Friday, August 6, 2010

The Green Feast

Dear Parish Faithful,

I would like to greet everyone on this glorious Feast Day of the Lord's Transfiguration.

We served and celebrated a wonderful Vesperal Liturgy yesterday evening for the Feast. Today, August 6, we continue in the light of that Feast. The truly excellent parish participation and presence contributed greatly to the festal atmosphere and beauty of the Liturgy. In other words, many people came to worship; and so the Feast was a communal event, and not simply a formal obligation dictated by the Church calendar. Blessing the fruit baskets toward the end of the Liturgy is always a joyous rite that is followed by the fellowship of sharing from each other's basket.

Someone remarked to me that the Feast of the Transfiguration is Orthodoxy's "Green Feast." This is an effective and contemporary way of expressing a genuine Orthodox Christian "environmentalism" that is beautifully manifested in the Transfiguration. This Feast anticipates and points toward the glorification of all creation at the end of time. Then, God will be "all in all" and the uncreated light of the Holy Trinity will illuminate the renewed creation that is now "groaning" as it awaits its liberation (ROM. 8). In a mysterious manner, all of creation will dwell in "light unapproachable." It is in the above-mentioned blessing of the fruit that this "cosmological dimension" is revealed, however humbly those colorful fruit baskets appear to our eyes.

Unfortunately, talk of the "environment" has been hopelessly politicized in our public discourse. One's position on the environment has almost become a code word for a particular political/social orientation. If you want to start a heated debate, just mention "global-warming" or "climate change" in front of someone who has a different perspective than your own! Such polarization is deeply regrettable. But no matter where each of us may stand on contemporary environmentalism, surely every Orthodox Christian has some appreciation and sense of responsibility for the creation. We are "stewards" of the world around us, according to Gen. 1. And it is God's creation that is also drawn into the Transfiguration. So this is our "Green Feast," meaning that we rejoice in the created realm, we assume responsibility for its proper care, and we anticipate the God-chosen time when "the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God." (ROM. 8:21)

In Christ,

Fr. Steven

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