The Arena
The Arena

Episode · 9 years ago

Divine Gladness or Diving Gladness?

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Ancient Faith Radio and patristic nectar publicationspresent the arena Sunday homilies and theological reflections with Father Josiah trennor. For hebeheld the divine cross as a bright, flashing trophy. With it was hevictorious over all who opposed him, and he destroyed the deceit and error ofall the idols, while making strong throughout the World Orthodox faith and practice.First of Christian kings, since the king of all created things foresaw thy goodnessof heart and THY ready obedience. He, through reason, captured thee when unreasonedruled over Thee, and, having made thee to shine in heart andmind, with a certain knowledge of godly piety, he showed thee to theworld as a shining sun that sendeth forth the beams of all Godly deeds,wise and glorious constanty. What you have just heard are sound bites from someof the lectures in an eight part lecture series entitled God's Statesmen, Pious Christiankings. patristic nectar publications invites you to download the first of these eight lectureshere at ancient faith radio. For more information and the remaining lectures, pleasevisit our website and www dot patristic nectar dot org and now here's father justSiah Trenum, with the Sunday promily, the name of the father and ofthe son and of the Holy Spirit, One god Christ, is risen.I greet you, brothers and sisters, on this Antipasca, on this newSunday of St Thomas. I want to...

...relate to an interesting conversation I hadwith someone in Riverside this week who greeted me and asked about my faith.The person told me that he was baptized Catholic. He said I was baptizedCatholic, but I don't practice any particular religion. I appreciate all religion andI tried to find the good in Muslim and Buddhist and hindrewed sacred text andeverything I can get my hand on. And I responded to him by sayingit's a good principle look for good in every place and where you find it, give thanks to God for it, using the revelation of God, JesusChrist, as a touchstone to measure what is good and what is not.Without Him we have no touch though. We don't know what's good or badexcept our own feeble judgments and I told him. But for me, listeningto you, I must say I can't put Jesus in that category. Ican't just line him up with good Hindu text and good Buddhist texts and goodMuslim texts. Forgive me, but that's not my understanding of Jesus. He'soff the charts. And the man responded to me and said I agree withthat. Jesus was the best. It was a telling conversation. It wastelling in that it represents the mindset of so many in our land, athoroughgoing relativism, a desire to affirm everything without really affirming anything upon which youcan base your life and certainly in this quest a resistance at the idea thatany religious tradition has any more truth than any other. And, because we'rein America, always a slight bow to Jesus and acknowledgement that there's something differentwith him. But just what that thing...

...is that's different with him is exactlywhat we have to say to our land, and it's hard for many to articulate. What is it that sets Jesus apart? Why do we have tobow this difference between the world's great and influential religious teachers and Jesus is foundprecisely the in not what Jesus taught as much as who he is and whathe did. Yes, Jesus was a rabbi. Yes, he is thesupreme teacher, but when we confess our faith in him before God, thecommunity and the world, when we confess the second paragraph of the nicene creed, these are not the things we say. We don't him his great teaching inthe creed. In fact, we confess who he is and what he'sdone. I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the son of God. That is what sets Jesus apart from any other teacher in the world.He is Curios, he is divine, he's God's son by nature. Thenwe go on and we confess what he's done. WHO, for US menand for our salvation, came down from heaven, was incarnate of the HolySpirit and the Virgin Mary and became man. He suffered and was buried and roseagain from the dead on the third day, according to the scriptures.This is what sets Jesus apart, his divine identity and his salvific work.You won't hear anything there about his great preaching, though it was like noother man had spoken. This is what sets our savior completely apart from thebest efforts of men in the world. I read a fascinating interview this weekthat thrilled my heart. Ie. Nothing I could have read better in brightweek. It was the story and interview, a personal interview with a very prestigiousBritish philanthropist and the owner of the acrid...

