The modern American world can make it difficult to appreciate the lives of the ancient saints. As an example, modern medicine has extended life far beyond what could be expected for so many. What would have meant sure death for a newborn child, is time in the NICU of even the smallest hospitals in America, for the child to go home with parents to live a normal life. What would have been miracles for the ancient saints, are everyday medical procedures today, and that skews how we think.
When I was growing up in the 80’s, I heard a lot of arguments by adults in regard to the music my generation was playing on the record player, and eventually CD player. The lyrical themes were easy to dance to, and the popularity of groups such as Duran Duran, The Cars, and The Police were equally to solo artists like Michael Jackson and Lionel Richey. The music of every generation has a long-lasting effect on the soul of every person.
The past two years has changed the way we even speak as a society. The COVID19 Pandemic has affected every aspect of our society from how we teach our children to how we gather as friends for holidays, but like every other disease the world faces, this too shall pass. What seems to not be passing is our growing fascination with cremation, and it too must stop.
Are you saved? This just might be the most common question among Protestant Christians, and my answer to it is another question? Saved from what exactly? I learned many years ago to not presume the questions others ask. Our future salvation rests in two people; God, and ourselves.
This past weekend was the annual March for Life in Washington, DC. Tens of thousands gathered to protest and pray; protest against legalized abortion and pray for those who have died and the mothers who killed them. News coverage varied based upon the political leanings of the reporter. Several Orthodox Christian Hierarchs attended, prayed and spoke.
“We have seen the Light, the true Light!” These words fill our mouths after we receive Holy Communion, but do we allow the Light to shine for others? When the blind man called out to Christ, the crowd tried to shut him out. It has become too easy for us to shut others out of the Church. The Blind Man had the Light in his heart, even though he couldn’t see. The crowd could see, but was blind to the Light. We must open our eyes to the Light of Christ, and let it shine for others to see.
As mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, “They were first called Christians in Antioch.” (Acts 11.26) Based on history, this was not always a term of endearment. What was a slander has become a name which bestows honor, at least we hope it does. We all hope to honor God with our lives and the reputation we have.
Wounded Warriors for Christ
We know too well the expression ‘wounded warrior’ as we see throughout our society the horrible effects of war. Soldiers walk the streets not just with bandages, but with amputations and severe mental illness (PTSD). They are the heroes of our society because they remind us of the courage it takes to protect us, but also the evil of war. One could say they are “Confessors” for America.
I wonder sometimes why our churches are not growing more in America. The world is without hope, and the Church offers hope in Christ. The world is without light, and the Church offers the light of Christ. One would think that thousands would be flocking into the Church for light and hope. Yet, our churches in many cases remain small enclaves of faithful in an otherwise hostile world. This is exactly when the lives of the saints should inspire us.
Living in the world is not an easy task for a Christian, on any day. Between the constant emphasis on self and wealth building, we must be on the lookout for temptation around every corner. Even within the Church, we can find those who are not acting within the scope of Christ’s desire for His Church. Some think, naively, that this is a contemporary problem of 21st Century America. It is not. It is as old as humanity, but that does not give us the excuse to give up.