It’s Happening TODAY!

Three Wise Businessmen 

You know the saying “Do you remember where you were when president Kennedy was shot?” I don’t. I was just three years old. But my earliest memories do include sitting in front of our black and white TV at home watching with my mom, the coverage of Dr. King’s funeral here in Atlanta. And all I remember is a scene from the coverage of a drawing of a coffin being bore into the sky by angels. That image is stuck in my head, mainly because of the tears of my mother over the tragic murder of this American leader. Of course this generation has their own “Do you remember where you were when…” That question is finished “the Twin Towers fell?”

The ancient Chinese proverb meant as a curse is “May you live in interesting times!” It is something to be so awake to the events surrounding you that you recognize the power of moments to shape history. But why is it so easy for the vast majority of the population to be oblivious to these pivotal events that share the world?

I am convinced that human society has always had a dual temptation: Either so disconnected to events that we are carried along by history and made victims of it, OR so intently over-focused on details that we are intoxicated with every little word. Both of these intoxications lead to despair. So, how do we avoid these traps? How do we keep from being swallowed whole by events, or sleepwalking through life?

We make choices, that’s how. We exercise our human will. But unless we have a healthy wisdom, we will exercise our will badly. And that is where a purposeful practice of our faith rescues us!

Look at our Gospel Lesson today. In Luke 4:16-22 we see the Lord attending synagogue worship as was His custom on a Saturday morning in His home town of Nazareth, and, since He was now somewhat famous as a Teacher, His hometown rabbi had the Lord read the passage from the Scriptures and comment on its meaning in the service. The passage for that day was a momentous moment in the Lord’s earthly ministry!

Look here: At that time, Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and he went to the synagogue, as his custom was, on the sabbath day. And he stood up to read; and there was given to him the book of the prophet Isaiah. He opened the book and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” And all spoke well of him, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth.

Amazing! These people, sitting in this humble synagogue in the small town of Nazareth, just heard God in the flesh read from Isaiah’s prophecy about the Messiah and hear our Lord tell them “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” It takes your breath away. I imagine Christians from Nazareth commenting to one another after the Lord’s Resurrection “Were you in service the day the Lord said this?” A good reason not to miss worship since “history” may be made that day!

Today, if you are going to avoid the twin intoxicating temptations of being asleep to events OR consumed by events, you are going to have to have a reference point to keep you on track! That reference point for those who purposefully practice our Orthodox faith is Jesus Christ Himself, the Lord of history. It is by staying focused on Christ, His wisdom, His worship, His Church, that I make sense, WITHOUT FEAR and WITHOUT DESPAIR, the events happening in my world, both small and great. The sobering wisdom of the timeless faith puts into perspective all the events of our day whether it is on a global scale (terrorism, Islamic militants, global climate change) or on a personal scale (money worries, relationship problems, physical illness). It’s by focusing on Christ that I am set free to stay awake to my world and be at peace. Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing! Christ has come and will come again and history is truly HIS story!

P.S. I am so excited about this Sunday’s program on Faith Encouraged LIVE with Fr. Barnabas. We will be talking about the Second Coming of Jesus and what the Church teaches about this important part of our faith! Listen this Sunday at 8 PM Eastern at!

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