We hope that everyone enjoyed our Holy Week and Bright Week services despite the on-going social distancing. With that, we return to our Eyes of the Gospel series.
Archbishop Joseph notes that among the most abused words in our language are "love" and "God." Many people claim to believe to disbelieve in something or someone called "God" which usually turns out to be different entirely from the God of the Gospel: the "God" that many believe in takes the form of a capricious being, or an impersonal type of "magic," or a cosmic enabler telling us everything we want to hear, or a cosmic tyrant opposing his will to our own. In a sense, so-called "atheists" are right to reject these ideas of God: they range from being silly to evil, and in any case they do not accurately represent the God of Christianity.
Despite the popular phrase "God is dead," we believe in the living God-- as a result, and as Archbishop Joseph notes, the Gospel of Jesus Christ cannot be a static text. God is not, as many over the centuries have erroneously believed, an object of knowledge, but a Person who we encounter and live alongside. Imagine if you tried to have a relationship with another human by reading books about them but never spending any time with them! You could know every detail about someone but never really know them in any meaningful sense.
Appropriately for this Paschal season, the Church has continually described its relationship with God in these terms: Behold, the Bridegroom is coming in the middle of the night: blessed is the servant He shall find awake! Again and again in Scripture and in our hymnography and services we see God represented to us properly; that is, relationally and personally.
As Archbishop Joseph writes:
"For Christians, the measure of their holiness is not good works alone. It is much more the measure of the acceptance of the love of God and of the answer to his invitation. The more we listen to this invitation, the more we become like God. When we become like God, when we abandon ourselves entirely to God, God accomplishes in us all the miracles of his love. He is the One who acts, who moves and inspires. In Him, we become strong and powerful....God died on a cross so that we might live in the Resurrection. Real life is the encounter of the Lover. This encounter is realized in Christ."