Of all the expressions in Christianity, obedience is maybe the most misunderstood. It is rejected by many as a demeaning subservience, or misused by others as an excuse for the abuse of power. Sadly in Church life these misunderstandings happen because Jesus Christ has been excluded from obedience’s context. Not only as the focus for obedience (Lk. 4:8), but also as the example of obedience, “even as the Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mt. 20:28).
As we begin this month, we are given the feast of the Meeting of the Lord in the Temple. In this event the Lord Himself the Lawgiver of His people Israel, “comes not to destroy the Law but to fulfill it” (Matt 5:17). Having taken upon Himself our nature, broken since humanities disobedience. He restores it by making Himself obedient to all the ordinances of the Law. He makes Himself the humble and poorest of us all and subservient to the Law, which He has given us, showing us that the way to reconciliation with God is through obedience.
This is something to consider as we make our preparation for the Fast (the Triodion), taking this time to ask ourselves, who are we are obedient to? It is our passions, and the pleasures of this age and its obligations that distract us from serving the Lord and each other? Or is it to the Lord who desires that we participate with Him in his eternal victory over death and evil, and be heirs of the Kingdom?
This month, let us commit ourselves to “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus” (Ph. 2:12) through our willingness to be obedient to His love and mercy, out of His love and mercy, and for His love and mercy. And by it receive in our lives “Your salvation which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples” (Lk. 2:30-31), His incarnate son Jesus Christ.