The Arena
The Arena

Episode · 4 months ago

Don't Stand at the Crossroads | Sunday after Exaltation of the Cross


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 FatherJosiah 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 muchbeloved by believers, not only for its Christological typology, in which it setsforth the death, burial, plundering of Hades and resurrection of our Lord JesusChrist, 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 patristicnectar dot org. And now the arena with Father Josiah Trenem. The nameof the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit, a blessedLord's they to all of you. Brothers and sisters. I prepare to homilythis morning on the Gospel text that I've entitled. Don't stand at the crossroads. But it also happens to be the feast day today of Saint Theodore ofTarsus, the Archbishop of Canterbury and my English blood. It's moving right now. It's moving and I'm feeling drawn to a sermonette on St Theodore of Canterbury. This incredible saying to was a Greek, Theodoros. He was a Greek,this is seventh century, very accomplished Greek monk and scholar, a professorof the Holy Fathers, who then went and was residing in Rome and thenwas sent by the Pope to England, which was no longer a dominion ofthe Roman Empire. After Rome fell, Brittannia, the furthest farthest western provinceof the Roman Empire, was given up to the hands of the barbarians.But the church was going crazy in this in the islands, and Theodore wentand on was under saying theodora tarsis that the Anglo Saxons, who had beenchristianized, mostly right. They had been come Germanic tribes that had came intoEngland as Pagans. Many of them had been one for Christ, and theCELTS, who had been pushed out to...

Wales and Ireland and in the north. They came together and sat theodore was able to join the church together andunify the English Orthodox Church. He Law. Also was an incredible pastor and leftus a pastoral rule for healing Penitence, a detailed confessional guide that, Iconfess, I've used more times than I can possibly count in my priesthood. But I won't preach about Saint Theodore today. I am highly encouraging everyone, though, to read the life of St Theodore of Tarsus and to listento it on PNP if you haven't. In the Senexarian today. Instead,I want to say a few words about the Holy Cross. This is theSunday after the Exaltation of the Cross, which we celebrate on the fourteen ofSeptember every year. The Cross, as you see, is in our midst. We enthrone the cross we lifted high on this feast and we keep itfor this whole week in the midst of the people so that we can constantlybow down before Christ and venerate the wood of our salvation. will do thatagain at the end of the service today. The Gospel Lesson is about the Cross, but the Gospel lesson has been chosen by the church for the Sundayafter the exultation to make a connection between our Savior's cross and ours, thecross that we adore, upon which our savior conquered death, triumphed over thedevils in a tone for our sins. This cross he extends to us andhe asks us to share with him in his cross and he measures a crossto each of us. You heard it in the Gospel just now. Ifyou want to follow me, if you desire to be my disciples, hesaid, you must take up your cross and follow me your cross. Youhave to pick it up, you have to carry it. You know,the cross for us, brothers and sisters, is adored, bowed down before andalso we look at the cross with terror, especially the cross in ourlives. It makes us nervous, we fear often our own cross, andthe church encourage is us not to do that, but to love the crossthat God gives to us, to love the cross that belongs to us.St John Krassostom says when you were baptized in the act of Chrismation. Thisis in his collection of catechetical lectures, which are duly famous. You mightremember some of you people who were here for them magnificent great Saturday in twothousand and seventeen when we were so pleased... have father Kalinni Burger here servingwith me, and he gave a marvelous homily. It was exclusively from thecatechutical lectures of St John Chrysostom. Chrisisom says that when the priest puts histhumb on your head and he traces your head with sacred Chrism, the crossis a fixed to you and that from that moment the devils are terrified ofyou because they see the lightning flash forth from your head and they see theweapon that destroyed them. This is what you bear. Brothers and sisters,there's so much talk today because of the dysphoria that we're living in, thisdystopic reality and all the weird authoritarianism everywhere. There's a lot of talk about themark of the beast. Oh, is this the mark of the beastor is that the mark of the beast? I hear that a lot. Youknow there's one on reference to the mark of the beast, one andthe entire scripture. The mark of the Cross is the whole purpose of scripturefrom Genesis to revelation. The Cross of Christ is the mark of God onyou, and Chrys system is emphasizing the cross, the mark that you shouldbe concerned about, but the mark that we need to be meditating on,brothers and sisters, the real danger and this moment is not cherishing the markof Christ in your life. You heard Jesus Tell you in the Gospel today, warn each of us not to be ashamed of him, to carry ourcross without shame, lest he be ashamed of us when he comes in theglory of his father and with all the holy angels. This is the markwe should be concerned about, living in accordance with that which is fixed onyou in the rights of initiation. You bear it, brothers and sisters,right there, and you make it constantly with your own hands. You tracethe precious cross. Kissing the cross is the most natural thing for you todo. Living a life of prostration before this our saviors saving work, thisis our life, this is our glory, this is our boast. To Day, this Sunday is teaching us that Jesus doesn't want us to be justobservers of his crucifixion. He wants us to be participants with him in hissuffering. That's the message of to day. Of course, we we gather togetherin holy week to observe our Savior's passion with complete sobriety breathlessness, butwe don't just watch it, we get...

