Reflection on the New Church Year

Canadian Orthodox Messenger

Reflection on the New Church Year

By Father Gregory Scratch

The word “today” is used numerous times by Christ in the gospel to emphasize the imperative of His work, actions and their consequences. Whether it is within His parables, or in the proclamation of His victory, the Lord uses this word to change the here and now to the divine and everlasting.

In the Beginning

It is as if the Divine claims the present and passing, not simply as a time stamp in history, but rather the revelation of the everlasting Kingdom where there is no fear or anxiety of a unknown tomorrow. With the beginning of a new church year (September 1) the curch offers to us the whole of the next 365 days as being the Lord’s “today”.

“Today is the beginning of our salvation” (Troparion of the Annunciation).  Our salvation consists in the fact that God became man, that we, as broken and mortal as we are, might reign with Him and become gods  (Jn. 10:34). “Today” salvation has come to our homes as it did for the repentant Zacchaeus (Lk. 19:9). “Today” the scriptures have been fulfilled and the Lord heals and mends our broken hearts, bodies, and nature (Lk. 4:21). And “today” we can be with the Lord in paradise (Lk. 23:43), having died in the waters of baptism and being raised with Him in newness of life, by the Holy Spirit. Our lives in Christ make us people of this “today”.

This Christian realization of this eternal “today” and the blessings, joy and love it brings, is dependent upon marking each “today” we live with the confession that the Lord has come to save us now. It is in this context that despite our mundane and  simple lives, the Lord of Glory, the Maker of all things, comes specifically to save us as if there was no tomorrow.

A new church year, a new school year, a new work cycle, and a new harvest present us with an opportunity for us to offer these coming days to Christ. For they are not simply new cycles of nature, commerce or culture, that pass away with each tick of the clock, but the guarantee that the Lord is working and acting to save humanity, to save you and me, right here and now, today.

May this year and our work truly help us in the comprehension of this mystery.