SOME IMPORTANT TEACHINGS OF EVERY DIVINE LITURGY
At the completion of the Doxology, raising the Gospel the Priest dynamically proclaims:
“Blessed is the kingdom of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and for ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.”
At this moment, invisibly angels gather to celebrate together with us in every church throughout the world. This is indeed a glorious moment where heaven comes down to earth!
CONCERNING THE TWO KINGDOMS
It is the Kingdom of the Father, Son and holy Spirit that is blessed, for in it are sanctified all who desire to be saved and brought to eternal life. We are blessed to belong to this kingdom. Kings domains are called kingdoms. Jesus Christ is the King of the Orthodox Christians, the King of kings and the Lord of lords, and His domain to which we belong and live is the “Kingdom of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” This is not a worldly kingdom, as Christ says: “My kingdom is not of this world.” There is another kingdom which stands in direct opposition to the spiritual kingdom. It has various names. Among them are, the kingdom of darkness, the kingdom of this world, and the kingdom of Satan, This kingdom wages war against the kingdom of heaven and all its members. We become members of the Kingdom of Christ through Baptism and Chrismation, wherein we die to the old man and live to the new man, Christ! We remain members when we follow and keep Christ’s commandments. We receive heavenly food and drink in the Church, which provides us with the strength to do good only good works.
“For the peace of the world, for the well-being of the holy churches of God and the union of all. Let us pray to the Lord.”
As Orthodox Christians we seek to live in peace as much as possible, for our desire is that there be tranquility among nations and peoples. “For the well being of the holy churches of God and the union of all is exclusive. It refers only to the “holy” churches of God, those inhabited by the Holy Spirit, and called Orthodox. It is not possibly for this to be a prayer for unity with heresies and those outside the Church, as some foolishly say, but refers to the union of the ‘holy’ orthodox churches of God, having the same mind.
“Commemorating our most holy, pure, most blessed and glorious maiden Theotokos and Ever-virgin Mary with all the Saints, let us commend ourselves and one another and all our lives to Christ our God.”
Christ commanded us: “Honor your father and mother”. He greatly honors His Father in heaven and His Mother on earth, and we must do the same. We pray to “Our Father who art in heavens . . .” We need the intercession and help of the Theotokos and the Saints, for our prayers to reach the heights of heaven .“Let us commend ourselves and one another and all our lives to Christ our God. We are not our own for we were purchased with a great price by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. If Christ is not the center of our lives, if He is not our King, our God, our Savior, prayer will be of no benefit, for we must approach Christ in ever deepening faith. Christ should become the center of our personal universe!
The great entrance takes place with the intoning of the beautiful Cherubic Hymn, which arouses both angels and men to honor the offerings, as they solemnly sing hymns to God. The offered bread, wine and water carried by the Priest is escorted to the sacrificial altar by the ever present and bright con-celebrating angels
"We who mystically represent the Cherubim and who sing the thrice holy hymn to the life-creating Trinity; let us lay aside all cares of this life, that we may receive the King of all. Invisibly borne by the angelic hosts. Alleluia.”
The Cherubic hymn calls for us to forget everything else except the moment, to raise our souls, by joining the Priest and the angels, by taking our souls out of this world into the kingdom of heaven wherein dwells the Lord and the Theotokos, the righteous and saints, the prophets and martyrs, the Cherubim and Seraphim and Thrones.
To derive benefit, the faithful must eliminate worldly thoughts and think only of divine and heavenly. Things which enables us to welcome and greet the King of all, who is invisibly with us, ns will be with us unto the close of the ages. We prepare to witness and take part in the mystery of mystery of mysteries, for Christ comes to be slain and give himself to the faithful as food. These events are taking place before our eyes. The Son and Logos is being sacrificed on Golgotha, as the original sacrifice is perpetuated in time.
“That we may complete the remainder of our lives in peace and repentance, let us ask of the Lord”
What is the “remainder of our lives?” We have no way of knowing for life is unpredictable, nor do we know now how soon we may be called to account. For this reason, what remains of our life should be dedicated to Jesus Christ, our future Judge.
“That the end of our lives may be Christian, without pain, blameless and peaceful, and for a good apology at the fearful judgment seat of Christ, let us ask of the Lord.”
We hear this prayer regarding the ends of our lives every time there is a Divine Liturgy, and it reminds us of the great need of an apology for our time on earth and how we spent it, for it is not our own, but is loaned to us by our Lord. It is not a matter of “if” but when we will be required to give an account of our life on earth. After death comes judgment! There is only one good death which is dying with the faith and love of Christ on our lips and engraved in our hearts, and for this we must continuously ask the Lord.
THE SACRED CREED
I believe in one God the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all ages. Light of Light, True God of True God, begotten not made, co-essential with the Father through whom all things were made. Who for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, and became man. And was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried, and rose on the third day according to the Scriptures. And ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father. And He shall come again in glory to judge the living and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end. And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, and giver of Life who proceeds from the Father, who together with the Father and the Holy Spirit is adored and glorified; who spoke through the Prophets. In One Holy Catholic and apostolic Church. I confess one baptism for the remission of sins. I look to the resurrection of the dead and life in the world to come. Amen.
The Sacred Creed uses the term one repeatedly, declaring one God, one Lord, one Church, one baptism. I believe in one God, Father Almighty. The one God, Creator of heaven and earth, has revealed himself to us. We witnessed the Trinity in the Jordan /River on Theophany, when God revealed Himself to mankind. He is the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Trinity, one in essence and undivided. The Father alone is unoriginate, the Son is being born eternally of the Father, and the Spirit is eternally proceeding from the Father.
And in One Lord Jesus Christ; He is the Son of God who became the Son of man. He is the one and only Head of the Church. He is the one Logos incarnate. The Godman in two natures, divine and human, He is the perfect Image and Likeness of God the man which mankind should look to as his own perfection.
I confess one baptism for remission of sins. There is only one Baptism that actually enlightens the soul, which is fulfilled by three complete immersions in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There can never be another grace-filled baptism anywhere for baptism contains not only matter but is also divine. We are actually immersed into the death of Christ and are raised in the font into His glorious Resurrection.
In one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church; Our belief in one single Church eliminates all those outside, who need to abandon their countless errors and enter the true Church through faith and baptism for their salvation and remission of sins. The term “sister churches” can never refer to those outside the Church. Orthodoxy stands as a powerful beacon showing mankind the path of salvation and the only way to life. This is the golden truth of divine Orthodoxy, which radiate the light of Christ being the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church!