I’ve never done this before. Deal with an estate of someone who has passed, I mean. I’ve never had to do this before and yet in the span of a few months, I’ve had to deal with two estates! One, of course is the estate of my father who passed suddenly in October of last year. And the other is an estate of a member of our parish who had made the parish the benefactor of his will.
Neither estate was huge, but the amount of paperwork, the legalities, the red tape, was amazing to me. Like I said, I’d never had to deal with this before. I tell you what it did teach me, though: Make sure you have a will!
Did you know Jesus had a will for when He died? Yep, and guess who is named as the beneficiary!
Look at our lesson today in Colossians 1:12-18:
BRETHREN, we give thanks to the Father who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities – all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.
St. Paul is encouraging his faithful at Colosse to embrace the awesome invitation Jesus offers to everyone, and it has everything to do with just what the Lord left us in His will! Look at St. Paul’s use of past tense and present tense as he describes what God the Father offers us because of His Son, our Lord Jesus:
- The Father HAS Qualified Us – Jesus has made it possible for you and me to share in the blessed life of the saints Because He IS that Life and He gives us Himself as our Inheritance.
- The Father HAS Delivered Us – The Father has set us free from the darkness of confusion and wandering and wondering about which path to take in life. His Light, His Son now makes clear our confusion and the chaos of darkness.
- The Father HAS Transferred Us – The Father has changed our citizenship from the kingdom of death to the Kingdom of His Beloved Son, the kingdom of LIFE!
Allowing this “inheritance” to inform my actions and priorities is difficult in a world where all the messages about who I am have more to do with shaping my self identity around fame or fortune or education or some accomplishment. That too small identity just leaves me a citizen of darkness, and that is not necessary. If I stay a slave to darkness after all the Father has accomplished for me, then my darkness is self imposed.
So, how do we reverse this sad state of affair of being made a citizen of Light, but remaining stuck in darkness?
Will it surprise you to hear that the answer to liberating myself from this self imposed darkness is liturgy, fasting, spiritual disciplines, and a rule of prayer? You see the whole of our Orthodox Faith is designed by the Holy Spirit to acclimate us to the Kingdom of Light, which is our true inheritance because of Christ. We have to retrain our souls to see God everywhere, to get use to the Light, to actually press out just what this new Life offered to us really looks like. So, the Holy Spirit gives us a rhythm of prayers, worship, icons, vestments, incense, hymns, fastings, feastings, and so on to break the cycle of slavery and retrain our lives for freedom.
Today, are you just going to leave your inheritance unopened and potential, or are you willing to jump into the inheritance won for you by embracing the paradox of spiritual disciplines lead you to freedom? By a daily practice of the Faith through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving you embrace the joy of being Orthodox on Purpose!