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2014-07-06 message

posted Jul 6, 2014, 9:15 AM by St. John's Webmaster   [ updated Jul 6, 2014, 9:15 AM ]

The arrival of a newborn is a spiritual event. At conception, the parents become, in a small measure, co-participants in God’s work of creation. At birth, they receive in their care a person who is distinct from them, yet who, at that particular moment and for many moments thereafter, is entirely dependent on them. That dependence brings with it the great responsibility of bringing the child up in the best way that the parents can. For us, as Orthodox Christians, that also means handing down – traditioning, if you will – the faith from one generation to the next. Our salvation is linked with the salvation of our children, in the case of godparents also with that of the godchildren, and in the case of priests with that of their parishioners. It is not an absolute link in that we are not responsible for the choices that others make. Still, the connection between our salvation and that of those around us (and, in the case of parents, godparents, and priests the responsibility of teaching the faith that goes with it) is something that needs to be often in our minds.

There is one other aspect of a birth that I would like to mention. The dependency of a newborn upon someone else is ground for a different kind of reflection. As we mature, grow, learn, develop our abilities, earn our own money, acquire various things, the idea of independence is something that comes up often. Yet, absolute independence is not only a bad thing, but also an impossible one. Not only is our salvation not an individual matter, as I mentioned above, but however much things change through life, one thing remains constant: our dependence on God.

Of course, this reflection was brought about by the birth of Symeon David, but I hope and pray that all of us be mindful of the communal nature of our salvation.

With love in Christ,
+Fr. Peter