The Arena
The Arena

Episode · 10 years ago

Divine Gladness or Diving Gladness?

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Ancient Faith Radio and patristic nectar publications present the arena Sunday homilies and theological reflections with Father Josiah trennor. For he beheld the divine cross as a bright, flashing trophy. With it was he victorious over all who opposed him, and he destroyed the deceit and error of all 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 goodness of heart and THY ready obedience. He, through reason, captured thee when unreasoned ruled over Thee, and, having made thee to shine in heart and mind, with a certain knowledge of godly piety, he showed thee to the world 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 some of the lectures in an eight part lecture series entitled God's Statesmen, Pious Christian kings. patristic nectar publications invites you to download the first of these eight lectures here at ancient faith radio. For more information and the remaining lectures, please visit our website and www dot patristic nectar dot org and now here's father just Siah Trenum, with the Sunday promily, the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit, One god Christ, is risen. I greet you, brothers and sisters, on this Antipasca, on this new Sunday of St Thomas. I want to...

...relate to an interesting conversation I had with 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 baptized Catholic, but I don't practice any particular religion. I appreciate all religion and I tried to find the good in Muslim and Buddhist and hindrewed sacred text and everything I can get my hand on. And I responded to him by saying it'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, Jesus Christ, 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 bad except our own feeble judgments and I told him. But for me, listening to you, I must say I can't put Jesus in that category. I can't just line him up with good Hindu text and good Buddhist texts and good Muslim texts. Forgive me, but that's not my understanding of Jesus. He's off the charts. And the man responded to me and said I agree with that. Jesus was the best. It was a telling conversation. It was telling in that it represents the mindset of so many in our land, a thoroughgoing relativism, a desire to affirm everything without really affirming anything upon which you can base your life and certainly in this quest a resistance at the idea that any religious tradition has any more truth than any other. And, because we're in America, always a slight bow to Jesus and acknowledgement that there's something different with him. But just what that thing...

...is that's different with him is exactly what 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 to bow this difference between the world's great and influential religious teachers and Jesus is found precisely the in not what Jesus taught as much as who he is and what he did. Yes, Jesus was a rabbi. Yes, he is the supreme teacher, but when we confess our faith in him before God, the community 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 in the creed. In fact, we confess who he is and what he's done. 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. Then we go on and we confess what he's done. WHO, for US men and for our salvation, came down from heaven, was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became man. He suffered and was buried and rose again 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 no other man had spoken. This is what sets our savior completely apart from the best efforts of men in the world. I read a fascinating interview this week that thrilled my heart. Ie. Nothing I could have read better in brightweek. It was the story and interview, a personal interview with a very prestigious British philanthropist and the owner of the acrid...

...in Stanley British soccer team and the former Muslim now convert to the Christian faith. Ill You ask Khan. Mr Kahn is a convert to the faith from his religion of his birth and his upbringing, Islam. And in the interview he spoke about what brought him to the conversion, what brought him to faith, and he says it wasn't so much a push out of Islam. It's not that he was repulsed by his faith. It was the poll of Jesus. It was the poll. He describes the definitive moment of his conversion to Christ when he was visiting Rome and he went into St Peter's and he walked by Michael Angelo's Pieta and he gazed upon the virgin holding the broken body of the Lord Christ. I'll read you his words. He was asked, was it the beauty of the Pieta that struck you? He said yes, and the context this is God. I thought, this really is God. And he goes on, he goes you must remember that one of the big things when we look at traditional Islam is the 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 religion is so simple and so direct. And the interviewer continues, you mean the fact that Jesus is not just the Prophet but God himself? Yes, absolutely, and I think at that moment I remember it distinctly. It still moves me to tears. There was no doubt in my mind. As I was preparing 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 the identity of his son. All over the world, as people encounter the Gospel. As people meet Christians, as this man did, and hear the story of Jesus, they recognize very clearly he's not some second Muhammad, he's not some 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 the God man is all determined native. It's precisely who Jesus is and what he's done in conquering sin, the devils and death that determine our whole life, that orient the Christian life. By his resurrection, he has ushered in the Kingdom 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 for us and the way that it expresses itself is with an unspeakable in the words of 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, but with reserve, because I was standing in the altar on bright Wednesday. On Bright Wednesday, our clergy in southern California gather around our hierarch, our father and god His Eminence, Archbishop Joseph, as we do every bright Wednesday, and we have a clergy liturgy. And so we were down at our cathedral in Los Angeles and we were all vested in standing in the altar and we were 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 that the pois Dominos had been gracious to make for all the priests so that we could 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 then I want to tell you how it was actually printed. Ode A. Come on this auspicious day of the Resurrection, let us partake of the new fruit of the vine of divine gladness and of the Kingdom of Christ, praising Him as God unto the ages. This is the Troparion, of Beautiful Troparion. There was, however, a bump in the liturgical road. There was a misprint, 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, a minority I'm sure, because it was some time ago, that a most revered but unnamed and Pious Deacon was once reading a Gospel text in a unnamed Church around the time of Nativity, and he came to announce that the wise men had 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 into the whole Nativity story. I really haven't...

...figured that one out yet. But in this ode eight, this bright Wednesday, it wasn't two letters, it was just one. It was just one that made all the difference. Instead of the words partaking of the new fruit of the vine of divine gladness and the Kingdom of Christ. The text read partaking of the new fruit of the vine, of the vine of diving gladness. And when I read that, I said, 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 of despair. 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 says this. 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 our normative life, this is the way that we live. You know, brothers and sisters, that's why this Sunday, St Thomas Sunday is called also in the church Antiposca, or the New Sunday, because our Lord chose to appear to his disciples after his resurrection repeatedly on This Day, the first day of the week here Yaki. That's why it's called Kitty a key. It is the day of the Lord. It's the day in which he appeared to Thomas Exactly one week after the resurrection, to renew POSCA. This is what we do 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 a tremendous impact upon us. It's impossible to live in the radiance of gladness and enjoy without faithfully coming to renew our celebration of POSCA every Sunday. It's why we 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 missed out and he didn't have the joy of the others and even disbelieved it because he was missing from the gathering of the Faithful. I've had a beautiful conversation with an inquirer in the church yesterday. This is a good week. Fruitful interactions I was asking this inquirer who was requesting to become a catechuman. I was asking this inquire about his relationship to the services. He's been coming for some months very faithfully. I said, tell me about that and he looked at me. He said, father, I came on such and such a date and I haven't left since, been to all the services. I can't live 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 martyrs under the persecuting Emperor Diocletian. This is end of the third beginning of the fourth 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 would like 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 our holy week. I don't think anyone can touch it, at least not within a five mile readiest. But we have a lot, we have a lot to learn about sustaining POSCA. You know, one of the loneliest weeks of 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. The church 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 so many services during bright week, is to really infuse within us the celebration of 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 going to come next year. Choose one liturgy. There's lots of liturgies. Come to the AGPE vespers, maybe on Pasca afternoon, when we read the Gospel in as many languages as we possibly can, announcing the resurrection of Christ all men, and you take that. Thank you. I know that if you do, 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 services before and the rest of your life you'll go to something in Bright Week and you 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 by this presentation offered to you by Patristic Nectar Publications, a nonprofit organization committed to nourishing this spiritually thirsty with the sweet teachings of the Holy Fathers. Until next time,.

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