BEING PEOPLE OF INSPIRATION
Fr. Felix Miles, HOLY CROSS/STS. CONSTANTINE & HELEN, Huntsville, AL
It is Spring. I love Alabama in Springtime. After living in the Northeast for many years, I had
almost forgotten how beautiful Spring is here and how early it comes! Even the word is beautiful: Spring. It captures the essence of life itself. It suggests vitality, enthusiasm, a zest for being alive. And, frequently, we also feel more alive at this time of year as well. We emerge from the dark and cold of Winter and suddenly burst forth into a new beginning. How wonderful it is to experience the joy of Spring!
I truly believe that our ultimate role, both clergy and lay people, as ministers of the church, is to inspire. This word, inspire, literally means to put spirit into. In other words, to breathe life into something. Each one of us, in each moment of our lives, must be like the Spring, putting life and spirit into everything around us.
Most certainly, we have our bad days and our down times. We are human beings, after all.
However, we must not stay there. We have to pick ourselves up and go forward and be people of inspiration. Similarly, as people of inspiration, we have to pick others up as well. It is
not our place to be keeping people accountable or on their toes. Rather, when we believe
that they are struggling, we go and we offer a helping hand and breathe life into them. This is
the Greek Orthodox Christian way.
Many Jews lived in Northern Greece prior to the Second World War. In fact, at one point
there were more Jews living in Thessaloniki than there were Christians. When the Nazis in-
vaded Greece, they sent 40,000 Thessaloniki Jews to the concentration camps and to their
deaths. However, some were able to flee into the countryside. There, in the countryside,
many of the Greek Orthodox Christians hid and harbored entire families of Jews, risking their
own lives so that their Jewish friends might have theirs. They breathed life into their friends.
As a parish, let us learn from our Greek Orthodox predecessors and be people of the eternal
Spring who breathe life into all of those around us, whether they are of a different faith or eth-
nicity or look different from us. Let us welcome them into our house with open arms. Let us
be like the One who breathes life into us all: Christ our True God.