The Arena
The Arena

Episode · 9 years ago

Do Not Let Go of the Cross


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We need to hold the cross up and sayhis you have forgotten. Who God is? You have forgotten your sins and you're tearing our own nation inpieces because of it? Let us not forget the cross. Ancient faith, radio and patristicnectar publications present the arena Sunday Homilys and theologicalreflections with father, Jossiah, Trenna, Father Jessiah is the pastor of SaintAndrew Orthodox Christian Church in Riverside California. He is also thefounder of Patristic Nectarpublications, a nonprofit organization committed tonourishing the spiritually thirsty with the sweet teachings of the Holy Fathersfor more information on patristic NECTRA publications. Please visit ourwebsite at www, dot, patristic nectar, Dod, Org and now Father Jessiah, in the name of the father and of theson and of the Holy Spirid, one God, brothers and sisters. I was doing somereading yesterday. That recalled my mind to a trip that Itook many years ago, one thousand nine hundred and ninety seven Bresitera and I left and we went toGreece and we took with us little baby and ESTECIA. who was just a littlething? It was a memorable trip and we reallywent for two reasons: We went to venerate all of the holy sitesassociated with Saint Nictorials, and we wanted to go to the ancient cityof Tesuleniki to take pilgrimage to all those beautiful ancient visintinchurches. It was on that visit in fact that the design of this church came tomy mind from Saint Catharine church at Theslyniki. It was a memorable thipalso because I had never been to Greece before and Iwas a Californian. I didn't know that priests shouldn't be zooming around onscooters with their cassocks. We would pass the Yayas on the side of the roadand they would be so aghast at Saeing, a priest, a Presinthera and a baby in abagpack on a little scooter fomming around that they would cover theirfaces. So, finally, I just told Bresy Tera, as we go by just put your handsover my eyes. I don't want to see thei what they're,what they're saying what they're thinking on that trip we became. We were hosted by amagnificent priese bother, George is his name. He wastaking care of the Church of sit Minas, agiasminas, a very old, beautifulchurch in downtown that'Sleneki...

...and when he was giving us a tour of thechurch, he showed us just as we walked into the church, a gate, the main gateto the church, and he said one of our saints was martyred here. I couldn't believe my ears, and it was true- and in fact this Saint-his name is Cristodolos and his Feast Day was yesterday. Thisis why the whole trip came back to me. I was reading his life again. He on the twenty eighth of July washung by the Ottomens from the main gate of the church in seventeen seventyseven just a year after our country'sindependence, he had been a tailor. He was from Halkidi Kei just to the northeast of Teslyniki. He had come to apprentice as a tailorand on one occasion his heart was terriblygrieved because he saw a brother, a Bulgarian Christian living atThesleniki. He saw this brother actuallyapostesized and become a Muslin. He was so burdened. He was so upset that he decided then and there that he wasgoing to confront his brother and he was going to embrace martyrdom. So he went into his house and he gothis cross. He had a handcross and he went out into the street whereinside a roadside cafe his brother, his Bulgarian Christian brother wascelebrating his circumcision with some janisaries some soldiers, some autumn and soldiers, and he went, he walked in C. Ristoteliswalked into the cafe with his cross and he walked right up to his brother andhe said Hiss, the Lord and immediately the soldiers jumped up, beat him to a pulp, stabbed him manytimes and in that blooded condition. They brought him to the judge, becauseonly the judge could issue the order of execution and the judge began to criticize theman and the man looked at him. End said: Would you like to become a Christian and then he was condemned and hung tey weren't the Christians were notallowed to touch his body. They left it naked in the church courtyard for twodays before the Christians could get to it, and then he was given reverentburial and immediately the account of his lice, as miracle took place throughthe shreds of the rope used to hang his neck and from a little bit of hisgarments, so great as the grace of God sotriumphant over the fallenness of this world, an apprentice Taylor Saint.

