People of God
Chosen, Commissioned, Promised
The Mother of God with the Church of her Son (Kursk Icon)
Key Facts and Ideas
Christians have a continuous history going back beyond Christ a further 2000 years. This was the age of covenants, of promises made by God to a chosen people, a people called to be faithful to the Lord as his witnesses upon earth. Through trials and broken covenants the people of God endured occupation, exile and the disintegration of their national and spiritual lives. This was no overwhelming success story, but God had a plan to sort out humankind's problems and failures for good. In the fullness of time, at the right time, (Greek: kairos), he would come Himself, born of a woman and fully sharing our human life, [Galatians 4:4]. The Jews indeed anticipated the coming Messiah and some realised that somehow or another God would have to be directly involved.
Christians call this coming of God as Man the Incarnation, meaning that the Word of God became flesh in the Person of Jesus Christ, true God and true Man (Nicene Creed). Christ came to destroy death and usher in a new era in human history, the era of the Kingdom of God. However, Christ did not come with brute force. God always respects our freedom and before he could come he required the assent of his Mother to be, the Virgin Mary. She consented and the Incarnation happened.
What is frequently neglected in our understanding
of God's coming though is Mary's background. I don't just mean her
upbringing, childhood and formative experiences, important though these
were. There is more to it than this. In Mary we see the best
flowering of nearly 2000 years patient waiting, praying and working on
behalf of the righteous of the earlier covenants. We on the other
hand live in a culture where everything considered worthwhile has to
happen now, without delay. Most of the time this immediate
gratification is with things that neither satisfy nor endure. How
extraordinary that God should wait on a 2000 year process and that his
friends, the People of God, should wait that time as well!
Good things happen according to God's timescale not ours. As his chosen people need to share this long term view with patience, confident that by the End God will indeed accomplish his purpose.
In what practical ways can I learn to live patiently by the promises of God to his People of whom I am part?
1. The People of God - an Orthodox Perspective by George Papademetriou
2. The Old Testament regarding the Messiah by Bishop Alexander Mileant
3. Salvation as a Process in Time by Fr. Gregory Hallam
Your Own Questions Answered Here