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Updated: Jan 15, 2023

When someone is being baptized in The Episcopal Church, they are asked this question, “Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?”

The candidate then says, “I will with God’s help.”

This covenant we enter recognizes the abiding presence of the Christ within all people. We are to seek this indwelling presence of the holy in every person and serve them as Christ himself. This isn’t easy but it is what Christ asks of us when he tells us that the two greatest commandments are to love God and love your neighbor as yourself.

What if we took this idea seriously – that within us is something of the Divine. Wouldn’t we treat ourselves with more kindness – with reverence? And how might we seek this presence in our neighbor? Maybe by looking beyond their behavior and into their True Self or soul, which is always mysteriously intermingled with Divine Love.

Our Eastern Orthodox Christian brothers and sisters use the word Theotokos for Mary, Mother of God. But the real meaning of Theotokos is God Bearer. Mary was the original God Bearer as she carried this holy child in her womb. But what if we all are Christ Bearers? What if we all have something of the divine within our being? We would then be God Bearers also.

In this Advent season of waiting – anticipating the miracle of God incarnating – let us prepare our hearts. Let us empty ourselves of the burdens that come between us and God. How might you let go of shame, or anger, or pain so that the peace of God which passes all understanding might be born into your heart this holy season? Let us make way within ourselves for greater compassion, greater love, greater peace. Maybe the time has come to release some of the grip the past has on your heart so that you can receive the joy of God’s indwelling.

“Abide in me as I abide in you.” John 15:4.

With the awareness of God dwelling within comes the awareness that you are never alone. May this season bring you deeper into the truth of who you are and may you feel God’s love within you and be God’s love for those around you.

The Reverend Sister Greta Ronningen, CDL

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