29 April 2007

Living in the "Little While"

An excerpt from the sermon preached today at Holy Incarnation Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church.

Our Blessed Lord sets Himself continually before us, and every time He presents Himself He also reveals our life’s true end. Only a few weeks ago we celebrated with great joy both Our Lord’s abiding presence and the kingdom, the reward, the fullness, the perfect end and the great happiness He has waiting for us. And every time we gather, we not only celebrate these facts, but also receive them and are strengthened by them—by Our Lord who stands even now before us in His heavenly kingdom in this little place.

If only we had eyes to see. If only we had mind and heart to live what we hear.

Our Blessed Lord knows this as well. And as His first measure, He diagnoses the cause. “It is because you do not see Me. And because you do not see Me, you focus on the stress or grief or hurdles or turmoil or pitfalls in this life. And when you focus on these things, you see them as challenges to be overcome or avoided at all costs; and so you lose focus—the focus that I have already overcome all these things, and that I have already gained for you and given to you this victory. But you wish to play your part—not as victors, but as men who might re-fight my battles and re-conquer my enemies and overcome once more all that I’ve already put to rest and put to death for your sake. You do not see Me; and so you forget Me and all I’ve done for you and won for you and given to you. Yet a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father.

“But for now, you must live in this ‘little while’ when you do not see Me as you desire, this ‘little while’ when you must struggle and strive and fight against your fears that there is no hope of breaking the endless cycle. Now you must live in the ‘little while’ of patience and trust, believing that what I’ve promised is true and strong enough, and that my Word will truly see you through. And during this ‘little while,’ ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful—but believe Me, your sorrow shall be turned into joy. And the more you believe Me—the more you believe that I am truly with you and that you truly do stand in My kingdom when you stand in this holy place—then you will regain your footing and your clarity will return and your resolve with strengthen and your desire to do good and to live godly will increase. And to aid you in this, I shall envelop you in My Spirit who shall bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. And since He is the Spirit of all who believe, He shall also surround you with the great cloud of witnesses who shall intercede ceaselessly for you so that, when you stumble, you may return and not lose your way.”

Our Lord speaks words like these not harshly, but gently. He speaks not as one who has been offended, but as one who wishes once more to strengthen your resolve and re-focus your vision and renew your purpose.

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