He knew not to allow himself ever to beseparated from the cross of our Savior, and he also knew that his brother'smain problem was that he allowed himself to beseparated from the cross of our Savior. Don't let go of the Cross. Cristololos has a witness to this andhe was hoping to bring back his brother. He didn't think his brother couldactually look Jesus in the face there on the cross and continue following areligion that denies on principle that he ever went to the cross. We cannot let go of the Cross as long as we hold on to the cross aslong as it's first in our life, we will always remember who, God is, will remember how man loving he is whathes done for us, how much he seeks us and our heartswon't grow cold as long as we hold on to the cross.Well, also remember how terrible sin is how really awful our sins are so awful that the only way that wecould be saved and redeemed was the death of the son of God on that Cross and we'll have compunction, because ofthat and we'll have an attitude towards righteousness. That's fueled by thememory of the cross will avoid our sens and will work hardagainst to conquer our sins because of the Cross and brothers and sisters. If we hold ontightly to the cross, we also will hold on tightly to eachother. The Cross is the very unity of the church. The Cross and are being at the foot of the crossis what keeps US bound together in hard ened soul. This is why, in holy week, I can't I've. Never been able not towatch the most marvellous night on holyThursday night after weve read all the Gospels andafter the Lord is on the Cross and every one comes in darkness and expresses who they really are byfalling down in front of the cross of our Savior you're hearing thosebeautiful hymn son. He who hung the earth on the water to day is suspendedon the cross. I all was highed, usually on the side of the Church and watchuntil the last personis done, because this is when I see you for what youreally are. This is we're never more united thanthen and the Chalice and before the Cross, I'm telling you alloll this, becausethe pall, the temptation to forget who God is to think lightly of our sins and not totake them seriously and then to...

...fracture the church. It's alwaysprevalent and a big temptation. You heard it in the epistle lesson.Saint Paul wrote this Epistalessen to the Coranthians, because the churchthat itself was fractured into pieces. Some were saying I am of Paul. Otherswere saying I am of Cefhis or Peter Others were saying. I follow Apollos,you know how Paul solved that whole conflict that hideous embrace ofspiritual guruism following this priest and that bishop sick. You know how he solved tat. He sald itby asking one question: Have you heard it in the epistolessent was Paul trucified for you. That was his question later in the EEPISTOL. He would say theapostles they're, nothing one plants, another waters and Godcauses the growth. Apart from him, we are nothing. Thegreatest man, the greatest Christian leaders with the most magnificent gifts,are nothing more than tolkens of God's saving grace. This is what Pau believes.This is what he taught us to think. The person who is everything it's right there and staying in front of the Cross bowing before the Cross is the way thatwe remember that and that we hold on to each other tightly and Wen. Don't getbroken into a bunch of pieces. We are Christ, centered people and the church is his body and livingin the truth keeps us, loving God, humble about our sins and holding ontoeach other. In love now I want to put a thought in yourmind the conclusion my hormily. You know that the mil you in which welive today is not holding on to the Cross. We are very aggressively forgetting thecross in our society, and I don't just mean that we are hiding literal croses.We are doing that for twenty years, different governments, local state andfederal, have waged, or at least permitted to be wage, a war in the nameof secularism and a misreading of our constitution against crosses throughoutour land, and there are lawsuits designed either to get crosses, removedor protect crosses, because it's so natural for Christianpeople in a nation where eighty percent of the nation selfidentifies asChristians to place crosses everywhere, and we have them everywhere.

...butthat's, not what I mean when I saythat we're not holding on to the Cross. That's one small aspect, but what Imean by that is that we're not holding on to whatthe cross is proclaiming to us. We're not remembering the man lovingGod, which is why we're allowing ourselves as a nation to be enticed byso many other things, less worthy and less wonderful than the knowledge ofGod himself, because we're not looking at the cross,we're not remembering our sins and things that are forpair are forfathers.Our grandparents would not even speak out of their mouth or all over thepublic media everywhere. You look in society. Thisis because of a distancing from the cross and a rejection of believing inthe seriousness of sin that was only solved by Jesus's precious blood, noone who takes the cross seriously takes in lightly. Perhaps you heard this week about the conflict over the CEO and the company Chick Philly. I made some reference to them somemonth ago, because I found out that they keep their shops closed on Sundays,and I like that, I like that, but I was shocked to seethat simply because the company has as a policy to encourage the law of God, the following of theLavvgotden Society, because the company actually supports what the Church says is marriage. Whatthe Bible says in marriage, the company has come under massiveattack. Major mayors of Boston and Chicago actually had theGumpsion to suggest very clearly that the company has no future in their city, really that lasted about twenty hours. Until someone remindedthem what this nation is and something called the US Constitution andsomething called freedom of religion, they had to be reminded of it by themayor of New York City, and so they revised their statement andsaid well, we didn't really mean that they couldn't do business in our cities.It just means we don't share our values, so they added at both face, lie upontheir attack on Basic Christian things that principle that idea that if we don't goalong, if we don't go along with apostosy, if we don't take wickedness lightly,...

