Living Is Relationship
We live in a country, and in a place in history where we pride ourselves for being individuals, in being self-reliant, and capable of taking care of ourselves. One or more of these statements are untrue for several reasons.
We are not individuals, we are persons, and as such we come to know ourselves in relationship. We come to know who we are through copious efforts of parents and caretakers, we are born with semblance of personality and character and fine tune it through relational experiences. We are anything but self-reliant, most especially in our formative years, from infancy into adulthood (and beyond).
Eventually we must, as caregivers be there to help form children, friends and family into more fully human beings. In order to properly do that we must again see ourselves as children, most specifically as children of God. Children of the Holy Trinity, relationship itself. To be a person, we must first face and interact and learn from persons. The Persons of the Holy Trinity being the only proper examples.
In order to interact, we must first bring ourselves to the point, and moment, and place ourselves into the expe- rience of the Person (God). In Church, with liturgical services, with our own peers, with all perfections and imperfections with a mentality oriented towards thanksgiving and glorification.
Church is a place we come to in order to be transformed, it is first a gathering of people with a purpose first and foremost, and only secondly as a result of the gathering does the place become sacred and sanctified. It is through our interaction with it that it remains such.
When we fail ourselves, and when we distance ourselves from God or His people we make ourselves vulnerable and so seek to find ways to convince ourselves that we are self-reliant, and independent, when nothing is ever farther from the truth.
We are God’s children, and it is time that we begin to pay attention to Him, to learn His ways and hear His Word. To spend time with Him, to depend on Him. To receive His gifts and promises, by upholding our end of the pledges we made on the days of our baptisms. To clean and renew our souls, and to do so within the life of our local Church. To transform ourselves, the community of our faithful and all those who we come into contact with.
Take time and reflect, speak with your priest, share your thoughts, and listen to feedback, with an open heart and a quiet mind. Learn to do things for the right reasons, learn to temper your opinions and to open them or pinpoint them depending on the situation. Do not lay blame elsewhere or complain, rather do what you can, when you can to help. Do not march to the beat of your own drum while trying to be a part of God’s sympho- ny. Acquire a spirit of meekness. The strength of a warhorse with the absolute trust in its Master.
Don’t jump from parish to parish; plant your roots, so they can grow. So they go deep into the fertile soil that God provides us with to grow into His proper children, not just the hired help looking for handouts and benefits. Give of yourself and all of yourself and He will bless you. Handle all of the grief and trials with hope, with faith and with love in our God, and for His people.
+ Rev Ioannis (Yanni) Michaelidis, Assistant Pastor
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