On Stewardship and the Orthodox Life - Part 138: Being in Communion - Part lll (3/19/17)

“All things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.” (2 Corinthians 4: 15  RSV)

In this final part of “Being in Communion” I would like to concentrate on communion as it relates to the Divine Liturgy.  As persons in communion, we come to the Divine Liturgy with gratitude for what God has given us.  All that we have is a gift from God, ALL, not just some!  We sometimes fall into the misconception that WE are responsible for what we have and what we have become.  As persons in communion, we know that God has given us everything and we come to praise Him in gratitude for His gifts.

 During the Divine Liturgy, we bring our gifts to be offered to Christ.  Originally the first fruits of the harvest were brought, oil, wine, wheat, bread, fruits.  What was not offered during the Liturgy was distributed to the poor, needy, widows and orphans.  Today we bring our gifts of money, our time and our talents which are used to purchase and make the bread and wine to be offered as gifts and what is left over to help those less fortunate.  Too often the gifts given are not sufficient enough to carry on any outreach.

We bring our gifts and offer them to God communally, as the body of Christ.  We approach the chalice not as an individual but as the body of Christ; we are in communion with God and each member of the body of Christ.  As members of the body of Christ and you made a covenant with God at your baptism to become a member of the body of Christ, you are committed to the journey to Theosis, total communion with God, as well as helping others on that journey to find their hypostatic principle, their personhood.  We are all in a constant state of becoming: “We are not yet what we shall be” (1 John 3: 2).

When not using the gifts that God has given us we fall out of communion with God and each other.  We put our salvation at risk as well as those who we do not assist.  We fall back into self-centeredness and begin to rely on our rational mind to resolve all issues in our lives “falling into a deep sense of loneliness and alienation that marks modern human beings” as stated by Fr. Stephen Freeman, Glory to God for All Things

As Paul stated in Galatians 2: 20, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ in me.”  Can you say that in all honesty?  When you can make that statement, you will be in communion with God and with the body of Christ.  You will be a good steward freely and lovingly giving of your gifts in gratitude for what God has given you!

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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