EXAMINING OUR HEARTS BEFORE HOLY WEEK AND GREAT AND HOLY PASCHA
Very Rev. Fr. George Tsahakis
I wanted to continue this emphasis on the spiritual health of our hearts by focusing on yet another question that I ask myself and each of you:
If we as Christians have an all-powerful Savior Whom we proclaim as our Risen Lord, what response are we offering to Him as our Savior and as our God ?
We now approach the final trail of our Lenten journey leading to Holy Week, a period when we will remember in great detail and with deliberate care the Passion, Crucifixion, and Resurrection of our Lord. Before I commit my presence and participation, I find myself asking what difference, if any, it will make.
Perhaps the problem is me. Do I lack the vision to see God’s presence and influence over us? Can I grasp His broken body and the blood flowing from His side that was shed for our forgiveness and the
restoration of humanity to His Kingdom? Are the readings and reenactments cause to bring us into closer union with Him and His Body the Church, which includes all of you – my brothers and sisters in Christ? Or maybe we consider the Lenten and Holy Week services are simply the means for us to feel comfortable and self-satisfied that we elected to come when it was convenient for us to sample these familiar rituals, and this in itself is what is good and pleasing to our Lord and to our co-workers in Christ.
When if ever, during my life’s journey leading up to His Glorious Kingdom beyond this life will I understand that I do not deserve any of God’s divine grace?
Will I recognize that in participating in the services “remembering” our Risen Lord’s Passion, Crucifixion, and Resurrection, I discern the very real yet invisible heavenly things that are unfolding right now and right here, for me, for you, for everyone . . . amidst my many busy and competing earthly pursuits and demands?
Do I ever call myself Christ’s Disciple, His servant, and witness? If so, if challenged to prove I am
indeed “guilty” of living a Christian life (here, guilty would be a good thing), could my actual deeds, thoughts, and words convince a jury to
convict me? Or would I be judged “innocent” and thus be set free from a life burdened by the obligations of living a Christian life and willing obedience to follow and live a life with our Risen Lord Jesus Christ?
Recall how God commanded Moses to lead His people from the bondage of Pharaoh and the Egyptians to freedom and “the Promised Land”? But do we remember how some of Moses’ people doubted and even resisted the pathway to freedom? What about us? Will our response this Holy Week and in the weeks, months, and years ahead be like them? Simply put, as we move into the “ages to come”, will we be like Moses’ people who doubt, fear, and even resist God’s call for us to let go of the chains and bondage of a life separated from Him, from those He created, and from those He enables us to meet and share with in our parish
community of St. Christopher? Will we believe, accept, and live in His “promised land” that we call His Body, His Church, His Kingdom here on earth and to be completed at His Second and Glorious Coming?
As I examine my heart as to what response I choose to offer to our Risen Lord today and in the “ages to come”, I realize how hungry I am, in spirit and body, for the day when all of us can let go of whatever seeks to separate us from God, from one another, and from those who deem us to have failed to meet their personal standards of redemption that replace or surpass those of our Risen Lord. Indeed, there is only one God, revealed in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit that can lead us and live in us and thereby offer authentic life as God intended for His creation. In responding to His blessings to each of us, I pray we always seek His will and see His image in the lives of all of those around us, for everyone is created in His image and likeness.
Why does our world appear so parched and starved spiritually of God’s presence? Why are so many living their lives with disbelief and feel out of touch and devoid of intimate sharing with Him and His Body? Indeed, how many among us feel lost, forgotten, and neglected – in need of His grace, salvation and love?
Perhaps the answers to these questions become visible in transforming my initial question into a declarative statement of shared priority that each of us accepts and seeks to make happen:
We as Christians have an all-powerful Savior Whom we proclaim as our Risen Lord. In His Behalf, as our Lord, God, and Savior, we seek in all things to embrace everyone we encounter with His love, mercy, and forgiveness to the best of our ability and always for His Glory!
Then, and only then, can we truly proclaim that the Glory of God prevails and the message of his Passion, Death, and Resurrection is both proclaimed and lived, today, through us, and in the “ages to come” through the saints that come after us. Amen!