-Day 10: Creativity in the Church and in Missions--
Our Church is a Church that allows for great freedom. The treasure of the Fathers of the Church grants us courage to examine new problems and search for new solutions. Archbishop Anastasios notes that a “Revival of the Patristic way of thinking does not imply slavish imitation memorization or repetition. It signifies creativity, bold confrontation of life's emerging problems on the basis of a Christocentric view of the whole world and human being with the mind of Christ.” He goes on to note that “Much has been said and written about the amazing combination of the spirit of Christianity with that of the Classical Greek Civilization. This synthesis was successfully realized by the three hierarchs (St. Basil, St. Gregory, and St. John Chrysostom). This was a critical problem in their day and its solution required great daring, freedom from bias and clarity of spirit. Their final synthesis is not mere conciliation or compromise but the expression the Gospel in the philosophical and cultural language of their time. Indeed it is the salvation and baptism of the ancient civilization. Everything good, exalted, and beautiful achieved by human beings before the advent of Christ is assumed, purified and healed by the fathers who then place it in the service of the Incarnate Word of God. In this way, they saved and transformed incorporating it into the revealed truth. It is through this association and combination with Christianity, Greek philosophy is fulfilled. It ceases to be segmented. It no longer contains only grains of truth, but it becomes part of the whole truth which was revealed to humanity.”
This ethos of daring and freedom was not only for bygone eras, but is the very heart of Patristic thought. In another article, Archbishop Anastasios equates the past actions of the Church with the missionary activity we are commanded to fulfil in our current age. “Missionary activity is closely connected with the new problematic. In the past, when the Gospel entered a new cultural reality and a local Church was created, this same Church, during the process of her formation, adopted certain cultural elements, rejected others, and transformed others. In a similar way, even within the new contemporary culture, the process of forming the Church will have to move towards the world in a similar way: sometimes in "communion," sometimes in confrontation, and at other times, by attempting to give the world a new orientation." This process that the Archbishop examines must continue as we encounter new cultures and furthermore as the cultures we exist in are assaulted by secularism and materialism; as globalism morphs each culture into a new version of itself.
Today, let us reflect upon how we can enter into this vital ethos of the Fathers, this ethos that is the only way to truly radiate the message of the Gospel here, around us, and to the ends of the earth.