The return of the transformers

The Evangelical Orthodox Church realized very early that there is a tension, an energy, between the things that change and the things that do not. It realized early that, for the Christian testimony to remain the same; it must change. The saying of fr. Alexander Schmemann “the Church must change to remain the same” is in a way our core “slogan”. It is not our slogan because it sounds good and kind of paradoxical, even though that is true. It is our “slogan” because Jesus Himself is the Metamorphosis Symbol of what this paradox entail.

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Monarch Butterfly emerging from it’s chrysalis

It does not mean that we change into something else. It does not mean that we become static and jaded. It entails that Jesus, in His resurrection, transformed us with Himself into the person we were intended to be. The change that happens to us is a restoration, a return to our “unchanged” origin before the fall as it were. Death does not have the final word but has become a doorway into life eternal. We change (i.e die) to resurrect into  who we are supposed to be. As a part of His body we are apart of His resurrection in the most real possible way, every day. The resurrection is evidence of the continuous  transformation and restoration of the whole world, the metamorphosis that is taking place everywhere. The transformation within our heart.

Life abundant is now the default mode rather then just “getting by” until we die. Life is possible once more. And life is found where there is energy. Energy is found where there is tension. Tension is found where there is proximity. And proximity is found where there is covenant. So let us be true to both our name, Holy Covenant Evangelical Orthodox Church and our borrowed “slogan”, they are both expressions that re-minds us of the transformation, the metamorphosis that is taking place in our lives right now because of Christ’s resurrection.

 

Christ is risen from the dead. Trampling down death by death and on those in the tomb bestowing life!

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The Superman

Yesterday I found myself in a place where I haven’t been for a while. I found myself in a somewhat engaging discussion. A good discussion. A discussion that flows back and forth, a conversation where you really wish to prove a point :). I can be somewhat of an instigator, triggering loud defenses and emotional apologetics. I try to prove my point by manner of realism (proper) and holistic approach. Yesterdays conversation was about if it is naive or not to always believe in a non violent solution to conflict. I thought it to be naive (and still kind of do) and my conversation partner did not. My main argument, from a realistic perspective, is that a non violent solution to every conflict only works in theory, in our dreams. To believe in it is naive because history shows us that more often than not, no violence is punished with more violence. The suffering increases rather than reduce. I do, off course believe in non violence in principle. I have this desire, to be able to think and believe that it is not naive. That non violence can overcome violence. That conflicts can be solved through words rather than weapons. That we can rewrite history in the future. I pray and wish this, but it seems like the reality of fallen humanity has put a strain on my wishes. The “grown up man in me” has seen reality and stopped to dream to a certain degree. I find no strength in a naive approach. But then I realized today, after some reflection; If we do not dream and believe (to believe can be very naive) then we never will have a chance for implementing anything. It is our dreams, goals and believes (naive or not) that move us into action (many times wrong action however).

If we never dreamed about flying we probably would not fly today. If we never dreamed about a peaceful world more people would probably suffer. It is ironic how secular society has “dreamed up” all those solutions and products with divine attributes and purposes given that a big part of society denies the existence of the Divine. We dream about eternal life, supporting the dream with anti age lotions but we deny the reality of it. We dream about strong, beautiful bodies, supporting the dream with superhero movie productions and excercise, but we deny the ultimate healing of our body. We dream about justice and peace, support the dream through law enforcement, but deny the reality of ultimate justice. We dream about gaining more wisdom, support the dream with studying at university, but we deny the presence of ultimate Wisdom. In secular society, Divinity is everywhere, it’s just that we made divinity commonplace by misusing it. Secular society is a result of over usage and abuse rather than “gained knowledge about reality”. We do not see the wonder of a laughing child anymore. Our “grown up knowledge” has made us cynical and unthankful. We do not recognize the small miracles taken place everywhere any more. We have “defined” and “explained” our reality to the degree of robbing ourselves of any wonder or marvel. We are jaded. Is this why children has a VIP line into heaven maybe? Do they still see the small wonders of this world? Are they still fascinated by seeing a seed turning into a plant or a salmon jumping upstream in the river? I think they are, if we alow them so spend some time with the wonders of this world (instead of sitting in front of a screen, simulating real colors… whatever…!)

