From the Pastor

 

Emily Esfahan Smith, did a video on being happy in life. She pointed out four thoughts for having a good life. In looking at these four, belonging, purpose, transcendence, storytelling, I picture these as challenges for each of us as we look to February and to celebrate the entrance into Great and Holy Lent.

Storytelling is what we say to our children, our spouses, our relatives, our friends. Storytelling is the central part of what our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ did and does. We all have a story to tell. I wonder though what is the story of our life? In our storytelling, what do we have to say about what our Lord has done in our life, what God means in our life, how did we live out life so that the story has a positive effect and a positive example for our children and grandchildren? Our life is not over, and yes, we fail, but our Lord helps us to get up again. When He is part of our storytelling, our purpose and meaning in our life and hence, in our storytelling fills with His presence in so many ways throughout our life.

Transcendence is where we reach out and touch the Lord, it is in line with our faith as Orthodox Christians and how we relate with God and His Church. Transcendence helps us see through this vail of the secular, the material, the finite and see there is something greater and more profound that what we see around us. Our Creator gives us a gift so rich and rare, so that we can connect with Him and acknowledge there is an eternity that awaits us. But it deems we remember who created our life and live our transcendency by prayer and daily stewardship of remembering that our Lord is a loving God who awaits our desire to connect with him through His Church and living daily in remembrance of Him. Transcendence is a major part of the storytelling, for it leads into the whole purpose of our life.

Purpose of our life is a question we face daily. Why am I here? What is my purpose? What is this whole life about? We can begin to fathom our purpose if we understand that God has an incredible plan for our life. This is also a key part of our story telling and hinges directly on our transcendence. For when the puzzle of our purpose is in place, we can see the big picture of what life is all about and begin to live the life God has created for us. Key parts of our purpose in life are a) to offer worship to God; b) to be part of God’s family and in fellowship with each other; c) to learn how to be followers of the teachings of our Lord; to live a sacramental life; d) to put into practice the teachings of our Lord and e) to spread the word of our Lord to all whom we know by word and by example. We can do this if we focus on our purpose and transcendence and make it part of our storytelling.

Belonging is the fourth essential element of being an Orthodox Christian. Having a story to tell, having within our hearts the transcendence of the holy, living out our purpose in life, we can do this most effectively as part of a loving community, of the Church. The Church is the family of God which emphasizes sacred values and welcomes all to her loving arms. The Church is where we can principally and broadly find respect, concern, love, and the grace and mercy of God. In the final analysis, the Church is not the building but those people in the building, those who welcome one another: you and me! It is not the bishop alone, or the priest alone, or any organization in the Church alone. It is all of us working towards the common goal of making everyone feel welcomed, loved and valued as part of our family, which is God’s family. With God’s grace and St. George guiding, we should look at this month of February, the month of “love” as it has been characterized, as our effort in making it a place, where we can gather and share our storytelling and helping others find transcendence, and purpose, for they now belong alongside of us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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