Bishop’s Peter Christmas Message

Thursday, 24 December 2015, 12:25
Christ is Born! We again celebrate the birth of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He was definitely born at the poor side of town, not even in a house, but in a stable, possibly the social equivalent of a garage. The Jesus story is not of a rich man or that of a man who worked within the social order. He preached very much in the spirit of his birthplace. He preached a message of love and compassion, of honesty and treating people with dignity.

A few weeks ago, we celebrated the story of St Nicholas. He defended the church against those who wanted to change it’s teaching. He also defended the poor and oppressed and those in need. Our church saw that we as a believing community need to re- consider how we present ourselves. We call this vision 2020. This has already been operating in our eparchy for several years now. It is a process of renewal. We as a believing community are in a process of renewal.

The founders of this eparchy built social structures and methods of preaching the word of God in ways which were suitable for them. We need to adapt to today’s age. We just had an eparchial sobor, where people from around the eparchy met. We discussed the issues that effect us, and looked at some solutions. This was followed by a patriarchal sobor of the whole church. Bishops , priests, clergy and lay people from around the world gathered in Kyiv. All the eparchies bought the results of the eparchial sobors to Kyiv. After that there was a synod of bishops, which looked at all these results. The eparchial sobor had resolutions, the patriarchal sobor had resolutions as did the synod of bishops. These resolutions are guide lines that will lead us to a more Christ centred renewal of the church.

This year we are looking in particular at the concept of stewardship. There is a booklet that is available to everyone soon about this. This is not just about money, actually finance is not the most important thing here. This is about using the gifts God gave you for the good of the community. To worthily meet our Lord, we should sanctify the pre-Nativity season in several ways. Sanctifying means spending our time in discovering the faith more, and in the serving God and in kindness towards our neighbour, especially those who are in need of our assistance. And we should think of what we would have been had Christ not come to us, as poor as we are in many ways. Together with the whole of the whole of our church we should try to meet Christ as he should be met. It is most appropriate that this exciting renewal meeting of the eparchy happened during the preparation for the nativity of our Lord period. We are ourselves as a church being re born and vitalised as a real community of believers. This is such an exciting period for all of us, the Spirit is walking amongst us, calling us to share our gifts with each other and in that way, go to salvation together. May the new born Jesus keep us in His care.

+Peter
Eparchy of Ss. Peter and Paul

Melbourne

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