The Sanskrit word 'namaste' is a common greeting which all use. The King addresses his subjects in this manner, the king addresses God in this manner, subjects address their social seniors in this manner, subjects address their social downcast members in this manner--everyone does namaste.
The word is pronounced, Namasthay.
*Another form of the word is 'Namaskaar'.
When we greet someone by saying Namaste!, we are saying, "I bow to the divine in you". This is an acknowledgment that we are all children of God, that we are made in the image of God, that we are spirit -- and that our social standing for this lifetime is temporary, but that we are respected for who we are in eternity -- spirit children of One God.
This is the preferred form of greeting in Church of the East.
When we combine the greeting with the greeting gesture of holding the palms together and lifting the finger tips to touch the sixth (brow chakra), we are symbolizing: Bringing together Yin and Yang, becoming one, we acknowledge the goal of life as being single in the spirit, becoming in union with the Spirit. There is a whole theology and way of life built into the greeting.
See the extensive treatment of 'Namaste' on the Library Preview site
The rite of initiation is the primary rite of the church. It combines seven holy Sacraments into one occasion - once in a devotee's lifetime.
Initiation marks the devotee's entry to, and access to that circle in the Church where the secrets of the becoming-in-Christ (Gk. Gignestai) is shared most intimately. This sharing takes place between devotees and their teachers, God our Holy Mother and Holy Father and Christ the Son our Lord.
Where does this Rite originate from?
We can see the development of this Rite in the Acts of Thomas. In the beginning of this Acts the procedure of Baptism is not very clear except that devotees are naked, water is used and the two aspects of God, Holy Spirit and Holy Mother is invoked.
Later on in the book we see how the instructions become more defined. St. Thomas performs Initiations which include baptism, anointing, acceptance into the fellowship and the Mystery Meal.
Baptism are performed by St. Thomas either in a river or from a city fountain or in a room by means of using water from a beaker. Devotees strip themselves of their old coverings and present themselves naked before God for the sacrament. The baptism is a dual one - of fire and Spirit (male) and water and Wisdom (female), of God the Holy Father and God the Holy Mother. After baptism the anointing is done. A new covering is presented to the initiate and s/he is symbolically reborn and clothed again in a new body. Immediately after this the initiate and the parties present partake of the Mystery of Mysteries, the five thousand year-old rite of sharing bread and wine in holy intention.
Church of the East takes from its Scriptures the formulae for Initiation. Although some of the elements of this Rite are older than history itself (more than 5 000 years) the specific combination of the elements of the Rite dates back to the first half of the first century when St. Thomas ministered in India. This is the specific and unique rite which Church of the East regards to be holy Tradition on which the Church was founded.
We regard the heritage to be of historical importance in the sense that the illusion which time is, is shattered for a brief moment during this rite.
The initiate and the selected audience partakes in the heritage, standing in this alongside the legends of time Artemis, Dionysus, Demeter, the rich Zoroastrian tradition and Abraham as he receives the bread and wine from his priest Melchizedek, and Yesu as he prepares the meal for his disciples. The passage of Time is of no consequence as ancient Truth unfolds from the same coverings which the Therapeutae, the Essene, the White Brotherhood, the Nazoraens and the Magdalenes wrought their secrets.
From that moment on the devotee aspires to walk the inner Way under guidance of teachers. The inner-way, esoterics and the mystical teachings of Scripture are now of a prime importance in the devotee's life.
We learn from St. Thomas that Initiation is also practical and not only powerful in symbolism.
At Initiation the Seal is conferred on the disciple by the Energies of God. The Seal is received during the Initiation ceremony. It is a free gift given by God and is not received from the Church, the priest or through any of the rites.
The Seal is received by the spirit child which reaches out to its Spirit Father and Mother - it is a movement into the circle of our Father's protection and into the circle our Mother's nurture and into the circle of our Brother Christ's loving guidance.
This Seal on our spirit is one of protection, nurture and guidance and it equips us with spiritual insight, spiritual awareness, spiritual gifts, and spiritual powers which are needed as weapons and a shield against one's two great enemies - one-self and those entities of evil-intent which are set to waylay us from our prosperous inheritance. As Christians we feel confident to wage this war, to run this race, with Christ as our yoke-fellow and battle partner. As Arjuna had Christ as the driver of his chariot (body and soul vehicle), we also receive this gift when we receive the Seal from God. Christ becomes the driver of our chariots.
Initiation is a solemn rite which is duly prepared for by the initiate, the initiate's spiritual director and the initiating priest. The rite of Initiation customarily takes place in the district's main church. Initiation consists of seven aspects: Desire, Preparation, Renunciation, Baptism, Anointing, partaking in the Mystery Meal, Regeneration.
The reality of theosis not only bears witness to the love of God, who wishes to share God-self with us, but also expresses a very positive view of the human person. Church of the East believes that each person has an intrinsic value and importance in virtue of his or her unique relationship to God. The spirit person is never seen as being totally fallen beyond a state of repair. The "image of God" which can be distorted by sin, can never be eradicated. Through the life of the Church, there is always the opportunity for fulfillment. When the Sacraments are administered, they are always offered to the individual by name. This action not only reminds us of the dignity of each person but also emphasizes the responsibility each person has for his or her relationship to God.
While Eastern Christianity recognises the value of the person, it does not believe that we are meant to be isolated or self-sufficient. Each person is called to be an important member of the Church. The process of theosis takes place within the context of community.
