Saturday, March 22, 2008

Food For Thought During Great Lent

Since we are fasting now, I was pondering some thoughts that I wanted to "get out" though they are in their "raw" form and not well conveyed. Forgive my casual style, but maybe my simple thoughts can be of value to others who have embarked upon this year's Great Fast in preparation for Holy and Great Pascha and keeping in mind that the 40 day fast has its origins in the catechumenate period leading up to baptism at Pascha....

I have been reading Acts lately (the reasons don't really matter here) quite a bit and came to an interesting realization this evening. We read the expression, "Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?" (Acts 10.47) More than once the Apostles are taken by surprise that the Holy Spirit has chosen to descend upon those the Apostles did not anticipate, namely non-Jews. Who are we as Orthodox Christians to presume to "know" who God will save or welcome into His Church?

We have a great challenge in the 21st Century which I believe Acts can lend a helping hand if read in connection with Romans. In the two books we see very clearly the ministry of Paul and his arguments of what should and should not be required of Christians. KEEP IN MIND, I do not suggest casting out all the Orthodox Christian Holy Traditions, but we MUST keep in perspective the first Christians didn't worship, didn't fast, didn't live as we Orthodox Christians do today, and yet they were still Orthodox Christian. The key for me to understanding the Church, then and now "ideally", is centered on the Eucharist. If we are not centering our lives on that, we are missing the boat. We must be able, and willing, to honor the Holy Traditions as they have been handing down to us without losing their proper perspective and context. This is most definatley the case with the Holy Canons of the Church, and I wonder......just how much more.

Have a blessed Fast....

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