Today the world, like it or not, remembers the birth of Jesus some 2000 years ago. Remembers, though not necessarily celebrates. In rememberance of the Gift given to the world of God’s son we present gift to our loved ones. When I was young (and Moses was trying to tread water in the Nile) we gave gifts we felt expressed our feelings towards the other person. These days we give gifts that advertisers tell us we should give, and if we don’t give that Helzberg diamond then we really don’t love her. (more…)
Posts tagged ‘Jesus’
This is the last of the introductory teachings on the Eastern understanding of the Afterlife. More will come as time passes, but this has provided the basic knowledge on what we believe.
Much of our understanding of the passage from our death to the afterlife is derived from the teachings of the Early Christian Fathers who claim they were received in visions or from study of the teachings in the Old and New Testaments, such as that of Jacob’s Ladder from Genesis.
Birth, in the Eastern Church, is a Trinitarian event. Man provides the sperm, woman the egg, and God the Immortal Soul. From the time of conception all three are present in the woman’s womb. For this reason abortion is not permitted in the Eastern Church for it is not just a life that is being rejected, but the gift of the Immortal Soul from God.
If a life ends before Baptism can be performed the soul still goes through the process as Christians, they will just have a harder time of it without the benefit of Baptism and Confession. All must repent of unconfessed sins at their personal judgement. More on that later.
We are all sinners, it’s in our nature and nothing can be done to change it. God realized this and provided for us a way to reach Him regardless of what we have done…repentance. We show our repentance though Baptism and confession of our sins, either here or in the afterlife. Jesus’ purpose on earth was not to create Christianity, it was to teach us how to live, how to love God, and how to love and treat each other. It is by going against these teachings that we sin; it is by realizing that we have sinned, that we regret it wholeheartedly, and that we ask God to forgive us, that our sins are erradicated, now and forever.
At some point in time we will die, die to this world. Our lungs will cease to breath, our heart will cease to pump, our cells will cease their reproductive processes, eventually to decay into their base components, returning to the matter from which our parents created us…all but our eternal soul. Our soul cannot perish in this world for it is not of this world. It contains no matter, no atoms, no mesons, no quarks. It was created by God and implanted into our mortal bodies. It cannot die because it is the energy of life itself, not belonging to this universe, or to any universe. It was created outside of space and time, and it is to there that it must return.
It is that process of returning whence it originated that we will cover in the next installment.
As always, please feel free to ask questions.
Everything mankind has to deal with started with, and because of, Adam and Eve. According to Genesis (1:26) man was made “in our image (εἰκών), after our likeness (ὁμοίωσις)”. Image and likeness are the two words used to describe the original condition of man at the time of their creation.
Image refers to a physical resemblence, real or imagined, an example of the latter are the graven images the Hebrews made in the desert when Moses was on the holy mountain. Here it is being said that Adam and Eve were made to resemble their image.
Life is full of storms that we all have to weather, some are easier than others. Paul had a literal storm to weather, but in any case storms can bring into question the strength of our faith, and were we seek and find comfort.
Over the past two years I have had what seems like a never ending sea of storms, one after the other. Things started off with the onset of arthritis in my right hand (and the realization that I am allergic to every arthritis medication), that was soon followed by a bout of plantar fasciitis. The hardest thing any parent has to deal with happened last year when my son passed away at the young age of 34. Next came a sprained tendon in me left arm, which I am still dealing with (the arthritis and sprain have kept me from posting much as typing is not easy). In January of this year I started having severe back pains, which turned out to be massive kidney stones. The kidney stone required two operations to completely remove, with the end result of inflaming my prostate to the point that it now requires an operation to get it back to functioning properly (awaiting word on when that will occur).
Medications I have been on to deal with the pain have had me dealing with the side effect of depression. The most severe cases have passed, though I still have times where I have trouble convincing myself to get up to do anything. Doesn’t help that I have some restrictions on my activities (haven’t been able to hike for better than 9 months now).
I am not looking for sympathy, I write this to simply point out how the storms of life can hit us.
The hardest thing has been not being able to attend church services, it has been 4 months now since I have attended liturgy. Our faith is what we turn to when the going gets tough, we seek the words of consolation from Scripture, from others attending, and from the words of our priest/pastor/rabbi. It’s difficult when those resources are not available to us, so we turn to other sources of comfort and consolation. I have found, and rely upon, that replacement here on the blogs I follow. Most specifically they include:
Don Merritt’s The Life Post
Church Set Free, featuring Paulfg and Br. Francis-Claire
But, most especially, the short Christian motivations from Dr. K. L. Register. Through the months many of her posts feel like they have been directed specifically to me as they have fitted my mood and needs like the proverbial glove.
To be sure, my storms are no worse than many, perhaps you, have had, and far less than those others have experienced. I spent 30+ years working with disabled youth in one way or another, and it is amazing how children handle problems that bring adults to the very edge. Wheelchairs, mental acuity. obstacles our society places before them (and refuses to remove), yet they continue on with nary a bad word for anyone. Their love of us “normals”, their close (and unwavering) relationship with God (in whatever form they relate to Him in), has been an inspiration to me through the years. Next time you find yourself with nothing to do check out a local Miracle Field or Special Olympics event and just watch in awe as they deal with their problems, then ask yourself if you would have similar strength and still have a smile and hug to share with those around them…even strangers.
My faith has seen me though the hard times of the last two years, and I hope will see me through that which is still down the road. I write this now because the different operations I have ahead of me may preclude my return to the blogging world as anything more than a follower of other’s blogs. Again, do not feel sorry for me, nor look at this as an request for sympathy, I write this as an encouragement when storms come into your lives, seek out the Lord through the encouragement of Scripture and the writings of others. Let their words lift you out of the depression that hard times impose upon us, know that God has more planned for you in both this life an the next. Allow him to work through you, and your problems, to act as an encouragement to others.