“Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.”
1 Cor. 16:13
The Holy Apostle Paul addresses these words to the faithful in Corinth, the city located some 48 miles southwest of Athens, Greece. He wrote this epistle letter to the Corinthians while in Ephesus around 55 AD. His purpose was to teach them that we are created for communion with God and each other. Having been informed of some problems and concerns in the community, the Apostle Paul now in writing gives them the teachings of the Church on various aspects of community, family and doctrine.
These encouraging words of the Holy Apostle are equally relevant for us livng in America today. We too need to be affirmed in our faith; we too need to be reminded of the various aspects of community life; we too need to be exhorted in our confession and proclamation of the Faith.
We will celebrate the Nativity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on January seventh. Right about that time, all the ‘busyness’ of the holiday season will be behind us. I am not sure though what this ‘busyness’ is really all about when according to the Church calendar we are called to fast (pray more frequently, intensify our almsgiving, minimize our worldly activities in order to elevate our minds to the level of the Church, practice our obedience to the Church by following a dietary restrictions, i.e. abstaining from meats, dairy, etc., participate in the services and the sacraments, etc.). However, it seems that we somehow forget about the Church calendar and follow the worldly calendar of holiday ‘busyness’ and frenzied way of life. This could not be more contrary to the teachings of our Holy Church.
There is a plethora of temptations and ‘lures’ to distract us from practicing our Faith. They are all nicely embellished with words such as ‘freedom of expression’, ‘modern way of life’, ‘new age thinking’, ‘individual rights’, etc.
I ask, is not the Church of Christ the same yesterday, today and tomorrow? Is not the Church of Christ our true Mother? Aren’t we children of the Heavenly Father? Aren’t we created in the image and likeness of Christ to live in communion with God?
Yes and emphatically yes to all these questions. Then, “watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.” Our time is not any different from the time of martyrs of our Holy Church. They witnessed Christ (martyrdom) even unto death. They spoke with love and courage about Him whom they were asked to deny. They worshiped Him instead of false gods. They found a way to love when the rest of the world was full of hatred. In the end, they transformed the world or better yet, Christ transformed it through their words and actions.
We are called to transform this holiday season into a Holy Days season. It takes watchfulness, steadfastness, courage and a strong faith to do just that.
“Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (James 1:22)
Source: The Path of Orthodoxy