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ST. MARY OF ZION

ETHIOPIAN ORTHODOX TEWAHEDO CHURCH - LONDON

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'Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit'

St Matthew 28: 19

Charity No. 282910

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Lent: week by week meanings  

The first Sunday

Zewerede: He who comes down

Reading: St. John 3:16

The first theme teaches us about the incarnation; that God came down from Heaven, became man in Bethlehem through the Holy Virgin Mary and by the operation of the Holy Spirit.

 

God came down from Heaven to teach us that he loves us and therefore we should love one another. Only in the person and work of Jesus Christ can we find God, His love and eternal life.

 

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

The Second Sunday

Kedest: Holy/Sanctify

Reading: St. Matthew 5, 6, 7

The second theme teaches us about separation from sin and evil. To be Holy means cut off or separated from sin, the devil and the world as Christ our Lord separated himself in the wilderness of Judea, fasting and praying, thus establishing example of the Great Lent Fast of the Church. However sanctification not only consists of putting off the old nature of Adam and sin but putting on the new nature of Jesus Christ by practicing the positive mean of holiness through fasting, prayer, spiritual reading of the Holy Bible, good works, practicing virtue, receiving penance and the Holy Communion.

The third Sunday

Mekurab: Temple

Reading: St. John 2:19

The third theme remembers the strong and powerful preaching of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Temple. It teaches us the proper use of the Temple/Church as a place of worship, prayer and devotion. Our Lord also predicts His own resurrection by using the Temple as a symbol of his own body, which will be destroyed and raised after three days.

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The Fourth Sunday

Metsagu: Infirmity, the Paralytic

Reading: St. John 5: 1 - 15

The fourth theme teaches us that Christ came to this world not only to preach and teach concerning the kingdom of God but to heal the sick, infirm and those possessed with mental and spiritual diseases. Our Lord teaches us that the foundations of all these physical and spiritual illnesses are caused by sin. The power of forgiveness is available to us faith in Christ and the Holy Spirit through his church and the sacrament of penance.

The fifth Sunday

Debre Zeit: Mount of Olives

Reading: St. John 3: 18 – 20 St. Matthew 4:17

The fifth theme is based upon the second coming of Christ, which was announced by our Lord on the Mount of Olives. The signs of the end times spoken by our Lord will culminate in final judgement and resurrection of the living and dead, believers and unbelievers, righteous and sinners. It is in the knowledge of this truth of the second coming of Christ that all people must repent, believe and baptise in preparation for the arrival of God’ Kingdom so that we will not be condemned.

The sixth Sunday

Gebre Here: Faithful Servant

Reading: St. Matthew 25: 14 - 25

In the sixth great theme in the fast we asked, “Who is the wise and faithful servant?” The answer to this question is what we do or don not do with our lives until we await Christ’s return to this world in His second coming. The faithful servant is the person who hears and does or fulfils the word of God; it is the one who is faithful and loyal to God, the Church and its family; it is the person who has received the tradition and faith of Christ’s Church and holds it steadfastly and courageously. It is the person who is faithful over small things such as fasting, prayer, humility, devotion, our health and material wealth for use in God’s work on Earth. The faithful and good servant is the one who builds his house on the rock and not the sand. The unfaithful servant is the opposite of all these.

The seventh Sunday

Nicodemus: A ruler of the Jews

Reading: St. John 3: 1 - 13

The theme in the seventh Sunday in the Great Fast points to the new birth given by water and the Holy Spirit. Nicodemus a ruler of the Jews came to our Lord by night seeking to escape the world of darkness and sin because he saw in Christ the light of salvation and life. Our Lord did not reject him but received him with Heavenly instructions. He explained to Nicodemus the preconditions of salvation in the Kingdom of God exists only if he believed that He was the God’s own Son and that he was equal with God the Father and that the power to become children of God by rebirth is available only through the mystery of Baptism, which is one of the seven Sacraments of the Church.  

The eighth Sunday

Hosanna/Saviour: Palm Sunday

Reading: St. John 12: 12 – 19

This is the eighth and final Sunday in the Great Lent Fast and is called Hosanna or Palm Sunday. This day is to commemorate our Lord’s final journey into Jerusalem riding on a colt the foal of an ass whilst the people acknowledged him as the Son of David, King, coming in the name of the Lord and placing palms under Him. The whole event teaches us that Christ our Lord the good shepherd was about to lay down his life for the sheep. Christ had observed all the laws and was about to observe the Passover feast in Jerusalem and fulfil all righteousness. For Christ is to become our Passover, a pure sacrifice. The Lamb of God is about to be offered for us all and become the true eternal King of body, soul and spirit.

Holy Week: Passion Week

Holy Wednesday/ Judgement day

Reading: St. John 18: 28 – 40

This day in Passion Week is also called Judgement day in order to remember our Lord’s trial before Pontius Pilate in the hall of judgement.

Holy Thursday/ Prayer Thursday

Reading: St. Matthew 26: 17 – 30; St. Mark 14: 12 – 26; St. Luke 22: 1 – 23

This day in Passion Week is called the day of prayer on Prayer Thursday. This is to commemorate the celebration of the eating of the Passover of Christ with his disciples during the last supper. The ceremony of the washing of the disciples’ feet and the mystery of the Holy Eucharist also took place on this day.

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