Thursday, August 19, 2010

Baptism: A Community Event- part 4 (by Clint)

This is a picture of Fr. Christopher Foley of Holy Cross Orthodox Church (OCA) in High Point, NC chrismating a parishioner. Fr. Christopher is the priest who received my family as catechumens over two years ago and is a very dear friend.

This is the final installment on this discussion of Baptism. The third part can be read here and the other two can be linked from the third post.

In both instances, it is evident that both Baptism and the Eucharist speak to the eternal salvation of the Church. Baptism leads to the image of Christ being placed into the Christians, while the Eucharist is the reception of Christ Himself. The two events are intricately tied together. It makes no sense to try to separate them, except for the purposes of discussion. They are part of one integrated whole that cannot be disunited. To do so would cause both to become less than what they should be.

While it may be common that this disunity is found in Orthodoxy today, the common Orthodox tradition is that they are united and wholly related to one another. Both speak to the life that comes from and through Christ. Both are an important part of the communion that man seeks to have with God. Both are heavily related to the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord. It is through these two sacraments that the Christian, and therefore the Church as a whole, is continually united to Christ.

So both Baptism and the Eucharist are ecclesial events, wherein the Church is united to Christ, maintains that unity and finds identity, existence and purpose. The Eucharist serves as a recommitment to the covenant between God and man that was entered into at Baptism. To lose the close relationship of the two events is to cheapen them both, causing their true meaning to be diminished. Regardless of any recent problems in this regard, the task of the Orthodox Church is to be the pillar and support of the Truth (1 Timothy 3:15). Knowledge of the connection between these two sacraments is important for individual Christians, because it is through that understanding that the strength of the whole Church is enhanced.

Here are the works that I used to develop these posts on Baptism:

Cabasilas, Nicholas. The Life in Christ. St. Vladimir’s: Crestwood, 1974.

Carlton, Clark. The Life: The Orthodox Doctrine of Salvation. Regina: Salisbury, MA, 2000.

Hapgood, Isabel Florence. Service Book of the Holy Orthodox-Catholic Apostolic Church, 7th ed. Antiochian Orthodox Christian Diocese: Englewood, NJ, 1996.

Kelly, J.N.D. Early Christian Doctrines. Harper Collins: San Francisco, 1978.

Kodell, Jerome. The Eucharist In The New Testament. The Liturgical Press: Collegeville, 1988.

Schmemann, Alexander. For the Life of the World. St. Vladimir’s: Crestwood, 1973.

Schmemann, Alexander. Of Water &The Spirit. St. Vladimir’s: Crestwood, 2000.

“The Didache.” The Apostolic Fathers, 2nd ed. Ed. Michael W. Holmes, Trs. J.B. Lightfoot and J.R. Harmer. Baker: Grand Rapids, 1989.

Ware, Timothy. The Orthodox Church. Penguin: London, 1997.

Zizioulas, John D. Being as Communion. St. Vladimir’s: Crestwood, 2002.


charlene said...

Thans for the series and for the bibliography. Any change you might write a bit about chrismation sometime?

Clint said...

Hey Charlene,

Perhaps. I am actually recycling some St. Stephen's stuff for these, but I might get into Chrismation at some point.

Or Fr. James could address it...