Great Lent, how our fasting starts, and how long Great Lent lasts:

Prep Week 1: 2/9/2014 - The Publican and The Pharisee - Fast-free week

Prep Week 2: 2/16/2014 - The Prodigal Son - Fasting Wednesday and Friday (like a normal week in the Orthodox Church)

Prep Week 3: 2/23/2014 - The Last Judgment - AKA Meatfare Sunday - No meat all week

Forgiveness Sunday: 3/2/2014 - The Day Before Great Lent - AKA Cheesefare Sunday - Monday starts Great Lent

Great Lent Starts: 3/3/2014

Great Lent Ends Easter Sunday: 4/20/2014

Passion Week: 4/14/2014 - 4/20/2014

Fasting rules: No meat, fish, olive oil, wine, or dairy. Also a general discretion of not overeating and more attention to spiritual things (ie less time on facebook).

Exception days: 4/7/2014 and 4/13/2014 fish allowed.

4/18/2014: Great Friday (AKA Good Friday), strict fast, no food for 24 hours.

Cheat Sheet: Allowed – hummus, avocado, shrimp or any shellfish, peanut butter, almond milk, any nuts. Basically vegan with shellfish anf honey allowed.

Remember: we fast because we are hungry for God. We realize how desperate we are for Christ by being obedient to the fast.