Forgive the shameless plug, but I’d love to meet you in person this month! If you’re in the Atlanta area in a few weeks come by our parish and enjoy some hospitality and take the church tour! I promise, you won’t be disappointed in the wonderful community you’ll enjoy at the parish! Hope you can come!
Also, please feel free to share this with all your friends and family!
I never will forget certain momentous times in my life. There are only a handful of moments when the enormity of a moment calls for an all night focus.
One such moment in my life was when I was to be ordained as a deacon in the Orthodox Church. As I contemplated the implications of the changes that were about to take place in my life, I felt compelled to avoid sleep and focus on the moment before me that would alter my life forever.Turns out, it was a night that wasn’t long enough to really prepare!
Isn’t it interesting after the Lord blessed Peter and his partners in their fishing business, Peter saw himself as a sinful man and asked the Lord to leave him? But that’s the risk of standing so close to the Light. It reveals who you really are! But Christ invites us to be close to Him without fear or shame and allow His Light to set us free!
There’s a great country song about a dad taking his son fishing and the dad decides to take the little girl next door along on their fishing trip. The boy is horrified that he’s going to be in the company of “a girl” during this dad and son outing so he begs his dad “take Jimmy Johnson, take Tommy Thompson, take my best friend Bo. Take anybody that you want as long as she don’t go. Take any boy in the world! Daddy please, don’t take the girl!”
My girls love when I do this. Well, not really, but they do laugh. Sometimes, when we are all in the car, just driving down the road, everybody minding their own business. Conversation has lagged and the music on the radio is boring, when no one expects, I’ll holler real loud and scare everyone in the car! Infantile, I know, but boy does it get the juices flowing and after the initial shock everyone dissolves into laughter, and then the little voice from my three year old invariably says: “Do it again, daddy!”
At a recent clergy retreat we priests were confronted by our retreat leader with a stunning article from the January 2013 issue of Boston Magazine. It was entitled “Losing Our Religion” and the article begins by telling the story of a mother and her 9 year old son watching a procession of the faithful from the Greek Orthodox church across the street from their home on our Great and Holy Friday. It’s worth reading the whole thing, but I wanted to show you this part of the conversation between this 9 year old boy and his mother:
“What are they doing?” my son asked.
“It’s some kind of ritual,” I said, dimly realizing it must be their Good Friday.
“Why don’t we do that?”
“Because we’re not Greek Orthodox.”
“What are we?”
I thought of the candy and plastic trinkets I buy for him and his two sisters for Easter every year, of the baskets I place in their rooms as they sleep—and I realized that these things, along with my strained attempts at an indoor Easter-egg hunt in the afternoon (we don’t have a yard), are all that my children know about what is arguably the most sacred holiday in all of Christianity, the religion in which I was raised.
Outside our window, the priest read a long passage aloud, and the crowd sang something in response. After a few more prayers, the congregation made its way down the block and into the church.
Turning from the window, my son repeated his question: “So, what are we?”
What does the Church teach about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ? Is there going to be a “Secret Rapture” of Christians before the Great Tribulation? These questions and YOUR calls will be joyously answered tonight on Faith Encouraged LIVE. Listen tonight at 8 PM Eastern! Go to AncientFaith.com/LIVE!
Today Peter witnesses Christ’s power and care and tells the Lord “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man!”
All too often we are revealed as broken and wounded people in the bright light of God’s love and care for us, and we react with fear and a desire to hide! How sad that being that close to so much love and care stirs up fear in our hearts.
Perhaps it’s time to move passed our fear and shame to embrace the light of God’s love for us!
P.S. Tonight’s the night! Listen tonight at 8 PM Eastern to Faith Encouraged LIVE with Fr. Barnabas at ancientfaith.com/live as we talk about “Rejecting Rapturemania: What the Church teaches about the Second Coming” I hope you listen!