To be united with God in the midst of the Church does not mean that our unique personalities are destroyed. We are not engulfed by an impersonal force or power. As with all love which is true and valuable, God's love for each of us respects our personhood. God's love is not one which destroys. God's love is one which reveals, elevates, and perfects our true selves. By entering into the life of God, we become the persons we are meant to be. Church of the East, following ancient Tradition (since her faith was expressed by the priest-king Melchizedek and the father of Judaism Abraham, and Yesu's teaching in Indo-Persia), advocates the individuality of persons in their search for God and in working out their individual spirituality, whilst partaking in the worship and communal life of the church.
Church of the East represents and expresses the rich spiritual treasures of Eastern Christianity. It should not be forgotten that the Gospel of Christ was first preached, and the first Christian communities were established, in the Eastern communities. From here, starting during Yesu' time on earth the Gospel message spread from Persia, India, China and the East Indian Islands through the Mediterranean to Africa and Europe.
The spirit of the Yesu movement which was nurtured in the East had a particular flavour. Initially it was distinct, though not necessarily opposed, to that which developed in the Western Church of the Roman Empire's Constantinople and Rome. While Christianity in the West developed in lands which knew the legal and moral philosophy of Ancient Rome and adhered to the rational philosophy of Aristotle, Eastern Christianity developed in lands which knew the Semitic and Arian cultures and the mystic philosophy of Plato, Lao Tzu and the Bhagavad Gita - and the Greek and Aramaic languages of Yesu and His earliest followers - and of those who first recorded His messages.
It was not until the 5th century when it became clear that a split between the theology of the East and West was about to keep the worlds apart. In the middle of the sixth century a western Council broke with ancient Yesu tradition and declared Yesu to be whole and nothing less than the Ultimate One, the Creator God of all. Doctrines strange to the eastern understanding came to be and served to drive the wedge between the two worlds even farther apart. Devotees of the East can never reconcile themselves with the late invention of the doctrines of Mary being the mother of God, reincarnation suddenly being declared heretical after 600 years of it being an inherent Wayist Christian teaching, and that The ONE CREATOR, God the Mother and Father of ALL came to live on earth for a while.
A difference of major proportions, one that marks the divide in the spirituality of the Eastern and Western traditions is this: While the West is concerned with the Passion of Christ and the sin of humankind, the East emphasizes the Life of Christ and the deification of humankind. While the West leans toward a legalistic view of religion, the East enshrines mystical theology.
The energies of God are manifest in the life of the Church in order to bring our lives to perfection, and to make us responsible and loving human beings.
Of the fruits of Worship are the gifts of the Spirit. In what is probably the earliest written work in the western New Testament, the letter to the Galatian church, Saint Paul identified these gifts as: "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, fidelity, gentleness, and self-control." These are the cultivated virtues and free gifts of a Christ-like life. It is by these fruits that our lives are testimonies of our faith and our walking of the Way. Of the fruits of Worship are the gifts of Wisdom which are sometimes referred to as understanding, insight, intuition, healing, equanimity, enlightenment. These gifts testify to the fact that the love of God and the love of neighbour are inseparable.
It is for this reason that the Church of the East calls on each and every member to be involved in philanthropic actions of societal reform and assistance to the needy. This is in no way to be a duty simply performed for duty's sake but acts of self-giving love and holy labour. Only under these circumstances is the process of theosis to be facilitated in the human spirit. When we share with others the burdens of their world and when we engage others in acts of societal reform, are we exercising our love for others - which is a measure of our love for God. In this context the text of the Gospel of Matthew 25:34ff speaks to us directly in that we can only expect to gain in spiritual growth to the measure that we mete out our love for others.
Thank you for visiting our little temple
May the Peace of God be yours, may you gain the Light you seek and may Truth come to you at the time you require it.
"LOVE IS THE HIGHER FORM OF KNOWLEDGE"
This very special sharing of the secret of life for our times, this deepest of Yesu teaching, was not only extrapolated at length by academic theologians from the first century onward but was immediately put into practice by thousands (if not millions) of devotees over the years.
We learn from the Lord that we can only grow to wisdom of the higher mysteries if we engage ourselves in love. It is through the struggles of loving all, especially the unlovable, and ourselves, that we grow into the higher knowledge of the essence of our-self which is the Self, God, and of the higher mysteries of this universe.
It is thus only natural that Church of the East should place as a first priority the forwarding of this once secret formula to drink from the Holy Grail. We tend to first start welfare projects and from that usually flows devoted communities, lovers of the One, who both need and serve one another.
Some of the welfare communities maintain web sites and are listed below (a new window will open):
|The House Group of Projects|
|Kulula Life Skills Center|
|National Alliance for the Girl Child on the Street|
|Theosis Education Trust|
is you and me, to minister to one another. Thank God the Church is not limited to the ordained clergy and the administrators - if that be true the Church would have been in greater shambles.
The Church is the Fellowship of all children with their Mother and Father God.
We regard Spirituality as the manifestation of our relationship with the Divine. There is thus an emphasis on the Walk, rather than the
Talk. While the Talk is very important and must be done continually to serve seekers who may just be in your midst to learn -- the Walk is of primary importance.
Insofar as ministry and evangelization is concerned we know that to Be Yesu to people is more powerful than to Talk Yesu to people. Not that the talk is not important -- many miracles have been brought about by this -- but the Walk is of prime value. It is not so much Yesu's Talk (teaching) which inspires people but more so his Walk.
Spirituality is a prime concern in Church of the East.