St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

April 2002

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Fr. Antony PortraitChrist is in our midst! He is and ever shall be!

Come unto me all ye that labor
and are weighed down with burdens,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me
for I am gentle and humble of heart
and you shall find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

We are issued an invitation to enter into the gracious life of God by the One who has the power to share it. God does not so much issue commands as He invites. The Incarnation, suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ show us concretely who God is and what He desires for us. He did not send a mere man to die on the Cross, He came Himself. He did not choose a righteous man among many to suffer the torment of the Cross. He came Himself to bear the sins and death that afflict His beloved creation by laying His life down for us all. That is why we know that God is love. If you love someone, then you will bear their sorrows with them and even for them if possible. A god who keeps himself aloof from his creation is not a loving god. A hidden god who sends divine proclamations from an ivory tower is not a loving god. We do not serve a selfish and disinterested deity. We serve the God who was born for our sake, lived for our sake, suffered and died for our sake and was raised again on the third day for our sake because His love knows no bounds.

How can our hearts and minds grasp this great mystery? We certainly cannot figure it out with our limited human reason, but we can experience its power all the same. So, He calls to us, "Come unto me..." All that remains is that we accept His invitation.

As Holy Pascha draws near and Great Lent fades away, let us all reexamine our lives in the light of the Truth of God's infinite love. "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me..." Listen, pray, listen! "Draw near to God while He is near." Take the risk of believing, lay down your burdens and come close. Allow God to enter your daily existence and, like yeast in a loaf, your whole existence will begin to be transformed.

May the Unoriginate Father, the Co-Eternal Son, and the All-Holy, Good and Lifegiving Spirit lead you and guide you to everlasting life, now and ever and unto all ages. Amen.

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Antony