Monday, November 16, 2009

Life Has Roots

As part of my Advent discipline this year I have accepted to participate in a New Testmanet Challenge. By Christmas we will all read the entire New Testament. Yesterday's reading was Matthew Chapters 1-7. Knowing that have also committed to blog every day during Advent as part of the 40 Days of Blogging, I was immediately drawn to the opening Chapter of Matthew in which we read the geneology of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ had a history of generations and generations of holy and dedicate God-fearing people and so do we...the Church.

The Orthodox Christian Church is not simply the oldest Christian Church in the world from an academic point of view. To view her as only historically old would negate the reality of her holiness. There are plenty of other ancient faiths that continue to exist in the world, some of which may even have broken away from Christianity, that do not share a history of holiness and dedication to God. What makes the Orthodox Church the True Church of Christ is her committment to the teachings and traditions of Christ and His Saints.

The Saints are examples of faithful Orthodox Christians who refused to alter their Christian lifestyle simply because society declared Christianity illegal. They refused to halt their worship of God simply because others insisted they worship other "lesser gods". Sometimes they even gave their life for Jesus Christ. These holy men and women we call Saints were committed to maintaining the Holy Traditions of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church established by Jesus Christ and His Apostles over 2000 years ago.

So just as the Gospel of Matthew lists the geneologies of the holy ancestors of Jesus Christ, our Orthodox Church history lists the geneologies of our holy ancstors - the Saints - in the daily Synaxarion (lists of saints) read each day in the Matins of the Church. For the Jews the geneology of Christ was accepted as evidence of His being the Messiah. For us the genology of the Saints should be used as evidence that the Orthodox Church of today is the same continuous Church of Christ established over 2000 years ago.

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