...baptized into it. We embrace itfor ourself and if we dare to call ourselves disciples, we have picked itup. We're not standing at the cross roads of our life. We've actuallytaken action. We've picked up the Cross of Christ, we've accepted it,and if we haven't, we are no disciples of the master. That's clear. If you want to be my disciples, take up your cross and follow me. The context in which our Savior said this in the Holy Gospel,as we read it to day, in March, Chapter Eight, Jesus hadjust begun to prepare his disciples to understand he was going to go through horriblesufferings. Jesus just began, in Chapter Eight, Verse Thirty One, totell his disciples, look, I am going to be betrayed into the handsof men, I'm going to suffer, I'm going to be murdered. Thisis what he told them. Is What's coming. The disciples were so scandalized, so completely undone by Jesus is prediction, and he would say the same thingin mark nine and the same thing in mark ten, preparing them overand over and over again for what was coming. They were so scandalized thatthey immediately contradicted him. The disciples became the teachers and they began to teachJesus and Peter, as the leader, not just in righteousness but in thiscase in sin, stood up to Jesus and said May it never be Lord, that will never happen to you. And then Jesus said what I'm surenone of you have ever said. I really doubt it. You know afew times in my life when I've really been having to let someone have it. I had to do that some years ago, I think in two thousandand fourteen. You might remember the video I made to suppose are congressman andhis outrageous disrespect for our district and the promoting of abortion and homosexuality and manyother things. I made a video and even in that video, as Iwas documenting his immoral political stands that he was literally shoving down our throats,even then in my video I said look, people, he's not the devil.He's making many, many bad mistakes and he's not representing us well,and I tried personally to convince him to change and he has resisted me.I said, but he's not the devil.

