Many people ‘work well under pressure’ to accomplish their tasks waiting for the fast-approaching deadline before getting down to business. One of the reasons committee meetings are effective is because people tend to work based on deadlines. It may even get our juices flowing, and jump start our creativity. That may work well in the secular world, but when it comes to salvation, waiting for deadline is worst thing we can do.
Each of us has a past, some of which we are proud of, and some of which we pray never sees the light of day again. We may not be able to deny it, but we can escape it. The motto for Be Transfigured Ministries is, “Live A New Life In Christ.” This is our goal, not to live in the past, but to live for the future with God in Heaven. That doesn’t mean we pretend the past never was, but that we are blessed with a NEW life in Christ.
We all know the struggle. Our alarm goes off just moments after we have fallen asleep. We hit the snooze button as many times as we are ‘allowed’ before begrudgingly getting out of bed to begin our hectic day. The last thing on our minds is stopping everything and doing our prayers. God will understand, we think to ourselves, as we walk past our home altar with barely an acknowledgment in our hearts.
The question of ‘Who is Jesus Christ?” has been answered with more than 45,000 different answers. If Jesus is our Savior, Who He is, matters. We call that, theology, and on the Feast of Saint John the Theologian, the Church reminds us that we have known the answer to this question for more than 1700 years. The testimony of Saint John the Theologian, and the testimony of the Church can be trusted, because it is the truth of God.
It can be difficult to live your Orthodox Christian life among different groups. That is especially true with those outside the Church since nonbelievers do not share our way of life, nor our faith in God. Inside the Church, it should be easier to live as an Orthodox Christian. So, why is it, that within the Church we are more judged by our brothers and sisters than from those outside the Church?
We live in a 24-hour society. Because we no longer depend upon the natural order of day and night, it can be a bit overwhelming just trying to remain focused on God. Before we realize it, another hour has gone by, and we have not finished the important project for work. We’ve been scrolling through the newsfeed on our phones clicking random links only to find out it was another case of clickbait. Hour by hour and day by day, we feel fortunate just to catch our breath.
If you have ever had a discussion about religion with your friends, you know it can be very complicated to explain the difference between the human and divine nature of Jesus Christ. It is such a difficult topic, we have been arguing with the Oriental Orthodox for more than 1500 years. You may be tempted to say, “What does it matter if I believe in Jesus Christ?” It does matter, because the answer affects who God is.
Turn to most Christian blogs or cable channels and you will hear faithful people ranting about persecution of Christians. Throughout the world, Christians face political oppression physical violence from those who would work to silence the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It isn’t new by any means, but it should also not be surprising. In today’s letter from Saint Paul to Timothy we are forever warned of persecution.
Some consider the Church Calendar to be nothing more than dates and times of services. Others think it too complex to be of any value. It is complex. It is dates and times of services, but it is also a daily reminder of the myriad saints we commemorate, many of whom gave their lives for Christ and His Church. It is also a great teaching tool to help us understand the greater picture. Today is one of those days.
The theme this week has been centered around how other people view our Christian life, and whether our life attracts others to the Church, or drives them away. At first glance, this appears to be a burden we don’t deserve. Why should our actions determine whether someone joins the Church? Isn’t that the same thing as judging us? Is it fair that our actions are used ‘against us’ by others who are judging the Church as hypocrites? That is the point this week. It isn’t about what it fair, but about being a witness.