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Explanation of the 2016 Creative Festivals Theme

"As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15

This year's theme was selected by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph. The entire quotation is as follows:

But if it does not please you to serve the Lord, choose gods for yourselves today whom you will serve, whether the gods of your fathers that were on the other side of the river, or the gods of the Amorites, among whom you dwell in their land. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord because He is holy.

Comments from the Orthodox Study Bible regarding verses 14-15:

God always intended man to serve Him and to love Him freely; for accepting the salvation that is freely offered is the most natural thing for human beings, made in His image to do. Joshua, having long ago chosen holiness, now declares the same for his house.

Because we have free will, we have to make the choice whether or not to serve God. God does not force us to follow Him. However, if we truly love God, we will want to worship, obey, and serve Him.

There is much that can be said about this theme and how it impacts our daily lives. Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the Temple when He was 40 days old and dedicated Him to God. The Temple was the most important place in their lives. Can we say the same thing today? Is the Church the most important place in our lives or are we serving other "gods" that take precedence? What things are most important to us? Money? A quest for fame? Popularity? How do we spend our time- on our phones, the internet, social media, listening to music, watching sports, etc.? How much of our time is devoted to these other "gods" and how much time do we spend serving the one, true God?

The family of St. Basil the Great was selected as the logo for the Creative Festivals because the members of this family dedicated their lives to God and all became saints. The scroll St. Basil is holding says, "This is how you pray continually- not by offering prayer in words, but by joining yourself to God through your whole way of life, so that your life becomes one continuous and uninterrupted prayer."

Let us be inspired by the holy families of Jesus and St. Basil the Great to truly make our homes "little churches." In his book, Making God Real in the Orthodox Home, Fr. Anthony Coniaris states, "The Church can do nothing without the home. The most influential school in the world is not Oxford or Harvard or the Sorbonne or Yale or Cambridge. It is the home."