Joined together in Christ

Have you ever watched your priest or deacon use his censer? Do you watch where he censes? He censes the altar, and he blesses the holy things. He censes the icons, and we remember the saints in the pictures. He censes the people, and we remember that we want to be like the saints too.

When the priest or deacon censes the whole church, we remember that we are all one body, one church. We have differences, but we are all one church.

We hear the same thing in the epistle reading today. Our Lord, Jesus Christ came to bring us together, to bring us to Him in heaven! Saint Paul writes in the epistle today, “You are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God.” In Jesus, we are all “joined together and grow into a holy temple in the Lord.”  The church is one body together.

The saints who have already died are together with us as a church. We are all one body together. We are all joined together and we grow into a holy temple in the Lord.

So, the next time you see your priest or deacon censing, watch! You’ll remember that he is censing one church body. You’ll remember that we are all joined together to grow into a holy temple in the Lord.

THE ENTRANCE INTO THE TEMPLE: THE THEOTOKOS GIVES HER LIFE TO GOD

Have you ever been to a baptism (that you can remember)? Or maybe you’ve seen a little baby being brought to the church for the first time when he was only 40 days old? You might remember how special these services are. A little child begins his life in our holy Church!

This week, we celebrate one of the 12 great feasts of our Orthodox Church. On this day, we remember when Mary, the Theotokos, entered the temple. She lived there until she was engaged to Joseph. And not too long after that, baby Jesus was born to her!

On this day too, we remember how Mary began her life, close to God. And she lived her whole life close to God. Even now, she is close to God in heaven.

When you were brought to the church to be baptized, your parents wanted you to be close to God. They prayed for you to be close to God not just on that day, but for all your life! Of course, you don’t have to live on the church grounds to dedicate your life to God. You can try to make good choices that God is happy with too. Let’s use the Theotokos as our example, and always stay close to God and His holy Church!

We celebrate this great feastday on Tuesday, Nov. 21st (Dec. 4th, OC).

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