And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the Garden… Joni Mitchell (1969)
“And it is prayer that leads us back to Paradise. It is said that when a priest stands before the closed gates of the altar at the beginning of Vespers, he represents Adam weeping before the closed gates of Paradise. I think of that image often as I stand quietly waiting for the Reader to end the prayers of the ninth hour. For as I stand before those holy gates, all humanity stands in me. We all stand before the closed gates of paradise. Many times I find the gates closed even to the Paradise of the heart. My thoughts swirl with a thousand distractions and the gates of hell threaten my undoing.
“But it is good to stand still and to bow the head and to weep with Adam. For the doors that are shut will be opened. The gates that are closed will be lifted up. In the wonder of the Divine Liturgy the fruit of the Tree of Life will be brought forth with the invitation, ‘In the fear of God and with faith, draw near!’”
I’m posting this because today is the Sunday of Forgiveness, the day before Orthodox Lent begins, when we remember how Adam and Eve were expelled from Paradise. Read more of this article by Fr. Stephen
(Fresco above is in Decani Monastery in Kosovo.)