“And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new…’” – Revelation 21:5
Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ,
In Greek mythology, the Phoenix was a creature which died and was continuously reborn in its ashes. Associated with the sun, the phoenix came to symbolize creation’s endurance, perseverance, and life from death, and is where the expression to “rise from the ashes” comes from.
In the Book of Revelation, we read about how at the Lord’s Second Coming, He will transform everything into a different creation, a heavenly kingdom on earth. As Orthodox, we believe that this will be a renewal for all of creation, including nature itself. When partaking of the sacraments, we encounter a taste of the kingdom that is to come, as the Holy Spirit works to transform what is created into something new. At every baptism service, the priest prays the words “that they might be a partaker in Christ’s death and resurrection,” acknowledging that there will be a transformation that will take place. Like the phoenix legend, which birthed life out of death, so too, does the Lord, but in a much greater way!
As we enter this New Year, let us prepare to celebrate the feast of the Lord’s baptism, Epiphany, knowing that through Him, we have been made new! The fullness of that transformation is to come, but as members of the Church, Christ’s body, the beginning of that renewal has already taken place. The same prayers that are prayed at baptism are also prayed at the blessing of the waters every January, giving us a continual taste of that rebirth that is to come in the last days.
May we enter this new year full of hope in eternal life, knowing that the Lord, truly, makes “all things new.”
Happy New Year! Καλη Χρονια!
With love in Christ,
Fr. Niko Bekris