Cause and effect.

annunciationMost of us are acquainted with the concept of  “cause and effect”, the notion that one action inevitably changes the state, context, or condition of something independent of itself.

We see this in everything: sports, politics, relationships, science, and the daily routines of life. And to one degree or another, these causes will all leave their mark, even if the “effect” is lost in history. We, as Orthodox Christians, see our whole existence affected by the divine cause, the love of the Father for humanity, through the Son and by the Holy Spirit: a life in the Holy Trinity.

The Lord acts to save us, and no matter how broken and sinful we might be, His love breaks through time and space to heal, and reclaim us from evil and death. This is the divine act; the ultimate “cause” meant to “affect” a humanity that having turned its back on God chose death and not life. It is the Incarnation of our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ,  “the beginning of our Salvation, the revelation of the eternal mystery…” (Troparion of the Annunciation)

By the Lord’s saving Incarnation, He becomes like us in every way, except sin. And by this profound demonstration of love, the divine “cause”, He affects every aspect of life: love, relationships, and work. Jesus Christ takes that mortal and finite matter of our nature and creation, assumes it totally without confusion, and makes it and creation holy as the Lord is holy. At His glorious Ascension, He brings it into eternity to reign at the right hand of the Father, and He pours out His Spirit on all flesh at His Pentecost.

Yet, despite the profound ramifications of the blessed event of the Incarnation, we find ourselves inclined to make inert and limited the totality of this event. We tend to do this  the moment it interferes with what we think the “effect” should be (or more to the point, what we want to be affected).

It is a blessing that as we consider the Incarnation in the feast of the Annunciation of Gabriel to the Virgin Mary, we find ourselves in the midst of Great Lent, preparing for the Lord’s saving passion, death, and resurrection on the third day.

Great Lent is a season during which, through increased fasting, praying, reading of the scriptures, almsgiving and good works, we strive to put our trust in God. Commending to Him our brokenness, passions, fears, and anxieties. All those things that inhibit our relationship with the Lord of Glory, so that we can realize the divine effect of a life in Christ.

The effect of that love is real, divine and eternal, changing our body and soul together. This love is offered eternally by a God who loved us first. This is the divine cause for which on bended knee we offer thanksgiving.