What do we offer God?
This past Sunday marked the commemoration of the ‘Myrrh-Bearing women,’ the remembrance of these faithful servants of God who placed all their trust in the Lord. They did so by visiting His tomb, offering fragrant spices, not only as a funeral practice, but fundamentally as gifts and expressions of their bold love for Christ. Saints Joseph and Nicodemus are also commemorated on this day. They (as well as the myrrh-bearing women) sought God, they had this boldness of faith; they requested the Lord’s body from Pontius Pilate and trusted that He would indeed rise from the dead. They would then dedicate themselves to the preaching and living-out of this joyful and eternal news.
How can this passage impact our lives, as young Orthodox Christians?
First of all, the notion of gifts and the act of offering are central to our self-understanding as Christians. Our offerings and gifts should be twofold: to God and to fellow people. We as Christians, are called to offer, albeit in simple ways, acts of worship and appreciation, as our two-way relationship with Him is a ‘synergy,’ a personal communion. As a community of believers we of course offer bread and wine, which then become, by the invocation of the Holy Spirit, the Lord’s body and blood. On a personal level our own expression of worship could be a humble prayer, the sign of the cross, the lighting of candles or incense. Our appreciation and love of God is fundamentally expressed in acts of material, spiritual or psychological support to our neighbour in need. As Saint Basil writes, ‘A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.’ (Read his work ‘On Social Justice’)
There is also a direct link between the myrrh-bearer’s boldness of faith and the fact they were the first witnesses to the Risen Christ, consequently becoming His first disciples. Our boldness of faith and our trust in Him, thus, lead to a greater presence of Christ in our lives. We can be assured, through this passage, that with our humble efforts of offering, we will also experience His presence and Resurrection, within the life of His Church.
Another factor we should surely take into account is the fact these faithful servants of God were predominantly women. They were His first disciples and proclaimers of the good news, making them ‘Apostles to the Apostles.’ Our Christian tradition, particularly through the greatest example of dedication and obedience to God – the ever-Virgin Mary, truly respects women, their role, their vital contribution and importance within the Church and society.
Beloved friends, Christ was crucified for all of mankind and invites us all to rise with Him in this life and in eternity. A way in which we can truly unite with God is by boldly offering Him, like the myrrh-bearing women, our prayers, our worship, our philanthropy and love as gifts, awaiting the revelation of the Risen Christ in our own lives.
Christ is Risen!
What do we offer God?