The call to saintly life is no less important today than it was in the ancient days of the Church. As a gentle reminder, the word saint (Άγιος in Greek) means “not of the world” or “not worldly” and reflects our call as Christians to be focused on the Kingdom of Heaven rather than earth. As Saint Paul reminds us, we are all “called to be saints” but let’s face it, we rarely remember to live according to our calling. It doesn’t help when our society perpetuates confusion about various moral outrages.
Just as God has provided simple flowers that peak through the snow to let us know winter is coming to an end, He provides the Gospel story of Zacchaeus to remind us that Great Lent is just around the corner. If we desire to see Jesus and to be saved by Him, it will require some effort and planning on our part. Zacchaeus ran ahead and climbed up a tree to see Jesus. What are going to do to be ready for Great Lent so you can see Jesus?
As Orthodox Christians we often hear others declare, “I don’t have to go to church to pray,” or “Jesus never said we had to go to Church.” Even worse…It doesn’t say in the Bible that we have to go to church to be saved. In fact, He did say, “Go to Church,” and He even commanded us to “Show the priests” that we have been healed.
Since the creation of humanity, we have struggled to see the world as God sees it. The Scriptures are filled with stories of our ancestors failing to see the world through God’s eyes, even to the extent of not recognizing Christ when He appeared just over two thousand years ago. Sometimes we look at the world, and our situation within it, and think God must be angry at us and is punishing us. Reality is different. In fact, God is saving us, and has been saving us ever since Adam and Eve were removed from the Garden of Eden.
Ever since Adam and Eve walked in Paradise, humanity has struggled to see the world as God sees it. He created everything so that we might enjoy eternity with Him, and “everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.” (Genesis 2.31) He made creation to lead us to Him. But there was danger lurking in the Garden, and the serpent began to tempt our ancestors, just as he tempts us. He tricked them into seeing God’s creation through selfish eyes rather than God’s eyes.