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The Eyes of the Gospel I

This week we will start a new blog series, focusing on Archbishop Joseph Raya's The Eyes of the Gospel.

Archbishop Joseph begins his book with a mighty proclamation: "God is Celebration!" He emphasizes throughout the first chapter that God is an eternal dance of love (in theology, this concept is known by the Greek word "perichoreisis"). One of the great tragedies of our age is that we have increasingly retreated into the intellectual and away from the spiritual, and we have seen the consequences of this retreat in the many difficult times which have tried our nations in the form of war, violence, and unrest. According to Raya, the Christian is the opposite of the secular revolutionary; the revolutionary begins their activity in happiness and this exaltation then ends in disappointment, whereas the Christian begins in disappointment with their own shortcoming and then rests in the joy of God's life. Though we can sometimes helpfully attempt to talk about God, ultimately God is unable to be captured by human words, by philosophy, by rationality. To live in God is to give oneself entirely over to Him. Archbishop Joseph points out that Martin Luther noted that the Theotokos said "My soul magnifies the Lord," here meaning that her entire being magnified God; it is not an action of herself but being elevated beyond herself through her share in the life of God. For the next few weeks, we will continue to look at this remarkable book and learn what it means to see through the eyes of the Gospel.

Discussion questions:

1) Archbishop Joseph writes "God's self-revelation is always present." In what ways do we see God revealed to us, whether obvious or subtle?

2) The first chapter emphasizes the thirst human beings have for God, even when this manifests itself in ways which are harmful. Where do we see this innate need for God in our lives or in the world today?

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