Friday, January 10, 2014

Back to Basics; Back to Church!

Following His baptism in the Jordan River by John the Baptist, Jesus went into the wilderness and fasted for forty days and forty nights, being openly tempted by the devil. Once His fast was completed, He began His sacred mission to bring all people to Himself for salvation. “From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” (Matthew 4.17) What did Jesus mean when He commanded us to repent?

Repentance has many components, but the main concept is “to change direction and return to where you began.” In calling humanity to repent, Jesus was inviting us to return to where WE began, a life in communion with Him. Since we cannot physically return to the Garden, He has provided His Church for us as a place to live in Communion with Him. This means we have been called by Christ to turn ourselves around and return to the Church and live a life in Communion with Him.

Why turn around? It’s simple, really. We have walked away from our roots as Orthodox Christians. We have embraced a way of life foreign, many times, to Sacred Orthodox Christian Tradition. We have forgotten, many of us, what it means to live a life in Communion with Christ. We have stepped away from the Church. While we might have kept the Church in our memory, we have forgotten to keep it in our hearts and daily actions.

And what is the Church? It is a way of life, established by Christ and His Holy Apostles, in which we live DAILY our life in communion with the Holy Trinity. It is a life of prayer, fasting, taking care of the poor and sick, reading the writings of Holy men and women (including the Bible), and participating in the Sacramental life of the Church. The ENTIRE LIFE of the Church is a life or repentance, a life of getting back to where it all began – a life in Christ.

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