THAT WHICH UNITES US
“One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
one God and Father of all.” (Ephesians 4:5-6
Baptized Orthodox Christians collectively constitute the whole Body of Christ – the Church!. One of the characteristics of the Body is that it is single, one and united. Just as there are not two Christs, and there cannot be any divisions among us for there are not two churches, and Christ is the Head of one Body. When we confess our faith, we say, “I believe in one God,” “ in one Lord Jesus Christ,” “in one holy catholic and apostolic Church,” “in one baptism for the remission of sins.” Before Jesus Christ came into the world when the idea of many gods was prevalent among most men. Christ revealed to us the one God in three persons, Trinity in unity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and He founded one Church to unite all men into unity with one God.
Our existence as the Church which Christ founded, shows all men that we have one faith and one Lord, united together as one in the one holy Church. We understand and proclaim the one God, in three persons, one in nature, one in essence, Trinity in unity, Father Son and Holy Spirit. We glorify God the Logos, who is one of the Trinity, born of the Virgin as our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Christ came into the world, to save the world by His sacrifice on the Cross. He died and rose from the dead in His glorious resurrection and we go through a death and resurrection in holy Baptism. Plunged into the water, we put to death sin and the devil and we die with Christ, and coming up out of the water we rise into His glorious resurrection.
Our old sinful nature has been destroyed in the waters of baptism from which we emerged as new men, and with Christ as our teacher and example we enter the arena to struggle as members of the Church to become glorious with our Head, and we will spread His glory to all the world. Our lives then change into being filled with gladness we rejoice when going to sleep and awakening and in both work and relaxation. We rejoice in both fasts and feasts and we attend services as frequently as possible, struggling to live a godly life filled with faith, hope and happiness, living our lives as the Lord intended.
The bonds that unite us are stronger than any other bond. The stars of the heavens are not bonded to each other by stronger bonds, nor is water to the earth or fire to the air. How strong is our unity having the same true faith, having been baptised into the same baptism, as one Church we worship the one God and Creator of all and we all believe and confess the same truths. This special unity places a great responsibility upon each member of the Church. We must all share and embrace the same faith in Jesus Christ our Savior, our Teacher and our Lord. We must all spread the true faith and our Lord gave a firm command that we must confess Him before men, saying: “Whoever confesses me before men, him will I confess before the Father in heaven.” Believing is just a beginning for we must strive to save others by telling them or confessing our own salvation
We need spiritual food to do the work of Christ which is provided by the Church. The food is reading the Gospels and Epistles and the Bible both Old and New Testaments. Also we need to stimulate our faith and zeal by the accounts of the saints and martyrs. The Mystery of Holy Communion, the Eucharist, is vital to commune with fear of God, faith and love for this is precious and fills us with our Lord himself!
A special Prayer:
“Lord Jesus Christ, our sweet and gracious Lord, how closely are you bound to us, for our eternal good! Sustain us we pray you in this bond. To you be glory and praise for ever. Amen."
Frequently when gathered together the Church addresses the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ with the prayer which Christ endowed to us: “Our Father who are in the heavens, hallowed be your name ; your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our essential bread and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.”
If anyone does not experience the oneness of Christian unity, and the oneness and the wonder which the Church is, it shows a need to become united closer to the Head of the Church, for our unity is our ever-increasing faith in Jesus Christ the Son of God. In the Church the unity is not being one of many but being one with all members united in oneness in Jesus Christ.