Christmas letter from Father Tom
“Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Word of God, of His boundless love,
became who we are, that He might make us what he Himself is.”
St. Irenaeus of Lyons (130-200), “Adversus Haereses V.
St. Athanasius of Alexandria, writing over 100 years later, famously paraphrased St. Irenaeus: “God became human so that humanity might become divine.” This is beautiful, positive, moving theology, and it is the heart of our Orthodox Faith. But if we truly realize what it means to us and for us, it should leave us shaken and awe-struck. Because this is not just exalted theology; it is a radical – even shocking – reality. God, in the Person of His divine Word, becomes a partaker of all we endure as humans: birth; pain; poverty; friendship; human love; bereavement; sorrow, temptation, being hated, slandered, and humiliated; being betrayed, abandoned, and denounced – everything - including finally a terrifying death.
This is the radical extent of God’s love. To endure our humanity in order to save it from despair and ultimate death. He is ‘God-with-us’ – Emmanuel present in all we humanly endure. He is present to us, never abandoning us. But this has to be a ‘face to face’ encounter. We must also be present to Him if we are to share His divine life.
We encounter the Father in and with Jesus Christ in our liturgical services. We remain present to Him in prayer. We put this participation in divine life into action by serving others, and especially those in great need or distress. This is the transforming life we try to live at SS Cyril and Methodius: worship of thanksgiving, humble prayer, and service to others. The feasts of the Lord’s Birth and Theophany provide a perfect occasion to dedicate or rededicate ourselves to this life of God with us and in us.
I am so thankful to my parishioners who have accepted my ministry here with all its flaws for over 33 years. And as a parish we are deeply grateful to all our loving friends near and far who continue to support and encourage us. Once again, we look to all of you to help us to do the work of God’s People – ‘leitourgia’ – here. God bless and keep all of you. And thank you.
CHRIST IS BORN! CHRIST IS AMONG US!
Father Thomas Mueller
Tuesday – Saturday, 12/19-23 - Prefestal Vespers 6pm
Sunday, 12/24: Liturgy 9:30am; Christmas Vigil 6pm
Monday, 12/25: BIRTH OF THE LORD – Liturgy 10am
Theophany services, 1/5 – 6/18
Parish Christmas/Theophany Party after Liturgy 1/7/18