The Arena
The Arena

Episode · 1 year ago

Confident Silence | Sunday before the Exaltation of the Cross 2021


The Arena Podcast is the flagship of Patristic Nectar Publications and contains the Sunday Sermons and other theological reflections by Father Josiah Trenham delivered from the ambon of St. Andrew Church in Riverside, California and begun in 2010. Currently there are more than 550 sermons and lectures covering ten years worth of preaching through the liturgical calendar.

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Now available at patristic nectar dot Org. patristic nectar publications is pleased to present a four part lecture series by Father Josiah trenum entitled God's Prodigal Prophet, an exposition of the prophecy of Jonah. This text is found amongst the minor prophets of the Old Testament and is much beloved by believers, not only for its Christological typology, in which it sets forth the death, burial, plundering of Hades and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, but also because it is simply packed full of spiritual themes like obedience, repentance, sinful nationalism, God's call, Timission, the enlightenment of the nations, brokenness, rebellion and grace, the love of enemies and much, much more. For these and other available titles, visit our website at patristic nectar dot org. And now the arena ...

...with Father Josiah Trenem. The name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit. A blessed lords they to all of you, brothers and sisters. I'm not supposed to be here, standing before you on this wonderful Sunday on which we leave the celebration of the Mother of God's Nativity and we prepare for the Exaltation of the Holy Cross and on which we are going to say a last goodbye to our beloved Father Thomas and to Korea Leanne and all of their beautiful nine children. I wasn't supposed to be here. Father Thomas is supposed to be here preaching to you. Father Thomas is supposed to be standing proto before the holy place and leading the service. Friday night we...

...had a hiccup and father thought that he had been out and about with some friends who discovered afterwards that they had covid so he called me and he said, oh no, and I said Oh no. I said Look Abby, you got to go right now and get one of those emergency tests. I'm those ones that like come back quick you don't have to wait for three days. But they were all closed. So on Saturday he went, he got the test and last yesterday afternoon, late he sent me the message. Thank God, is negative. So I did what I never do, which is...

I had a good night's sleep last night. I wasn't awake ruminating on my sermon. I wasn't thinking of all of the pastoral things I would have to do in the morning. No, I just enjoyed it, just enjoyed it. I woke up in a leisurely way. I said goodbye to present there. I came to the Church and I thought, you know, maybe I should check my phone, check the phone. Text from Father Thomas. One of my child's tests came back positive. We got it very late last night. I tried to call but your phone was off. I'm not coming and neither is my family. You know, so many of my wishes of late...

...have been smashed to pieces by divine providence that I'm tempted to preach this morning on the last verse of the Epistle Lesson, where St Paul says let no man caused me any more trouble, except that it's not a man causing me trouble. It's the Lord God saving me and Father Thomas and you by his divine providence. So instead I'm going to entitle the sermon this morning nineteen twenty one. That's what I'm going to entitle my sermon, nineteen twenty one. And by the way, I'm making this up right now. This entire sermon I created about three minutes before or throw started. Nineteen twenty one is a...

...precious text in the proverbs and it goes like this. The heart of man has many plans, but the counsel of the Lord will stand. The heart of man has many plans and the counsel of the Will Lord, but the counsel of the Lord will stand. Man Proposes, God disposes. This is the God that we sought served. It's good to have plans. People who love God, people who are seeking first the Kingdom of God, people who are invested in seeking salvation for themselves and for all that they know and love. Of course you have to have plans. Not Having plans as a big commentary upon a very great lack of love. People who have love plan to... good as much as they can to those that are around them. But every plan we learn not just from nineteen twenty one, although that summits it sums it up perfectly. Every plan we learn to set forth in faith. This is why Saint James, the brother of the Lord, says in his epistle in chapter four, don't say today or tomorrow, I will go to such and such and sit a city and I will engage in business there and I will make a profit. Don't talk that way, he says, but say rather, if God wills, I will live and even do such and such. Now that is a text about the providence of God and about our confidence in God and how we make our plans. We make our plans,...

