Sunday, February 1, 2015

Theology is, for the Fathers of the Orthodox Church, all about love.

A young man called me recently to discuss his family’s movement toward the Orthodox
Church. He told me a priceless story about how his seven-year old daughter helped him and
his wife understand an Orthodox practice that is often a hindrance to inquirers. Although the
family had icons in their home they could not grasp the reason for the practice of venerating
(kissing) them. One evening after prayers with his daughter she looked at the icon in her
room and asked, “Who is on those pictures, Daddy?”
He replied, “The Virgin Mary and Jesus.”
She picked up the icon, kissed it and hugged it to her chest exclaiming, “Oh, daddy, they love
you so much!”
“Then,” he told me, “We understood. It’s all about affection.”
Love, in fact, is the heart and soul of the theology of the early Church Fathers and of the
Orthodox Church. The Fathers of the Church—East and West—in the early centuries shared
the same perspective: humanity longs for liberation from the tyranny of death, sin, corruption
and the devil which is only possible through the Life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Only the compassionate advent of God in the flesh could accomplish our salvation, because
only He could conquer these enemies of humanity. It is impossible for Orthodoxy to imagine
life outside the all-encompassing love and grace of the God who came Himself to rescue His
fallen creation

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