Experience the Light of Christ

 

On the Feast of Pentecost our Lord said that if we believe in Him as the Scripture says, the Holy Spirit will gush forth from our inner beings as living water. The Holy Spirit will gush forth from our mouths in the words we speak to each other, from our hands in the way we treat each other and from our minds in the way we think about each other. This is our chance to bring peace and comfort to a suffering world. We cannot wait for governments and politicians to solve the problem. It will be our willingness to treat each other with love and dignity, as the Holy Spirit desires for us, that can bring light into the dark world. This is our chance to be like Christ and bring peace and light into the world.


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Thank you for tuning in to another episode of Be Transfigured, where we invite you to live a new life in Christ. We pray that this episode is a blessing to you, and will inspire you to rededicate your life to Jesus Christ. We invite you to join us for worship or study at the Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Tarpon Springs, Florida, where visitors are always welcome. We'll be back in a few moments to share some more information about our ministry.

This morning, my brothers and sisters, this great feast of Pentecost, the day that the church remembers the Holy Spirit coming and dwelling among the church. We heard in the Book of Acts that the Holy Spirit descended upon everyone gathered, not just the apostles, but everyone gathered. And we heard in the gospel that Christ speaking of the Holy Spirit, he says that whoever believes in him as the scriptures write, there would be rivers of living water gushing forth, not just a little trickle, but that the rivers of water would gush forth from inside of us. It's interesting that the Greek says [από την κοιλίας μας], the English translation we read today says from our hearts, but it's more than just from our hearts. It's from the very inside of us, that if we believe in God, if we believe in Christ, as the scripture says, the Holy Spirit will come upon us and just flow from every part of our being, from our mouths in what we speak to each other, from our hands in the way we treat each other, from our minds in the way we think about each other.

And here we are in a world that is filled with pain and suffering, and I'm not speaking just of the recent riots that are going on in our society. That is just today's version of the pain and the suffering of our world. And I wonder sometimes are we living as if we actually believe the way the scripture teaches or are we living life along our own rules? Do we believe in God the way we want to believe in God? Are we listening to the commandments of God and picking and choosing which we want to do in which we don't want to do, which we want to believe, which we don't want to believe?

I invite you to search out your own heart. I'm not going to judge anyone today. I have my own struggles with my ego. I have my own struggles with my sins. Today I'm not standing here pointing at you, I am calling all of us on behalf of the church to a higher standard, my brothers and sisters. We are the church that was able to convert the pagan world. We are the church that was able to bring peace to so many societies in human history. And here we are standing in a society that is crumbling around us, and we say that we believe in God. What are we doing about it?

Not what are we voting in the ballot box, because the government is not going to solve the problem. Politicians are not going to solve the problem. Believe it or not, even riots and protests will not solve the problem. What is going to solve the problem is if we listen to this morning scripture, and we allow the Holy Spirit to flow from us as a river of living water, that will make the difference in our society. When we encounter people on the streets, friends and strangers, and we treat them with love and dignity, no matter what their position in life is, then we're going to see a change in our society.

For those of you who were here for the orthros, you heard Christ in one of the resurrection stories, and we hear it every year for the Agape, Christ comes and he says, "Peace be with you. As the father sent me," he says, "So I send you." This is for the message of Christ on this morning, my brothers and sisters. Just as Christ was sent to bring peace and life into the world, we are sent to bring peace and life into the world. What are we doing about it? The vast majority of us live blessed and holy lives, we don't, as they say, have to worry about the big sins in our life. However, if we've learned anything from this past season of this health crisis, sometimes things are beyond our control and how we respond to the world reflects our heart. And even in this time of health crisis, unfortunately, many of us, instead of responding in love and dignity, respond in judgment and anger.

My brothers and sisters, we are not God. It is not our responsibility to judge the world. It is our responsibility to live like we actually believe the words we read in the scriptures. You, me, each one of us received the Holy Spirit at our baptism. Pentecost is not just a feast that remembers the Holy Spirit 2,000 years ago on a few men and women. Pentecost reminds us that the Holy Spirit has been dwelling within the church for 2,000 years and continues to live inside of us.

Unfortunately, most of us keep it locked up on the inside. We keep it to ourselves. Oh, so long as I'm not a bad person it's no big deal. But if we believe that we have been sent, as Christ was sent, that means our job is to go into the world and to bring the light of Christ to those living in darkness.

The last portion of the gospel this morning, Christ says, "I am the light of the world. Whoever walks with me does not walk in darkness." The world is a dark place. Who disagrees? We have the light. At our baptism we were given the light of Christ. We were given the Holy Spirit. It's up to us to share the light in the darkness, not the politicians, and that, my brothers and sisters, is our challenge for today. Believe the words that we say and live the life that reflects that faith. Allow the Holy Spirit to flow from us in our words, in our actions, in our thoughts.

And then there's one final piece that's missing. Christ, when he went to the world, he says, "Come, come and see." Christ says. And now it's our turn. In the spirit of Pentecost, my brothers and sisters, now is the time for us to challenge each other, to go out into the world as light in the darkness and tell those who are suffering to come in and experience the light of Christ in His church. We can no longer just be the Greek church in downtown Tarpon Springs. We are the church for all people, men, women, rich, poor, black, white, brown, yellow, it doesn't matter what color or where you're from. We are the church for all people.

We heard in the epistle that as the apostles were preaching the gospel, everyone heard in their own native language the good news of Christ. Let's be that good news for those who are struggling, let's be that good news for those in darkness. The past several nights in my evening prayers, I have been inviting us to be people of peace, people of the light and people of prayer, and today I offer one extra description, be people of the Holy Spirit and shed some light in the darkness of our painful world.

Glory to God for all things

Be Transfigured is a production of Be Transfigured Ministries in cooperation with the Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Tarpon Springs, Florida. We depend upon your generosity to maintain our ministry. You can make a safe online donation when you visit our website, LiveANewLifeInChrist.org.