St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Bearing Witness to the Testimony of Jesus Christ

 

Sermon preached by His Grace Bishop John on Sunday, September 27, 2015

From the beginning of time, God has spoken through prophets. When a prophet spoke, the people of the community confirmed the message to be consistent and true or not. That is, every profit from the beginning of time until now except for Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was different. Jesus Christ said, "Truly, truly, Amen, Amen, I say to you." When he taught, he bore witness to the words which you spoke. Because he comes from the Father and he speaks for the Father, and having taken on flesh, he himself bears witness to the Word which was spoken

When Jesus spoke, he spoke in boats where fishermen knew there were no fish. Fisherman were simple people, but they weren't stupid. They knew from generations and generations of being fisherman when there are no fish. But Jesus said to them, "put down your nets," and they knew there were no fish. But the fish came and filled the nets in abundance because the creator called them, and the fish obeyed. The fish bore witness to the testimony of Jesus Christ. When we follow the testimony of Jesus Christ even when we have to be patient and have forbearance, we experience truth; we experience freedom; we experience life.

We heard in the Epistle this morning that God said, "I will be your God, and you will be my people." We will be in a relationship of oneness and of love. If we can free ourselves from our distractions, if we can free ourselves from our mistakes, and our feelings, and our overthinking, then we will hear God's voice, a voice that comes to us in any way that God has to do to get through to us. Sometimes - I'll speak for myself - I am so stubborn that God needs to hit me with a 2x4 for me to even pay attention. Perhaps, that's that's why God created donkeys. Donkeys teach us that if you're stubborn, you don't get anywhere. They teach us that if you are uncooperative, your handler will hit you with a 2x4.

This morning, in the ordination of a son of this parish, we will be establishing a Western-Rite Monastery North of Denver, Colorado. This monastery is on a property that is about 1,000 acres. There is a wagon trail from pre-automobile times that cuts its way right through the property. There's already a church and a guesthouse, and a place for you to come and visit, a place where we can know that the life that Christ calls us to, a life of prayer without ceasing, a life of hospitality, and a life of detachment from things can remind us of how God is close to us. So we can visit, and we can know that people are getting up early in the morning, and praying late at night, and holding us up and holding up the world.

So, it's right for us also to hold them up because we are very much in a symbiotic relationship. You know we need each other to be Church; we need each other to be Christian. Loving yourself is not God's kind of love; it's not real, and it's not true. We need to continue to love and forgive, and support, and hold up each other to be the church, and to express the life that God wants us to live to live abundantly.

Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy upon us, and save us.