On Stewardship and the Orthodox Life - Part 137: Being in Communion - Part ll (3/12/17)

“Or what shall a man give in return for his life? For the Son of man is to come with his angels in the glory of His Father, and then He will repay every man for what he has done” (Matthew 16: 26-27 RSV)

Being in communion with the Body of Christ allows us to develop and cultivate our personal gifts that we received from God and to receive also from the collective wealth of the body of Christ.  We are sustained by the other members of the body of Christ so that we may work on perfecting our personal gifts for developing our personhood (hypostasis) and restoring ourselves to the likeness of God and also for using them for sustaining others on their journey to personhood and Theosis.

 When talking about personhood, we must remember that our concept of person is different from that of God and the Holy Fathers.  Person or hypostasis was discussed and repeatedly contested in the early church.  St. Basil the Great in his treatise, On the Holy Spirit, defines it convincingly.  St. Basil describes each person or hypostasis of the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) as being in communion with each other.  The three persons being in communion (being in continual participation) with each other form the essence of God.  You cannot be a person without being in communion with another.  The love that they share for each other is what binds them.

Likewise, we are to be persons in communion not only with God but with each member of the body of Christ.  Archimandrite Zacharias in his book, Man, the Target of God, states, “Our salvation cannot not be a personal attainment but a gift of God in communion with all that are His, whereby, He is glorified eternally.”

Unfortunately, many of us believe that church is something we come to on Sunday for 1-1 ½ hours and then go home to our secular lives in our secular world.  In doing so, we are not “being in communion” with the members of the body of Christ.  Rather we are engaging in an act of self-centeredness so prevalent in our modern society.  We rely on our own merits and intelligence in all matters.  You form relationships with others in that world but, this is not the same as communion.  Being a person, or a potential for being a person, means that your communion with God and others must rely wholly on God.  You can only grow into a person, the Holy Fathers call it the hypostatic principle, as a member of the church, the body of Christ.  Here you are nourished and will nourish others by the gifts God has given you as all journey on the road to Theosis.  We are all in a constant stated of being.  Our journey does not end but will continue eternally.

Your stewardship is essential not only for your salvation but also for the salvation of each member of the body of Christ. 

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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