The Orthodox Christian faith ultimately encompasses the entire counsel of God for eternity. The faithful will never fully understand the essence of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, nor in this life the many aspects of His plan exhaustively. We worship the Lord with wonder and awe in the Mystery of the Faith. The Lord will guide us into all the Truth with the divine energies we possess by virtue of our union and communion in Him- our daily Bread- as well as with the insights He sees we need to proceed with each day. The Kingdom of God is within us, now. Through our Lord Jesus Christ and His Body the Church we experience the Fullness to the degree that we have prepared ourselves to do so.
The following three verses, which really should be read in their larger context, speak to the Fullness:
“For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell.” (St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians 1:19)
“And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” (St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians 1:22-23)
“And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.” (St. John 1:16)
Our God has raised up for us loving Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, as guides for us as we seek this fullness. They are living icons of Christ, centrally in the Divine Liturgy, in which we receive the Body and Blood of Christ and experience the Kingdom of God, and throughout or days as we seek to share this joy with those we encounter in our daily lives. We are the light of the world.
But fallen in sin, we also seek healing and restoration to the Divine Likeness through recognition of our inner poverty, by mourning, by confession to our spiritual fathers, and by repentance and amendment of life in the Divine power of our absolution and in the communion in Christ’s body and blood. This personal focus is central for Orthodox Christians. As the chief of sinners, I am to focus first on taking the beam out of my own eye, which is all the bad attitudes by which I survey the world as I hold onto the vestiges of my fallen life. “O Lord make haste to help me; O God make haste to deliver me!” (Psalm 70:1) Salvation is a gift, and also a process.
Arms Open Wide focuses on stories and resources for persons with disability, which is one aspect of life among many others. As an aspect, it is not the fullness. If I would focus all my efforts completely on this resource page and living its focused message I would be a heretic, for “heresy” comes from a Greek word meaning only “part of the truth.”
Nevertheless our Lord Jesus Himself directed His disciples to go only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel. This was their mission for that moment. Christ became human, dwelling bodily in a finite material form. Through the Most Holy Theotokos, the Virgin Mary, the Infinite sojourned in a limited space. This is a great Mystery.
And since we the people of Christ’s Body the Church, which is His fullness, also sojourn in a limited space, we do “our part” where we are, with the gifts He has bestowed upon us, even as we participate, without fully understanding it, in the great Mystery of the Fullness of God.
I the writer and you the readers are taking a moment to focus on Orthodox Christian resources for persons with disability, hopefully, within this fullness, keeping in perspective the place of this aspect in the Fullness of God. The chief resource for doing this, again, is our God, Who shepherds us through His loving Bishops, Priests, and Deacons.
As St. John the Theologian wrote, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” Even good things can become idols when taken out of perspective-even our service projects.
Forgive me, everyone, especially my beloved Lord Jesus, if anything on this weblog has served to distort the Fullness of our Faith. In truth, much of what is written is my apprehension of the Truth as it should be; my own life fails to match the words. I write of socialization as one who longs for full, healthy socialization, and for deification in Christ. But I have a long way to go. And so how can the words be adequate to the Truth? Forgive me.
That said, let us all seek with all our hearts to dwell and rejoice in the fullness of Christ and His Church, and consider, act, and enjoy all things in the Light of His Fullness.
Read here what Father Stephen has to say about The Fullness of the Faith at Glory to God for All Things: http://fatherstephen.wordpress.com/2009/08/04/the-fullness-of-faith/