By Bishop Paul
Jesus began His public ministry proclaiming, “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” These words lie at the heart of living our Orthodox Christian Faith. The call to “repent” is not a one-time event we experience, or had experienced, at one point in our life. It is a call to change our minds, to turn from how we had previously understood our life. It is an ongoing call that challenges us to embrace a reality that is beyond what we see, hear, smell, feel, or touch. Rather, it is the challenge to rethink how these five senses, through which we learn about the world in which we live, can be reoriented to point us to a world beyond. It is the challenge to bring something of that world beyond and to manifest it in the here and now. The words of the Lord’s Prayer are indicative of this: “…Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” This is what it means to be a saint; by the grace of the All-holy Spirit, we sanctify and make something of heaven present in the place where we live.
The idea of building bridges of which I spoke last week is fulfilled in this Gospel call of Christ to “repent.” This is the bridge that calls our attention to another reality and dimension that all of us seek; many do so without realizing it. Until we cross that bridge, there is little we can say about how people should live their lives. But once we cross that bridge, we meet and are confronted with Jesus of Nazareth. He is the game changer. He is the God-Man Who comes to make Himself known to us. He is the icon of what it means to be a true human being. To stand in the presence of Christ is to stand in His light. Light reveals what has been hidden in the darkness. What does that do to us? Read Luke 5:1-11 and Mark 10:17-27. These readings will be the focus of my upcoming notes to you.
The blessing of the Lord be upon you.
I welcome comments on the above; I don’t claim to be infallible here.