26 February 2007

Offering Nothing as if It's Everything

The following is an excerpt from the sermon preached last Sunday at Holy Incarnation Orthodox Church. For the full sermon, or to receive them regularly, subscribe to Holy Incarnation NEWS by sending an email to WestRiteDetroit-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. (NB: This is not a discussion list, but an announcement list.)

The devil’s great deception and lie is that he holds out nothing and calls it everything. He promises what he is incapable of giving, and offers what he can never bestow. We see as much in the three ways he tries to tempt Christ. First the one who can do nothing challenges the Son of God to do something. Then the one who has been cast down urges the One who has humbled Himself to deny His true Self. And finally, the one who owns nothing promises everything to the God who has all things.

By His answers and His refusal to succumb, Our Lord proves to us that the devil is capable of nothing, offers nothing, and has nothing. And by this, we see the way of salvation. The way of salvation is not making compromises between the Satan’s nothing and God’s everything. And the way of salvation is not choosing the Lord’s way when it is convenient or not a hassle. Rather, the way of salvation is recognizing that we are tempted to own, to have, to do and to be nothing; and in doing so, we forsake everything. And so the way of salvation is holding fast, by all means possible, to what we have received; and rejecting all that leads us away from the everything that Our Lord is and has and gives.

All that Our Lord is and has and gives the Father offers, and the Spirit opens our eyes to see and our mouths to receive, at this Holy Mass. Here the Lord takes not stones but the bread and wine we offer, and transforms them to be His own immaculate Body and His own precious Blood. Here the Lord does not cast us down, but lifts us up by entering our roof so that we may be healed. And here Our Lord offers not empty promise, but truly accepts us as communicants in His kingdom and partakers of His holy mysteries.

In short, Our Lord holds out everything to us, and gives us His all. And He does this so that, in Him, we might attain all that we were created to be. To this Lord Jesus Christ, then, together with His all-holy Father united with the Holy Spirit, belongs all glory, honor and worship.

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