Friday, January 15, 2016

Don't be right; be healthy

Today’s Epistle Reading: St. Paul's Letter to the Galatians 5:22-26; 6:1-2 - Brethren, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law.  And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.  Let us have no self-conceit, no provoking of one another, no envy of one another.  Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.  Look to yourself, lest you too be tempted.  Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
I was having a conversation the other day about the sad reality that there were over 43,000 denominations of Christianity. I was told by a Protestant Pastor that the many, VERY MANY, denominations was no different than the four Gospels. I couldn’t disagree more, so I called a friend of mine who used to be a Protestant Pastor, but now serves as a Greek Orthodox Priest. He said something that really made sense to me.

Protestants want to be right. Orthodox want to be healthy.

Looking at today’s Epistle reading, we see the goal of a healthy Christian life – the fruit of the Holy Spirit. We also see the symptoms of an unhealthy Christian life. Upon our Baptism, we Orthodox believe that the Holy Spirit bestows these gifts, and it is for us to maintain and nurture them. We maintain the gifts through the life of the Church, a life that has been perfected through centuries of holy men and women we call saints – the Fathers and Mothers of the Church.

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