by V. Rev. James C. Meena
“By Him were all things created that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions, or principalities, or powers. All things were created by Him and for Him, and He is before all things and by Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the Church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have pre-eminence,” (Colossians 1:16-18).
Of Whom do we speak? In his Epistle to the people of Colossia, St. Paul says, as he said to all of his Disciples, “Give thanks”. That’s his first statement. Be grateful unto the Father Who is the Creator of all things — but above all give thanks because He has made it right for us to be partakers of the inheritance of the Saints — of the inheritance of light — “He has delivered us from the power of darkness — and He has translated us into the Kingdom of His Dear Son.”
You and I are faced with a fundamental decision. Either we believe that which is said in the Scriptures or not. It is not sufficient for us merely to declare that we have some kind of undefinable, noncommittal belief in Jesus Christ because St. Paul says that we are partakers of a rich inheritance of light which we share with all the saints. Now, we must decide! Either St. Paul speaks the truth or he speaks a lot of malarkey. It is our decision one way or the other, but we can’t be neutral. In the face of the things which are taught to us in Scriptures from Genesis to Revelations it is impossible to remain neutral and still be considered a part of that everlasting Kingdom of His dear Son of which St. Paul speaks.
Too often you and I, and people like us, think that it is enough that we were born of Christian parents. And as an added bonus those Christian parents were of the Orthodox Church and that, somehow, gives us a particular grace. I would like to turn your thinking around 180 degrees right now, if I can! St. Paul indicates that this heritage is not passed down through the genes, not something that we come to automatically at birth. This inheritance is heritage not legacy! Parents cannot bequeath this in their last will and testament. It is a heritage which we must earn and it is more precious because it is the inheritance of the Saints! Because of this inheritance and by the Grace of God we are translated from darkness, from ignorance, from a total absence of God into light, into a knowledge of God, into a Communion with Him and, ultimately into an eternal reunion with Him. This is the promise of Christ and this is what Christians have been getting excited about for two thousand years. It is this kind of news that makes us anxious for those who remain passive — and causes us to rejoice over one lost sheep who is saved . . . that makes all the heavens rejoice more over one sinner who repents than over all the righteous.
Who is this Jesus Christ? Well, St. Paul spells out one of his definitions here. He is the Head of the Body, the Church. The perfect description! What good is the Body without a head? The head controls all signals to every member of the body. There is not one thing in the body that functions without the head . . . without the brain . . . The head of the body in this lesson is Christ Jesus. And what is the body? It is the Church! And what is the Church? “Wherever two or three are gathered in My Name there I am also”, said the Lord, and that is the Church!! “Where the Bishop is, there is the Church”, said St. Ignatius of Antioch. “Where abide the People of God, abides the Church of Jesus Christ”, states St. Irenaeus.
You and I, coming together in His name, comprise His Body. You and I together as children of God, comprise a citizenship in the Kingdom of His Divine Son. Therefore, those who share the current attitude of some members of the new generation, who don’t consider it necessary to go to Church, who don’t consider it necessary to understand about Christ and who don’t consider it necessary to be an active Christian are only fooling themselves. They are creating a mythology by which they can live their own kind of passive fantasy in which they are committed neither to God nor to the devil, or so they think!
I would like you to think about something in this technological age where nearly everything moves by wheels and by power. Have you ever tried to drive your automobile in neutral? Try it. Get into your car, start it, put it in neutral and see that you are going to go exactly nowhere. And so it is with our life. . . with our relationship to Christ and the Gospels. . . if we remain in neutral not only do we run the risk of merely standing still, but we run the very great risk of rolling down hill . . . further and further away from Him.
This is the age of commitment! Everyone is being challenged to commit to something. Unfortunately, the advocates of the “new morality” which is the old immorality in drag, place more stock in commitment on a one to one basis than they do on a commitment to God and to His Creation. That’s a shame because without commitment to Him, to His Church, to His Gospels, to all that which He came to establish and of which He is the living Head, there is nothing.
Publication of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America