The Church is Alive! Indeed it is!
Despite what reporters claim based on national and international surveys, regardless of impressions, some might want to create, notwithstanding the ongoing secularization of the world, the Body of Christ – His Holy Church – is Alive.
Go out and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19).
A priest I knew once and a mentor of mine said that the greatest fear of modern times is that Jesus actually meant what He said. And right there in the Gospel according to Holy Evangelist Matthew, He gave us our marching orders.
Here’s the truth: at baptism, you and I are given a mission. This is our baptismal call. We are all entrusted with a sacred purpose to do for others in Christ’s name.
Our mission is to take the many gifts that God has entrusted to us and build his kingdom on earth. The primary gift we are given is the love of the Holy Spirit. That love sanctifies us as we share it with others.
The word “mission” means “sent.” To be on mission is to know that, with the love of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, we are to live each day as bearers of the Gospel. A mission is always a movement toward others and for others.
As announced by Metropolitan Antony, the Strategic Plan of the Church is a planning initiative designed to help us discover how best to be on mission in this present moment of the church.
At our baptism, we received a number of powerful gifts from the Holy Spirit to equip us for this mission. The first of these are the virtues of faith, hope, and charity, which unite us to God directly. These virtues enable us to make a heroic difference as people of grace. We become
a gift to others.
We are called to be an anointing upon the world. This is expressed by charity, the radical gift of self. We can love in this way because we have hope in the promises of God. And we have hope because we have faith in God’s mercy.
At our baptism, we were also given the gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, knowledge, understanding, counsel, reverence, piety and courage. Each of these enables us to serve others in making God known. Often it seems that our world has lost all sense of the sacred. The gifts of the Holy Spirit make us a means for people to encounter the sacred.
Each of us is also gifted with “charismata” designated for a specific purpose. The Holy Spirit empowers each of us to build up the body of Christ in some special manner. Some of these gifts are teaching, prophecy, healing, administration, leadership, mercy, etc. What are your gifts and how might God be calling you to serve the Living Church of Christ – our Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA?
This is the question we are asking ourselves together – every member of this Metropolia during this time of prayer and study of our Strategic Plan of the UOC of the USA. What gifts has God given to you and me, and how can we use them to advance the mission of Jesus Christ?
Do you believe you have a mission from Jesus? As a bishop of the Church, I want you to believe this. It is a mission to “learn Christ, love Christ and live Christ.” We are to live out our baptismal call of love in whatever ways the Holy Spirit leads us.
And that puts us on our “mission from God.”
By the Grace of God your bishop and brother in the Lord