Last Sunday, the second Sunday before Nativity, we celebrated all the forefathers of Christ—that is, everyone who worked to prepare the way for the coming Messiah. We praised the men who shone forth before and during the Old Covenant Law. We honored Adam, Abel, Seth, Enoch, Noah, Samson, Barak, Jephthah, Nathan, Eleazar, Josiah, Job, Samuel, David, Solomon, Elijah, and all the prophets, especially Daniel and the three holy youths. We sang to the holy women made ”strong in the days of old by the might of Your Strength, O Lord: Hannah, Judith, Deborah, Huldah, Jael, Esther, Sarah, Miriam, Rachel, Rebecca, and Ruth.” We sang of all the righteous of the Old Covenant times, men and women, Hebrews and non-Hebrews, who found life in God and ”will appear with Him in glory” when ”Christ who is our life appears” (Col. 3:4).
As Orthodox Christians, we conform ourselves to the Church’s apostolic understanding that man is a creature of time and space who sets about ‘redeeming the time’ (Eph. 5:16) and who is created to ‘fill and subdue the earth’ (Gen. 1:28). Thus, our salvation is not momentary but eternal. We do not simply think about Christ, nor does He simply ‘do’ something to us. We choose to desire to pursue Him; therefore we ‘deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him’ (Matthew 16:24).
During the Dormition fast each year, take time to reread the account of the Virgin Mary’s death and bodily assumption. It will touch your soul and energize you spiritually. And it is a great adventure! The Apostles find themselves caught up in clouds and whisked to Jerusalem from various continents where they are evangelizing.