Just whose recipe is it anyway?
One of the most powerful reasons for embracing Orthodoxy is to be found in the Church’s insistence that she holds to the evangelical and apostolic doctrine of the Ancient Church. In an age when everything is up for change, there is a certain security and stability when one institution (the Church) stands firm in her Apostolic Authority, and refuses to allow popular culture or political correctness to influence her rightful God-appointed mission as hospital for the soul.
Saint Leo the Great tells us, “It is not lawful to differ even by a single word from the evangelical and apostolic doctrine, or to think otherwise than as the blessed Apostles and our fathers learned and taught concerning the Holy Scriptures.”
We know from the very foundations of the Church, set down in the Gospels, and in the Apostolic Canons, that the Church exists, not to judge, but to bring healing. Her mission is to make whole those who would enter into her gates, as entering into a hospital. She forces no one, for one who is forced is not open to healing. Yet the Church is also aware that sin is not really a private matter, for all sin affects everyone. She knows that even private sins have an effect on the whole of the cosmos. Therefore, the Church continues, as she has from ancient times, to give witness to the commandments of God, the hope that is found in the Gospel of Christ, and the forgiveness and healing that can lead to wholeness.
The Church may seem to some to be a backward looking institution, irrelevant for our times, a view that has caused many of the denominations to alter basic foundational teachings in order to please a more liberally leaning society. This has led numerous of the denominations to allow passing intellectual fashions to dictate the spirit behind new laws they decide on, leading these religious institutions to ordain women as clergy, perform same sex marriages, and bow down to modern views on abortion that have lead to the death of thousands of innocents.
As an Orthodox monk who stands out in appearance, what with my long white beard and black robe, I demonstrate that I am attempting to live a faith that is not of this world. Like all Orthodox clergy, I teach by my presence in a modern and fallen world, that my faith is an ancient one, and that change is not necessary, for the faith of our fathers is just as relevant today, as it was two thousand years ago. What the Church has to offer today, is just as effective in bringing about the healing of the soul, as in ancient times.
The sad state of American Christianity has as its basis, a constant attempt to conform to an ever changing society, and with each change, there is less and less of authentic, ancient Christianity to be seen. It could be compared to using an old family cake recipe, dropping one ingredient, or changing another, with each passing generation. In the end, is it really a Great-great Grandmother’s cake recipe, or is it something else?
With love in Christ,
Tuesday May 5, 2020 / April 22, 2020
Third Week of Pascha. Tone two.
Venerable Theodore the Sykeote, bishop of Anastasiopolis (613).
New Hieromartyr Eustaphius priest (1918).
Hieromartyr Platon of Banja Luka (1941).
Martyr Demetrius (1942).
Apostles Nathaniel, Luke, and Clement.
Translation of the relics of St. Vsevolod (in holy baptism Gabriel), prince and wonderworker of Pskov (1138).
Venerable Vitalis of the monastery of Abba Serid (Seridos) at Gaza (609-620).
Martyr Epipodius of Lyons (177) (Gaul).
Martyr Leonidas of Alexandria (202).
Martyr Nearchus (Greek).
The Scripture Readings
5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. 6 And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. 7 For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. 8 And there was great joy in that city.
The Sorcerer’s Profession of Faith
9 But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great, 10 to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the great power of God.” 11 And they heeded him because he had astonished them with his [d]sorceries for a long time. 12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. 13 Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done.
The Sorcerer’s Sin
14 Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, 15 who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. 16 For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
27 Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you,because God the Father has set His seal on Him.”
28 Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?”
29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”
30 Therefore they said to Him, “What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ ”
32 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”