...yes, and we have been making plans, lots of them, and we've been trying to, with God's help and grace, execute them. We trust that they're good and that they will have a good end, and the intent of our plans is to glorify God and to do good to our children. But whenever our plans run up against the Providence of God for us, the solution that responds, brothers and sisters to that is, may his name be praised, glory to God, thank God. It's not despair, it's not sadness and depression and it's certainly not anger. No, it's THY will be done, O Lord. Together we can bow low before the unscrutable decisions of providence fully confident, fully confident that the decisions that God makes for us,...

...even when they cut off our good intentions, are because his plan is better for us. He's accomplishing better things than we were it would be able to accomplish if he executed our will do. We have to know what those things are to trust them. I think not. How was that trust? That's logic. I don't know why it's better for Father Thomas not to be here. Personally, it seems to me that to allow this precious priest and his family to be with us here on the last Sunday makes perfect sense, to allow him to be able to tell you how much she loves you and how thankful he has been for all of these eleven and a half years he's been here with his family, to tell you how much he loves you, to discharge that undischargeable debt of gratitude to you. I'm sure that Father Thomas is... home right now, Jeff, chomping on those nails, missing out so badly to be here to give you an opportunity to send him off with smiles and tears and kisses and love to meet. That sounds reasonable to me. That makes perfect sense. But there was something better and we're living it right now. I have no idea what what that is, and maybe God will show it to us. I'm not sure, but whether he shows it to us in this life or not, I trust him. I believe in his providence. You know some people. They don't believe in a God that governs everything, and I feel very bad for them. Just think of how they respond, respond to terrible circumstances. No Comfort, no assurance that something good's...

...going to come out of it. Thank God we're not like that. Some don't have a great certainty that the world is being governed by a wise providence. Some believe that it is being governed by a wise providence, but they have no confidence that that means it's going to be good for them. This is the Muslim worldview. The Muslim God is powerful and governs the world, but in all his ninety nine names, brothers and sisters, you never once see the word love, the Supreme Love that we give, that we describe our God, who describes himself that way right? God is love. Can you imagine the fright? Something happens you know is from God, but maybe it's because God wants to throw you into hell right now. Maybe he's so angry with you that he just wants to squish you like a bug. This... the sorrow of fatalism and unfortunately it's it infects very much the Muslim worldview. This is not us. We believe that God is Almighty. We believe that his providence superintends literally everything in life. He is a great God and his wonders are beyond compare. He is so involved in our life that he sustaining all of the molecules in our body. At this moment, he's numbering the hairs, or, in some of your cases, past tense, he was numbering the hairs that fall off of your head every day. He knows more about you than you know about yourself, and he cares more about you than you care for yourself. This is the God we serve. This is why St John Chrissost them in his masterpiece on this subject, which is entitled...

...on the Providence of God, that he wrote, by the way, when he was in exile, being unjustly accused, beaten up by soldiers, lied about by the Emperor. His best friends were all being tortured, his faithful priests were serving the liturgy in orange groves because all their churches had been taken away from them. He was being surrounded by bandits, never knew if he was going to live another day, and he wrote this marvelous treatise on the providence of God in multiple chapters and he dedicated chapter six, the which is the heart of the treatise on the love of God, to explain that we interpret Providence, all of it, through the cross, and that was our gospel lesson today. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in him might not perish but have everlasting life.

This is the true God and this is why, brothers and sisters, on this day, in these circumstances which are completely unknowable to me, I praise the Lord and I bow down before him, trusting that his love is an action, even if I can't get it. I want you to trust him with me like that, and then we can just stay confident, and then we can offer God the language of loving acquiescence, with shame, with St John's for Sustem says, the appropriate language of a Christian, and circumstances like this, confident silence make his name be praised. We hope that you have enjoyed and have been edified by this presentation offered to you by Patristic Nectar Publications, a nonprofit organization committed to nourishing the spiritually thirsty with the sweet teachings of...

...the Holy Fathers. If you are interested in other available titles or if you would like more information on patristic nectar publications, please visit our website at www dot patristic nectar dot org. Again, that's www dot petristic nectar dot org.

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