...then we aren't going to have a place todo business in this country. This is very important spirit for us to discernbrothers and sisters, and we have to hold the crossup and say kiss itbecause most of the people who are proclaiming that have memberships in churches in this land, most of themnot all of them. We need to hold the cross up and say his you have forgotten.Who, God is? You have forgotten your sins and you're tearing our own nation inpieces because of it? Let us not forget the Cross, let us not forget the cross and that wickedness Tegrades, a nation righteousness lifts up a nation exaltsanation for those of you who have beenfinishing up, trying to finish up strong in the Bible. Reading this month were about to enter the lastmonth, we've just finished. Reading theprophecies of Jeremiah fifty two chapters of incredible text,written mostly to believers, who had been taken intoexile into Babylon under nebacaneza Babylon, was the predominant power ofthe age and terribly degraded and immoral. Itwas not a place. Believers wanted to live, but Jeremiah told them take adeep breath. You're going to go there for a time,invest love that land spread out and multiply, and God will bring you backand then he made this beautiful prophecy. He wrote his final word on ascroll and he sent it with Seriah to go from Judah to Babylon and hewanted it red out publicly there, and then he told them in that prophecy. Heannounced the judgment that was coming on Babylon and the return of the exiles,and then he said when you're done, tie the scroll to a rock walk to the Euphrates River and throwit into the river and watch it sink. It was a prophetic symbol. He said because, asyou watch that SCIRL sink with the Rock so Babylon will sink. This is how he ended his prophesies brothers and sisters. Babylon became a type used by the apostles andthe fathers to describe a world system not serving God, asystem of darkness, Saint Peter and his first epistle when he's in Rome justbefore his martordom. He writes, and he says at the end. She who is in Babylonwith me, sends you greetings here: Hes Calling Rome and the Roman EmpireBabylon... empire that was stain that had hands dripping with theblood of Christians, Saint John and his apocalypse when he was riding therevelation and dictating it to Procoros. He describes in Gran detail the judgment that was to come upon thecity of the beast, the city of the false prophet, which was Babylon, and he prophesied in fact that for theblood of the saints on its hands, it would fall and the whole hollaluachorus bound in the nineteenth chapter of the revelation and made SOMfamous by handle the whole Halaluocorus Hololua. For the Lord, our God. TheAlmighty reinift is proclaimed by the people of God. In response to thefallen judgment of Babylon. I'm telling you all of his brothers andsisters so that you believe that Babylon will fall, Babylon will sink without question. Man Can rage. The gentiles can get all in a huff against the Lord's Crist, but they willfall and everyone who does not align himself with the Lord God will alsofall. We're not afraid we're not trembling, and it's notwritten America is Babylon. It's not written. America has no future. I hearthis all the time and it grieves me who is the prophet that announced thatAmerica is going to continue going down the tubes? Who is this person I have yet to find out his name. I'venever seen him validated by the people of God. I don't believe that what do you get this idea that America,because we've been on a downward slope, means that we're going to stay on adownward slope. All America is as a collection of individuals word more than that, but were not lessthan that. When you see an individual going down a hill, does that mean thatthey're going to continue down? Can individuals not change their minds isrepentance not possible? Is it not possible for someone WHO LOVESWICKEDNESS TO LEARN TO LOVE righteousness? Absolutely you all bearwitness to the fact that God changes hearts and enough of those hearts change.Nations change. Have you ever heard of a city called Nineva, the capital of the Assyrian Empire, sowicked that God sent Jonah there to announce his destruction and the Lordvisited them with repentance and he stayed his judgment and the peoplebecame believers. This is what I want to happen for ourcountry. I don't know if it will, I don't know, but let's not give the nation to the devil and say: Oh, itmust happen as though we believe in...

...fate as though we don't serve a God whorespects human freedom. We do, let's not talk that way and even ifthere's so many bad signs- and we say well, look what happened to Europe andwe're following in the same trend, don't give into fate pray for a return to the cross, hold it up and ask those who are tottering and areon the edge of Apostesy, and there are many we've never had as manyunbelievers and atheists in our country ever as we have now, those that you know and love hold thecross out to them. Let them see it, let them be reminded about the man,loving God. Let them be reminded of what thesolution to human sin is. Let them have the chance to be united together in theCross in the blood of Christ. May God hear us, God hear us and Exalt the cross of hisson, save us and our nation Armen. We hope that you have enjoyed and havebeen edified by this presentation offered to you by Patristic Nectar,Publications, a nonprofit organization committed to nourrishing thespiritually thirsty with the sweet teachings of the Holy Fathers. If you are interested in otheravailable titles or if you would like more information on patristic nectarpublications, please visit our website at t, www, dot, patristic, nectar,dodorg. Again, that's www dot, patristic nectar, Godal.

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