…We are all responsible for each other…and most especially, for our youngest siblings, in showing them how to maintain a close relationship with our Father. When they weep and wail, we pick them up as our Father did us, and show them the icons of their departed relatives on the walls. When they become pre-occupied in the services, we show them how to ring bells, or sing in the choir, or hold a candle….teaching them how to offer perfect praise through our own examples. When they lash out in the quietest and most solemn parts of the service, we show them what it means to be Christians by offering to help calm them down, instead of driving them out of the Lord’s house to be “hushed”. Our greatest gift that we can give to our children, is to show them what Christian beauty is all about...
Think for a minute about all of the miracles that God has worked this morning just for us to be sitting down in our Church here in Fenton Michigan! He created systems in our body which allowed us to physically open our eyes, breath in deeply, stretch our bodies, and get ready for the day. We put on our clothes which were made of cotton that came from a shrub in the ground, that God’s creation helped to nurture and grow. We got into our cars that are fueled by gasoline which came from the fossils of extinct marine animals and plants; life which God created long ago. We came to a Church which is adorned with icons that were hand written by people who God blessed with the ability to have their brain, hands, and eyes work together to write beautiful images of saints for us to venerate. Right now, you are listen to a sermon coming from my vocal chords that are vibrating and creating a sound that is traveling to your ear lobes, and in turn vibrating 18000 tiny hair cells which are turning those vibrations into electrical signals that are going into your brains, allowing you to comprehend and “hopefully” understand the message that I am trying to convey this morning!
Making an effort to draw the living water through worship, both here as a family, and at home privately, is VITAL to our humanity. To do anything else…to place a priority on anything else…is to deny who we are as human beings. To live in a way contrary to our true purpose, would be to live like King Tantalus, unable to quench our inner thirst for something that is greater than ourselves.
What is Christian Courage? What is True Happiness?
For centuries, if we have the eyes to see and the ears to hear, the Church has been telling us the answers to these two precious questions! Every time we come to Divine Liturgy, through the words and actions of our worship to God, we can hear the echoes of the Holy Fathers who teach us that true happiness is kept…not in the secular joys of life which can disappear in a flash…but in the love towards God which transfigures and transforms the world around us.
When we love someone, we do everything possible to make sure that they never have to suffer. When one of our spouses suffers from an illness or incurable disease, we are constantly trying to find ways to alleviate their suffering. We wish that for just one moment, we can help carry the heavy burden that has been placed on their shoulders.
If God forbid any of our children are ever subjected to violence, as so many have been in the recent months, we would gladly rush into the danger in order to give our life for theirs.
This is what true love is. It isn’t “being nice” to one another. Being nice is a heresy! Being nice refutes and refuses to offer genuine love!