About the middle of Vespers there comes a hymn which we call, “O Gladsome light” that is joy giving light, or “Fos ilaron”. It gives us joy. The the life-giving, the joy giving light, is of course, Jesus Christ. This hymn is so ancient, it’s about the most ancient of Christian hymns that we still have.
“I trust, that by God’s grace, I am being saved.” Salvation is a process, lifelong, but I can at least say, I trust by the divine compassion and mercy, I am being saved, but up to the gates of death, I have to go on repenting.
My individual salvation, is being worked out with fear and trembling, through the unique responsibilities God deemed best to set before me. Based upon the model of the Publican who beat his breast and begged for leniency, I’m careful to not assume I have a handle on the spiritual state of others. I would do best, rather, to stay focused on my own flagrant shortcomings, reverencing both friends and enemies, all of whom were created in God’s image as living icons of Christ Jesus.
For those who love Me, My love is like light and warmth, but to those who hate Me and close their eyes against My life, My love is like a consuming fire.
The first thing you will notice when you enter an Orthodox church is the iconostasis. The Iconostasis divides the worship space into two parts, the nave and the altar.
One of the most controversial topics in Christianity has been the question of the Atonement. That is, how are we saved? How did Christ’s death on the cross bring about our salvation?
It’s not like heaven and hell or two separate places and God decides where to send people. We decide for ourselves, one day at a time, one choice at a time
It means so much to us, but you may not think about this, before about a hundred years ago, light always meant fire. Anytime people would read the Bible and they come across a line about light, they would immediately think of fire.
There’s a word in the Greek New Testament that occurs over and over and over again. St. Paul uses it about 30 times, but it’s not in our English translations. The word is energeia, which means energy.
The more we can overcome sin in our lives, the more room there is for the light of Christ to spread