Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Seeing God in 2016

Saint John said in his Gospel, “No one has ever seen God; the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known.” (John 1.18) That HAD BEEN true until God revealed Himself in His glorious incarnation. Not since Adam and Eve walked with God in the garden had a human being set his eyes upon God. All that changed with the Christ’s Holy Nativity.

Beginning today, the Church celebrates Theophany (God Revealed) and the Baptism of Our Lord Jesus Christ. For just over thirty-three years the world was able to set their eyes upon God in the Flesh in the person of Jesus Christ. For us as Orthodox Christians, this is fully expressed in our Holy Tradition of Icons which depicts Christ, but not the Father nor the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is often (such as the Icon of Theophany) depicted as a dove and the Father as a “ray” from Heaven.

But how do we see God now in 2016? Each human being is created in the image of God so that is one place to start. When you look at your fellow humans – friends, family and foe – consider that you are looking at the image of God. Another way we see God is in the Church. The Church mystically is the Body of Christ present in the world, continuing the work that He began. When you participate in the fullness of the sacramental life of the Church – Holy Water blessings, assisting the poor, worshiping in the Church as a community, receiving the sacraments, and in the love the Church presents to the world.

The world is filled with pain and suffering, and if the work of the Church is to continue the work begun by Christ, then it is also the work of the Church to be a light in the darkness and a refreshment to those who thirst. When the Church DOES this work, the Church allows people to see God, and ALL THIS because the Holy Trinity was revealed to us on Theophany at the Baptism of Christ.

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