Pastoral Letter December 31, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Christ is Born!
Glorify Him!

I fervently pray that the joy and warmth of the Nativity filled your homes and your hearts with Christ’s love. He has entered into our world and our human condition in order that we may enter into His Kingdom and eternal life. God and man are indiscernibly intertwined from above and mutually existent from below. We are one, as He is Three. The lines are now blurred between the Creator and the created in that the Creator, Himself has taken on flesh and dwells among us. God is great and human kind is redeemed. Christmas stories of sugar plumbs and elves and blizzards are mere ornaments on the Tree of Truth: Jesus Christ, born of a virgin, crucified for our salvation, resurrected from the tomb, coming again to judge the living and the dead. Merry Christmas!

Now, but a few days past the celebration of the Nativity, we fast-forward our doctrinal attention, some thirty years after His mysterious Birth. Next week, we celebrate His Baptism. His Epiphany. Our Theophany; when the Trinitarian God is experienced and witnessed in all glory. When Christ, now a grown man, steps into the waters of the Jordan, all material reality is transformed and enlightened. In His birth, He became One with man. In His Baptism, He becomes One with creation. Even the Waters recognized Him, as the flow of the Jordan River reversed its flow in the presense of Jesus.

God, in His mercy, and the Church, in Her wisdom, grants us the sustaining opportunity to participate in the miraculous powers of Theophany. The Blessing of the Waters services in the Orthodox Church are the continuing reality of God’s revelation of physical transformation through enlightenment, sacredness and holiness. As we participate in these services, and have our homes blessed with the Waters of Sanctification; the Waters of Christ’s holy Baptism, we participate in the perpetual regeneration of transfigured life.

Through the Baptism of Christ, the Trinity is reveled to us.
Through the Baptism of Christ, darkness is replaced by luminous guides.
Through the Baptism of Christ, the environment becomes sacred and connected to our very salvation.
Through the Baptism of Christ, He reveals the way in which we become cleansed, purified and born of the Spirit.
Through the Baptism of Christ, water sustains the eternal soul, not only the temporal flesh.
Through the Baptism of Christ, we receive countless blessings of healing, wellness and sanctification.

Christmas has passed. The anticipation of the New Year is upon us, as we celebrate the Circumcision of our Lord on January 1st. Next Saturday, January 6th is Holy Theophany and the Great Blessing of the Waters. There are no prayers, authored from the collective heart of Orthodox Christianity, more powerfully written than those of Holy Theophany. Please review the schedule of services that anticipate and celebrated this sacred Feast. Holy Theophany is a gift. A gift from above. A gift to be treasured. A gift that illumines. A gift that sustains.

With Much Love in Christ,
Fr. Anthony

I look forward to seeing everyone for our Family Night Pre New Year’s Eve Party, this evening, Friday, December 29th at 7:00 pm in the Fellowship Hall. Fun for everyone! The Ball will drop at 10:00 pm (midnight in New York) to symbolically usher in the New Year! Happy New Year’s Eve-Eve-Eve!