Greetings on this first day of Great Lent in western Christianity (our Orthodox kin began Monday). I am not your pastor and have no authority over anyone. Yet, as a devout and loving brother in Christ Jesus, I recommend that we all take up some observance in this traditional observance of the lessons, suffering, and sacrifice of our Lord and Savior. Some churches will hold special services while others will make mention of this Ash Wednesday in regular weekly worship. Corporate worship is the duty of all who are part of the body of believers. But, I firmly believe in what we do in our prayer closets having the greater effect in our faith. We must commit ourselves to Jesus in our hearts, souls, and minds; not just our public displays in church.
I offer for your consideration a creed that perhaps you can apply to your own walk of faith. This is what I apply to myself in both real and Second Life. Perhaps you may write your own based on other text and venture into some other virtual world if you deciede to do so. Which is perfectly fine. However you choose to observe Lent, please do so in sincerity of Spirit. And now, I offer you the creed I have adopted:
The Creed for the New Monastic Order of Saint Simon of Cyrene
And he called to him the multitude with his disciples and said to them, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. Mark 8:34
And they compelled a passer-by, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross. Mark 15:21
May I indeed deny myself the excesses of this world. Taking only what I need for myself and household. Seeking nothing for my vainglory nor reason to boast. If I boast of anything, as taught by the scriptures, let me boast in the Lord and in him alone.
May I indeed take up my cross. Let me accept the sorrow and suffering that is mine for the sake of others. Let me sacrifice my time and effort for the uplift of the greater good. As with our Lord in the Gethsemane, I cannot deny and must express my sorrow. Nevertheless, I accept the will of God and understand there is a greater necessity and glory in the same and pain that I bear.
May I indeed follow our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ this day. Not for the sake of popularity nor cultural norm. But because I have come to know him for myself. Because I have walked with him and bear witness to his salvation in my life. Therefore, I drop my nets of earthly expectations and leave my tables of society’s standards to follow the Good Shepherd wherever he leads me in life.
I am compelled by my love for the Gospel and desire to live in holiness. I am merely a passer-by in this world. There is a greater home that I see to reside in. May my life on this earth inspire and lead others to the true belief and faith in God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Brother Cyprian Bluemood
The Modern Monastic Order of Saint Simon of Cyrene