Younger Son came to talk to me the other night while I was working on setting up this blog. He saw the picture on the header and said “Hey, that’s you!” I asked him how he knew it was me and he said, “That’s your ring!” (this one notices everything).
I received the ring over 20 years ago when I began to serve the Lutheran Church as an Associate in Ministry. I've worn the ring all these years as a reminder of that day and of the nature of my work, and also to remind me of my Christian calling to a life of “faith, hope, and love,” - a calling which belongs to all Christians from the day of their baptisms.
I contemplated taking the ring off before my Chrismation, but decided instead to leave it on. It continues to be a reminder of my calling to the Christian life, but more than this, it has also become an important reminder for me to be grateful for my former fellowship … grateful to God for the gift of the church in which I received baptism, and which nurtured me for the first half of my life – grateful for the church which led me to the Orthodox faith. So I continue to wear the ring.
On the same day the picture on the blog header was taken, I received another such reminder. This one is not worn on my hand, where it is visible, but around my neck and under my clothing, where it's not visible. Though I can't see it, I am always conscious of it. It, too, is a reminder to me of who and whose I am, but it's also a reminder that a life in Christ is a calling to take up our own crosses and follow.
"Why do we wear a cross?
The Cross is the first and greatest Christian sacred object. When the priest sanctifies water, he immerses the Cross in it, and the water becomes holy. When we wear the Cross on our breast, our body constantly touches it, and from this touch it, too, is sanctified …
… One ought not to look upon the Cross as some kind of jewelry like a bracelet or brooch. The Cross must adorn our soul and not our clothing, and must constantly remind us that we are Orthodox Christians, called to live according to our faith, which is founded on the Savior's sufferings on the Cross."
I'll say more about this later ...