Living the Feasts of our Lord in Daily Life

“Every step of our Christian life is inseparably related to the fundamental dogmas of our Faith”.[1] There are two ways you can live the Lords feasts daily. The first is living the feasts through the Church’s Liturgical Calendar. The second is living the feasts through participation in Liturgy. It is not just the actual Divine Liturgy, but the act of being in Liturgy daily. Living the feasts of our Lord in our daily life is a choice because it calls us to live what the Church is celebrating. The feasts and celebrations are not just remembrances, but an active participation in the events, the same with the Liturgy. You may think this is an extreme or fundamentalist thought, but to live the feasts of our Lord daily, we must first accept that our lives must be shaped by the Church and its beliefs.

 

Liturgy is life and all of life is liturgical. When we come to the understanding of that, we carry out every day as a Feast for the Lord. We can look to all the fasts the church offers us with thanksgiving. For example, fasts on Wednesdays and Fridays: we get to practice fasting and self-control in the remembrance of the Lord’s betrayal on Wednesday and His crucifixion on Friday. By fasting these days, we live this memory and relate it to our own lives—we remember that we betray our Lord when we sin, and on a weekly basis, and we fast for that. We participate in the events of the Lord Christ when we keep the fasts of the church. Then, we meet together for the Divine Liturgy on Sunday to live in the Resurrection of our Lord.  The annunciation feast is celebrated when the priest prays, “and in the last days You manifested yourself to us who were sitting in darkness and the shadow of death.”[2] When the priest prays, “was incarnate and became man, and taught us the ways of salvation”, we celebrate the Lord’s Incarnation.  We then move to the Theophany: “He granted us the birth from on high through water and Spirit”; further in the prayer, we say, “He loved his own who are in the world, and, as a ransom on our behalf, gave Himself up unto death”, which is Holy Week, and then Bright Saturday: “He descended into Hades through the Cross”. Finally, we pray, “He rose from the dead on the third day” for the resurrection, and for the Ascension, “He ascended into the heavens and sat at your right hand, O Father”. Participating in the Divine Liturgy is living the feasts daily.

 

When we keep the Liturgical calendar, and celebrate its fast and feasts and entrench our lives in the Church, we will then enjoy the presence of God in our life daily. The Coptic Church calendar is arranged in a way that the believer will experience the whole life of Christ throughout their year. When we participate in the Church Calendar, fast all of the fasts, and celebrate all the feasts, we are able to walk side by side with our Lord Jesus Christ in all the experiences of His Life. Our Life then becomes a cohesive experience with Christ and his feasts become our feasts and our feasts are intertwined and blessed by Him.  A common issue that we see with our families and friends is that we celebrate Christ’s birth with the world, then celebrate it later with the Church.  By doing this, we celebrate the Lord’s Feast of Nativity, while still fasting in preparation for His coming. How do we celebrate the birth of Christ on two days? How can we celebrate on the 25th when the Church calls us to celebrate on the 7th? We say in the liturgy for the feast of Nativity in the Hymn of “E-parthenos” , “TODAY the virgin gives birth to the Supreme Essence and the earth offers the manger to the unapproachable”. In order to experience the journey of the Liturgical Calendar, our life needs to revolve around it.

 

The Church as the Body of Christ, of which (we) the baptized are members, is the foremost experience of true human life, because true human life means to live in the image of God-in-the-Trinity and to live in communion with one another. When we relive the events in the life of Christ, of the Virgin Mary, of the Saints and of the Church, these events are reminders of salvific experiences in our lives.” At the Nativity of Christ, we are reminded that we are partakers of the divine nature because of Christ’s humanity; at Transfiguration, we are called to be Transfigured; at the Feast of the Cross, we are reminded that we too died with Christ in the waters of baptism that we may be raised with him; at the Annunciation, we are reminded of the call to choose Christ which we answered; at Pentecost, we are reminded of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on us at our Chrismation; at each and every Eucharistic service, we are reminded of the Eucharist we took when we became members of the Church. Not only are these things from the past that we remember or meditate on, they are events that we participate in anew each and every time we celebrate them, if only we are receptive.

 

A feast is a celebration of a joyous act and from the very beginning Christianity has been the proclamation of joy. Joy is not something that can be defined or analyzed, as the Gospel teaches us, “Enter in the joy of your lord”[3], and there is no way of understanding it except through one central action and that is the very fulfillment of joy: the Eucharist. The Eucharist is a liturgy. Fr. Alexander Schmemann defines liturgy as “an action by which a group of people become something corporately which they had not been as a mere collection of individuals.”[4] When we participate in the Liturgy, we transform ourselves from being just individuals to being the Body of Christ. The Eucharist is the entrance of the Church into the Joy of its Lord. It is a true feast. When we choose to live the Lord’s feasts daily it is a choice to live a liturgical life.

 

In conclusion, living the Feasts of our Lord in our daily life requires of us a few things. It requires us to accept and adhere to the church cannons and fasts, because the Church is our Joy. It also requires us to live our liturgy and not just be participants in the Liturgy. It requires all our motions, thoughts and conception of Joy in our lives to be centered around Christ. When we gather together with our families and pray over a meal, it is a liturgy. When we are with our friends at a gathering, it is up to us to make it a liturgical and beneficial setting. When the liturgy and the Church become the center of our lives, the Feasts and the Joy of the Lord will be something we experience daily.

[1] Walker, “Living Orthodoxy in the Modern World”

[2] Divine Liturgy of St. Basil

[3] Matthew 25:21

[4] Schmemann, “For the Life of the World” , 34

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>