...in Stanley British soccer team and theformer Muslim now convert to the Christian faith. Ill You ask Khan. Mr Kahnis a convert to the faith from his religion of his birth and hisupbringing, Islam. And in the interview he spoke about what brought him tothe conversion, what brought him to faith, and he says it wasn't so mucha push out of Islam. It's not that he was repulsed by hisfaith. It was the poll of Jesus. It was the poll. He describesthe definitive moment of his conversion to Christ when he was visiting Rome andhe went into St Peter's and he walked by Michael Angelo's Pieta and he gazedupon the virgin holding the broken body of the Lord Christ. I'll read youhis words. He was asked, was it the beauty of the Pieta thatstruck you? He said yes, and the context this is God. Ithought, this really is God. And he goes on, he goes youmust remember that one of the big things when we look at traditional Islam isthe heresy, in their opinion, of equating the mortal Jesus with God.And if there is ever an obstacle that a Moslam convert have to contend with, intellectually and emotionally more than anything else, that is it. At that moment, in front of the Pieta, I realize the truth of our religionis so simple and so direct. And the interviewer continues, you mean thefact that Jesus is not just the Prophet but God himself? Yes, absolutely, and I think at that moment I remember it distinctly. It still movesme to tears. There was no doubt in my mind. As I waspreparing for Saint Thomas, thinking of his...

...doubt and how the Lord removed it. He didn't just remove it then, he continues to remove doubt in theidentity of his son. All over the world, as people encounter the Gospel. As people meet Christians, as this man did, and hear the storyof Jesus, they recognize very clearly he's not some second Muhammad, he's notsome new Buddha, he's not someone who's going to give us some beautiful sutras. This man is the son of God who saves the race of mankind.The touch of Saint Thomas Experience continues and coming to faith in Jesus as theGod man is all determined native. It's precisely who Jesus is and what he'sdone in conquering sin, the devils and death that determine our whole life,that orient the Christian life. By his resurrection, he has ushered in theKingdom of God and he has granted to us now a different heavenly life.We call it everlasting life, eternal life, and he's granted it to us.It's a quality of existence, it's the quality of being freed from death. This is what we possess and this is what we live it's normative forus and the way that it expresses itself is with an unspeakable in the wordsof St Peter, an unspeakable gladness and joy because of what we've been given. I had there was a great irony this week. I left, butwith reserve, because I was standing in the altar on bright Wednesday. OnBright Wednesday, our clergy in southern California gather around our hierarch, our fatherand god His Eminence, Archbishop Joseph, as we do every bright Wednesday,and we have a clergy liturgy. And so we were down at our cathedralin Los Angeles and we were all vested in standing in the altar and wewere chanting the postcle Canon, those beautiful...

...nine odes celebrating our Savior's triumph,and we came to the eighth and I was holding a little printed book thatthe pois Dominos had been gracious to make for all the priests so that wecould follow along, and we came to this beautiful troparion in the eighth od. Let me read it to you as it's supposed to be, and thenI want to tell you how it was actually printed. Ode A. Comeon this auspicious day of the Resurrection, let us partake of the new fruitof the vine of divine gladness and of the Kingdom of Christ, praising Himas God unto the ages. This is the Troparion, of Beautiful Troparion.There was, however, a bump in the liturgical road. There was amisprint, there was a mint print, and it only involved one letter.Now you all know that several letters, if you get several letters wrong,that can really alter things. Some of you might remember, though, aminority I'm sure, because it was some time ago, that a most reveredbut unnamed and Pious Deacon was once reading a Gospel text in a unnamed Churcharound the time of Nativity, and he came to announce that the wise menhad come to the Christ child bearing their gifts of gold, Frankenstein and Merr. Now, if you actually examine those five letters, Steyn and sense,you'll recognize that there's only two letters difference. They share three of the five letters. But arrangement and even two letters difference can really change the meaning.And I think we've all been trying to figure out exactly how Frankenstein fits intothe whole Nativity story. I really haven't...

