Psalm: 8, 84
Gospel: John 7:14-31
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from a letter of St. Ignatius of Antioch

Yet you have made them a little lower than God,*
and crowned them with glory and honour.
You have given them dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under their feet,
all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas. (Psalm 84:6-8)

I honestly can’t read this Scripture passage without this song going on in my head:

As stewards of creation and as the only species with the ability to manipulate our environment at will, human beings are given a gift beyond even the angels. To become sons and daughters of God.

If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, I know I have used that language of adoption as children almost ad nauseum.

The reason for that is because I tend to follow the strain of theology which says that our whole life is a journey towards imitation of God, of living into our true nature, which is ultimately reflections of Jesus Christ himself.

This emphasis on theosis (or of gradually being made holy) is much more popular in Eastern Orthodox theology. For them, the choice to follow Jesus is a personal commitment to becoming continually better.

In the Western church–especially in light of the Protestant Reformation–the focus of attention shifted to the idea of total depravity and the attitude that (no matter what) there is nothing we can ever do right…and we are utterly dependent on God.

While dependence on God is still very much a part of Orthodoxy, it is never at the expense of free will. After all, the very fact that Christ has come into the world and gave us new life through the Cross and empty tomb means that we are not simply a redeemed people……but entirely new creatures ….free to choose to follow God, or to turn our back on Him.

I pray that as we journey forward with Christ, we use our free will not to forge blades and bring our brother down….but to build bridges and ladders that foster reconciliation….and an ever-forward movement to the one we call Our Father ❤ +

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