I do believe that down deep within every single one of us, there is a remnant of that child that dared to dream (even if it was naive). Buried deep down in our soul is this desire of finding our “Superman within”. A desire to bring peace to the world. To offer healing and help to the weak. This notion that justice will be given to the afflicted and that the world is beautiful. It’s there, deep down within. It is covered by 6 feet of dirt. It is covered by jadedness, abuses done to us, bad TV, thousands of commercials saying that we have to look and do better. Covered by cynicism, by denial of the simple and true.

My dream is that you would reconnect with that notion and desire. There is resurrection to anything or anyone that is dead and has been buried. One made the journey below and He rose again. Put your trust in Him (even if it seems naive) and He will connect you to your “Superman” or rather, to true humanity once again.

In Christ,

Fr. Jakob

Morning has broken!

Easter is here! The season of the East. Where the sun rises above the horizon. The light comes from this direction every single new morning. The light plays with the properties and materials of the earth and color is brought forth. Shapes are displayed. Temperature and therefore life increases as the rays moves forward. The energy moves faster in the heat. Turning to the fast rising sun with our face we no longer see our own shadow. The shadow of the west is diminishing. The cold standstill of absolute zero temperatures (when all materials and life stands still) is not permanent. With heat (Fire) new movement is always possible. There is always a new morning possible for the ones who choose to believe. For the one who longs to be in the Light, in the presence of the Son. The time of darkness, when we sleep, or do activities we want to be covered by darkness, is over. The night has passed and a new day is here!

I find it pretty interesting that we are exposed to this procession of light everyday. We wake up from sleep every morning. This awesome mystery of life-giving heat and light, granted to us in a perfect balance of time, temperature and pressure. Yet, we sometimes are blind to its splendour and perfect harmony. We take it for granted because we think life to be an ordinary thing. But science, as well as religion will tell you that life is no ordinary thing. The circumstance and perfect balance required of everything physical and biological for life to happen is staggering. All the processes that needs to be in balance for life to spring forth is mind-blowing. From a scientific, logical, rational and probable perspective, life should not be happening. This tiny planet in the vast universe should not, really, be blue and full of life. It should be like other bodies and planets of the universe, dead. We breathe air into our lungs everyday and we think that is “common” or “our right.” We take life for granted (and complain when it is interrupted).

But divine Wisdom breaths life into human “knowledge”. The Divine desired more life. Divine Light can not be contained by anything we or Darkness possess. It springs forth wherever He desires It to spring forth not where we “would allow” It to spring forth. The grave, the standstill, darkness and death could not contain Him because those things are contrary to His will and nature. Death is not what Life desired, hence it power must be broken. It is a law of nature just like gravity just that more severe. So, we have this planet here, Earth full with life, rather than not.

We tend to think that small probability is a reason not to believe. We tend to think that rising from the dead is something that “can not happen”. It is to extraordinary to even believe, we think. But if you take a close look at yourself and the world you will see that your own self is a result of “springing out of nothingness”. Your life is a result of extraordinary events, processes and timing. You should (from a probability perspective) not exist. Yet you do. Our earth should not be in existence, really, it could not, be in existence if we approach it with reason only. Yet, it is here.

Rising from the dead is an extraordinary event for the ones that has been dead. Hence faith becomes the “connection” to the greater realities  of our life. But for God, rising from the dead is a natural consequence of Who He Is.

I would dare to say that if you believe that you actually exist, the logical (yet mysterious) conclusion would be that this is because the Light wanted you to. God wanted you to, He wanted it so much that He would even expel and defeat darkness. So I encourage you to live a life that displays and spreads life and light. Share this mysterious (and logical) feast of the resurrection and Easter!

In Christ,

Fr. Jakob