On Stewardship and the Orthodox Life - Part 136: Being in Communion - Part 1 (3/5/17)

“and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:19: 3-4  RSV)

Many of us throw around the terms “Communion” and “Being in Communion” but, do we understand what they mean?  This will be the first of a three-part series on “being in communion.”  Being in communion has everything to do with Stewardship and also with Salvation.  In the first book of the Old Testament, we learn that God made man to be in “communion” with God.  Man was to think of God at every moment of the day worshipping and giving thanks to Him, being grateful for all that God has gifted him.  God walked with Adam in the cool of the day; they were in communion with each other, sharing.

Communion is defined as a sharing of an intimate feeling or thought with another.  Notice that the word ‘relationship’ is not used in the bible.  Relationships are choices in our earthly lives, and we may selectively ignore others.  The bible uses the Greek work, “koinonia (communion)” or “henosis (union)” which denote true participation.  The Holy Trinity is in continual communion with each person of the Trinity through a mutual love.  This love is not the love that we know but a kenotic, self-emptying, love, that surpasses anything that we can imagine.

We were made in the image of God and have the “potential” to be in the likeness of God.  God knows Himself as “Person in Communion” therefore being in His image we should know ourselves as persons in communion.  Being in communion with God we must work at being the likeness, a synergistic relationship with God.  Being in total communion with God (Theosis) opens us to the knowledge of all truth.  Not just the spiritual truth but of ALL truth.

We, therefore, being in communion with God, know the self-emptying love by God’s grace.  Just before Christ went to the cross, Christ tells us that we are not only to love Him but also our neighbors as He loves us (John 13:34).  In other words, we are to be in communion with each member of the body of Christ.  We are to share in that self-emptying love with each member of the body of Christ.  That means sharing of all that we have been gifted with, time, talents and treasures with the body of Christ out of love.  By doing this then we attain to the likeness of God.  Archimandrite Zacharias in his book, Man, the Target of God, states,” the measure of spiritual gifts man receives in this world is always commensurate to the degree of kenosis which preceded and thus to the degree of likeness he has attained in Christ.”

God wants to share His kingdom with you, to be in total communion with you but it will take work on your part to show that you are worthy of the greatest gift He can give, eternal salvation.  Be a steward of the gifts of God, be in communion with the body of Christ and with God Himself!

This weekly series of brief thoughts on stewardship and Orthodox life is brought to you by your Diocesan Stewardship Commission.

Mark Your Calendar Now for the 2nd annual Stewardship Retreat will be held September 22-24, 2017.

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