...figured that one out yet. Butin this ode eight, this bright Wednesday, it wasn't two letters, it wasjust one. It was just one that made all the difference. Insteadof the words partaking of the new fruit of the vine of divine gladness andthe Kingdom of Christ. The text read partaking of the new fruit of thevine, of the vine of diving gladness. And when I read that, Isaid, isn't that truth? On possible to go to the heavens?We're dancing with gladness and joy and then we're diving back into the pit ofdespair. This is too much of a description. Diving gladness of my life. I'm resolved against it. PASCA establishes a new way of life for us, brothers and sisters, not for one day, not for one day,for the rest of our days and for eternity. The Kingdom of Christ,which is of unspeakably radiant and divine gladness, is our possession. Say Paul saysthis. He says the Kingdom of God's not about eating and drinking,it's about righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. This is ournormative life, this is the way that we live. You know, brothersand sisters, that's why this Sunday, St Thomas Sunday is called also inthe church Antiposca, or the New Sunday, because our Lord chose to appear tohis disciples after his resurrection repeatedly on This Day, the first day ofthe week here Yaki. That's why it's called Kitty a key. It isthe day of the Lord. It's the day in which he appeared to ThomasExactly one week after the resurrection, to renew POSCA. This is what wedo every Sunday. This is why we...

...come to church so faithfully every Sunday, because it's a renewal of the celebration of Jesus's Resurrection, which has atremendous impact upon us. It's impossible to live in the radiance of gladness andenjoy without faithfully coming to renew our celebration of POSCA every Sunday. It's whywe don't kneel. It's why we stand with joy Sunday in and Sunday out, and note this how upset Thomas was because he was absent, he missedout and he didn't have the joy of the others and even disbelieved it becausehe was missing from the gathering of the Faithful. I've had a beautiful conversationwith an inquirer in the church yesterday. This is a good week. Fruitfulinteractions I was asking this inquirer who was requesting to become a catechuman. Iwas asking this inquire about his relationship to the services. He's been coming forsome months very faithfully. I said, tell me about that and he lookedat me. He said, father, I came on such and such adate and I haven't left since, been to all the services. I can'tlive without them. About to myself. You're right. I kept thinking.I kept thinking of a beautiful account of the martyrdom of a collection of martyrsunder the persecuting Emperor Diocletian. This is end of the third beginning of thefourth century. Diecletian was complaining against the Christians for gathering together on Sundays,and the martyr told him we can't live without our gatherings on the Lord's Day. We can't live, which is absolutely true. We really celebrate PASCA beautifully, in my opinion. I dance our...

...celebration of Paska. But I wouldlike to encourage with you with something. Can you accept it from me?Can you accept a little pastoral poke? I like to hear you say yes, because then the chances that you're actually gonna take it are much higher.We have such a beautiful Paska and honestly, I don't think anyone can touch ourholy week. I don't think anyone can touch it, at least notwithin a five mile readiest. But we have a lot, we have alot to learn about sustaining POSCA. You know, one of the loneliest weeksof the year for me liturgically, is bright weak. It's not right.It's not right. PASCA's not one day and Paska isn't just Sundays. Thechurch appoints a week, a week with unique services that are very chipper,radiant. Brief. It's called Bright Week, and this is why we have somany services during bright week, is to really infuse within us the celebrationof our Savior's resurrection, and then we maintain it each Sunday throughout the year. But here's my poke. I want you to take bright week more seriously. I want you to Cho who's one day in bright week that you're goingto come next year. Choose one liturgy. There's lots of liturgies. Come tothe AGPE vespers, maybe on Pasca afternoon, when we read the Gospelin as many languages as we possibly can, announcing the resurrection of Christ all men, and you take that. Thank you. I know that if youdo, then you will be so delighted. You'll be just like that other person. You'll say, I can't believe I didn't come to bright week servicesbefore and the rest of your life you'll go to something in Bright Week andyou will taste more deeply of the divine...

...gladness and it won't be diving.Christ has risen. We hope that you have enjoyed and have been edified bythis presentation offered to you by Patristic Nectar Publications, a nonprofit organization committed tonourishing this spiritually thirsty with the sweet teachings of the Holy Fathers. Until nexttime,.

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