UNITY OF HEAVEN AND EARTH
“Let us who mystically represent the cherubim and sing the Thrice-holy Hymn to the life-giving Trinity, now lay aside all cares of life, that we may receive the King of all, escorted invisibly by ranks of angels. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.” (Cherubic Hymn, Byzantine Divine Liturgy)
Heaven and earth intermingling. That’s what Christianity is all about. We experience and express this unity of heaven and earth in a particularly concentrated manner at Liturgy, when we liken ourselves to the heavenly powers and sing about them. Just as they sing about us, on the very first day of Christ’s appearance among us, at His birth: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among people of good will (ἐν ἀνθρώποις εὐδοκίας).” (Lk 2:14)
It is He, the God-Man, Who unifies the earthly and the heavenly, in His incarnation. He brings all of it, and all of us, together in His human-divine Person. He overcomes my self-isolation, my tendency to close in on the self, in self-reliance and self-centeredness, and re-unites me with Creator and all creation, in Himself. This bringing together of all, this bringing back of the previously-separated, is ultimately what we are celebrating in His coming, on the upcoming feast of the Nativity. It is also what we celebrate at every Divine Liturgy: re-uniting in Him.
So today, once again, let me “lay aside all cares of life,” unburdening myself of self-centeredness, and “receive the King of all, escorted invisibly by ranks of angels,” – and visibly by all of us. Glory be to Him.