Every Sunday and many weekdays during the course of the year, Orthodox faithful throughout the world gather for a “Divine work of the people”. We know it as a Divine Liturgy. Divine, of course refers to God and the word “liturgy” comes from two Greek words, “litos”, meaning “people” and “ergo”, meaning “work”. This Divine and human communion is the essence of life for Christians, referencing the relationship between God and humans. God gives to us all that we have and we gather to offer thanks to Him for His gifts of life, love and sustenance. The central act of this worship is the Eucharist or Holy Communion. The word “Eucharist” in fact is from the Greek word, “evharistia’, which literally means, “thanksgiving”. This giving and thanking is circular in nature providing for a constant flow of love in relationship between God and us. It is kind of like a liturgical dance between the Bridegroom (our Lord) and His bride (the Church).
This month of January, we will focus our Religious Education Ministry on the theme, “The Divine Liturgy”. On Sunday, January 8, we will invite students from Church School, their teachers, parents and other adults into the sanctuary at the regular time for Church School (9am). We will then have a presentation for all about the Divine Liturgy. The Liturgy that day will be a teaching Liturgy. This theme will be then focused on in Church School and Adult Discussion for the remainder of the month.
The essential characteristic of the “Divine work of the people” for us is worship, since it is through worship that we approach God. Sunday, the Lord’s Day (Kyriaki), is also the first day of the week. This worship provides for us the proper context for the beginning of our week with God. It then sets the tone for how we live our lives weekly, daily, even moment by moment. We live our lives in a constant flow of thanksgiving in relationship with God. EVERYTHING we do, EVERY moment we live, EVERY breath we take is with God in mind. That is how God has created us, to be in constant communion with Him.
As we begin this New Year of 2006, let us begin in worship and thanksgiving. The new year, the new month, the new day, the new minute, the new second are all about God. Be it therefore resolved that we live our total lives as a thanksgiving offering to Him — in worship, in school, in work and in play — let EVERYTHING in our lives be “A Divine work of the people”.
Services for Holy Theophany (Epiphany) will be held on January 5th and 6th, as are scheduled on the January calendar. If anyone would like to schedule a house or business blessing, please contact Fr. Evan or myself.
On behalf of Fr. Paul, Fr. Evan, our staff, our Parish Council, Philoptochos and Ministry Teams, may our Good and Loving Lord bless you and your loved ones with a most beautiful and Spirit-filled 2006. Kali Chronia!