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Homily for 11/14/10 - P25 - One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism

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  • Fr David Moser
    Ephesians 4:1-6 We live in many different communities. We live in the community of our neighborhood, or in our city or region. We live in the community of our
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 14, 2010
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      Ephesians 4:1-6

      We live in many different communities. We live in the community of our
      neighborhood, or in our city or region. We live in the community of our
      friends, that is those with similar interests. We live in the community
      of our school or work, along with our classmates or coworkers. There are
      a multitude of “communities” to which we belong. This is not at all
      surprising since we as human beings are social creatures, we were meant
      live not as solitary individuals but in union with others. This need to
      live in a society or community reflects the nature of our soul – we were
      created to live in union with others. When we read the account of the
      creation of the world in the scripture, we are told that after God had
      created Adam, He saw that it was not good for man to be alone and so
      created Eve, the woman, from Adam’s own body and substance to be his
      partner and she shared his need and desire to live in a community for it
      was part of Adam’s very being. From the very first we were meant to live
      in community with others. However, even this moment of creation reflects
      for us the more important fact that our communal nature is given to us
      by God in our creation as a part of His image. God lives in an eternal
      community, the unity of the communion of the Trinity, the Father, Son
      and Holy Spirit. Certainly it would be foolish to speak of God’s “need”
      to live in community, rather it is His very nature to be in communion.
      The unity of the Holy Trinity is so perfect that it is impossible to
      distinguish between the three Persons and at the same time it is
      impossible to confuse them with one another. Because God is in His
      nature a perfect union and communion of persons, He created us with the
      same nature, the same drive, to live in union and communion with others
      – first of all with Himself. (We cannot share the same divine nature and
      essence as God for He is the Creator and we are the created, but we can
      share in His divine energies and in this way live in union and communion
      with Him.) God created us as a community of creatures and has called us
      to live together as a communion of persons, joined not only by location
      or interest or nationality or circumstance, but joined together at an
      essential level as one entity. This entity is the Church, the Body of
      Christ.

      Therefore we hear in the epistle today that we, as Christians, are
      called to live “according to the calling to which [we] are called” and
      thus to “keep the unity of the Spirit”. The Apostle goes on to reinforce
      that there is only one true union saying that there is “one body and one
      Spirit, … one hope … one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism; one God and
      Father of all…” By the work of the “one Spirit” that is the Holy Spirit,
      we are knit together into one Body, that is the Body of Christ, the
      Church. As members of this one Body we are united under one Lord, Jesus
      Christ, Who is not only our Master but Who through the incarnation also
      shares our earthly nature which He took as His own and perfected,
      opening for us the path to that same perfection that we might live in
      union and communion with Him as He lives in union and communion with the
      Father and the Holy Spirit and so through Him we can taste of the life
      of the Trinity. We are united also in one faith – that is the Orthodox
      Faith which is not a religion or philosophy or system of living or club
      to which we are members, but rather it is the self-revelation of God
      which is communicated to man first through the Incarnation and passed on
      by the witness of the Apostles. This is the “one faith” that is without
      change or error not because it is a well crafted system of thought, but
      because it is the embodiment and life of the One Who is, in His own
      essence, Truth. Through our “one faith” we learn how to order our own
      lives that we might share in the life of the One Who is Himself Life.

      We are initiated into this one Body by being born into it. You cannot
      just follow a certain set of rules, or send in an application and
      entrance fee to become part of the Body of Christ. You can’t just pay
      your dues and abide by a certain charter to be part of the Church. You
      can’t simply act the part and hope to share in the life of Christ. In
      order to obtain the Life of Christ, in order to become part of the Body
      of Christ, you must be born into it. This birth – or rather rebirth for
      the Gospel says we must be “born again” – is given to us through the
      sacrament of Baptism and is maintained in us through the other
      sacraments of the Church. For this reason we not only confess One Lord
      and one faith, but also one baptism. Through the sacrament of Baptism we
      are born anew, this time not into the world but instead into the life of
      Christ. We are joined not to a worldly body, but to the eternal Body of
      Christ. We are filled not with mortal life which ends and passes away,
      but with the eternal Life of God. There are many “baptisms” in this
      world, but there is only one true Baptism which gives us life – and that
      is the sacrament of Baptism which we find within the Church. Having
      given us His life in Baptism, our Lord Jesus Christ then unites us with
      Himself on a spiritual level by sending to us the Holy Spirit. We are
      filled with the Holy Spirit and sealed by Him into the life of Christ in
      the sacrament of Chrismation which follows immediately on Baptism. In
      Baptism we are given the life of Christ and so are given the ability to
      live in union with Him. In Chrismation we are joined to Jesus Christ and
      through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit we now commune with Him.
      Through the sacraments of Baptism and Chrismation we now are brought
      into union and communion with Jesus Christ and through Him we share in
      the communion of the Trinity.

      However, we know that when a child is born and united with his family,
      that life that he has must be maintained. Indeed the same is true of the
      one who is born into the life of Christ. To maintain our life we are
      given other sacraments, especially the sacrament of the Most Holy Body
      and Most Precious Blood of Christ. It is through this sacrament that the
      life of Christ in us is fed and nourished and renewed. Just as it is
      necessary to maintain the life of our physical body by eating food, so
      also it is necessary to maintain the Life of Christ in us by receiving
      the nourishment of the Holy Communion on a regular basis.

      When we are ill, we go to a physician who can diagnose our ailment and
      give us medicine and course of therapy by which we can recover our
      health. The same thing happens spiritually for we are afflicted, through
      our fallen nature, with the illness of sin. When this illness manifests
      itself in us our spiritual life is compromised and threatened. Therefore
      it is necessary to go regularly to the spiritual physician seeking help.
      This remedy from the sickness of sin and death is given to us in the
      sacrament of Confession or Repentance. The spiritual physician to whom
      we can go is the priest, our confessor, who by the grace of God given
      him in his ordination, hears the sins we confess and gives us
      instruction in how to amend our lives to counteract the effects of those
      sins. He then also prays for us asking for the grace of God to descend
      upon us and through forgiveness and absolution of sin heals the wounds
      that those sins have inflicted upon the soul.

      In the same way we are given the other sacraments, blessings and helps
      within the Church so that the Life of Christ in us might be strengthened
      and maintained and shaped that we might grow and mature in that divine Life.

      All of this is given to us – one Lord, one faith, one baptism – in order
      that we might live in the union and communion with the One God and
      Father of us all. This is the purpose for which we were created, this is
      “our calling with which we are called”. God created us to live not in
      worldly communities but in the divine community with Himself. We are
      made to live in union and communion with our One God and Father which is
      accomplished by being joined to the Body of Christ, living under the
      rule and direction of one Lord, according to the one faith, born into
      that life in the one baptism and nourished in it by all the sacraments.
      This is our life, this is our calling, this is our destiny to live in
      union and communion with our Lord Jesus Christ and through Him to taste
      of the Life of the Holy Trinity.

      --
      Archpriest David Moser
      St Seraphim of Sarov Orthodox Church (ROCOR)
      Homilies: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/propoved/
      Website: http://stseraphimboise.org
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