That was my being nice and tryto help people to be reasonable. Jesus, put all that niceness aside. And that is exactly what he called Peter. He looked at Peter andhe said, get behind me, Satan. Oh my gosh, can you imagineever actually calling someone of the Devil? This is exactly what our Lord didto Peter. He called him the devil. And then, to makematters worse, not only did he call Peter Satan for the thought that thecross shouldn't happen, he made it worse than said it. Not only amI going to die, so are you and so is everyone who follows me. That's what it means to take up your cross, brothers and sisters.It doesn't mean to go to Byzantium Dot Org and by yourself a really nicegold cross so that you can look classy when you come out of the Baptismalfunt. This is not the idea. This is not the idea. Nothingwrong with looking classy and by the Byzantium Dot Org might have really great crosses. The idea is you're going to pick up this instrument of death and you'regoing to choose me and the Gospel over your own life. This is us, this is what we're doing, brothers and sisters. We've chosen to followChrist above everything else. We've chosen to bear our cross, and I wantto encourage you to do it how like this. First, don't hesitate.This is where I got the title from my homily. Don't stand at thecross roads. That actually comes from an account of the recently glorified elder Piscios, sae Pi seos was discussing, as he did many, many times,with a group of young men, and these young men were marriageable age and, like men are these days, extremely hesitant about making the commitment to getmarried. Never have we had a greater crisis in men deciding to get marriedthan we do to day. IMMEN's hesitants, fear, concern and he says,elder Poissio said to these men, look, don't stand at the crossroads in your life. There's two ways of life that the church blesses.And then he said these powerful words, choose your cross and then carry itunto The crucifixion of Christ if you want to rejoice in the resurrection. Thisis what he said. Stop hesitating. Make a decision. Get married orbecome a monk. Make a decision. Don't stand at the cross roads ofyour life. He said. We're aging, were all getting older, life ispassing us by. Don't stand at...

...the cross roads. This is myfirst encouragement, and that is to embrace. Take it up. Take up thecross of your faith, and your faith has a double cross, debar. You have a dogma cross and you have a practice cross. These daystoo, as it always has been, to confess the Christian faith is ascandal. It was a scandal to the Jews at the time of our Lord. It was a scandal to the Romans. The Greeks thought it was utter totalfoolishness. And Christians, by confessing their belief in Jesus, by sayingI'M A Christian and I follow Christ, they were bearing the cross of Dogma. Their faith cost them something, and it should you also. Don't hideyour faith. Carry your cross of your faith, carry the cross of practice, of Orthodox Christian living. Bear the way of life that we have keeplove first, and when love is first, that means not participating in degrading things, not joining in the abuse of a colleague, not making fun ofHandicap people, not being racist and treating people less because their skins different.That's a failure to bear the cross of your practice. We have to carryour cross, carry the cross, which very much means bear the pains ofyour own existence. Bear the pains of your own we all have them.The pains of getting old, the pains of getting sick, the pains ofstaying married peaceably, the pains of raising children. These are the the painsthat we suffer, the pains of being faithful in your job. This isthe cross of your own existence and Christ is calling you to bear it.Carry it until the end, until you can't anymore, till it's done.Bear the Cross of witness. Sometimes, being a witness and speaking about Christis very difficult, pushing yourself such that you are able to speak about Christwithout your neighbor laughing at you because of the dissonance between your life and yourwords. This is a cross of witness, the cross of ridicule and persecution,the cross of repentance. What about that? Is it not a crossto bear, to stay in a disposition...

...of repentance and to Constantly Watch yoursoul? Yes, I encourage you all to take up your crosses as onechoose, and don't stand at the crossroads. Also, Carry Your Cross with pridein Christ. For Goodness Sake, who are we more proud of?And the Lord? Who are we more proud of? Oh my gosh,we're thrilled every time we hear his voice, every time we witness one of themiracles that he's performing. Laughed and right in our parish and our families. Jesus should be on our lips, the sweetest name that exists in theuniverse. Let's carry our cross and be happy about it that we get tothat we get to belong to him. Banish, by Your Pride in Christ, all shame associated with being a Christian. Why in the world would we everbe concerned about making the Cross in public? Why in the world allthe angels that are in public are dancing and rejoicing? All of creation isdancing every time you make the cross. The air thanks you. The BirdsChirp into your ears a loud voice of appreciation. The dogs and the catslook up with a happiness. I promise you. The whole creation rejoices inthe cross. Why would we care or be ashamed of making the Cross inpublic with pride in him, not in ourselves, in him. And lastly, carry the cross, dear ones, with love. Just think of allof the things that husbands and wives are willing to do for each other,the hard things, when there's love. Think of what friends will sacrifice foreach other when there's love. Think of what mothers will do for children,Gargantuan feats, happily at great personal sacrifice, because of love. Think of whatsoldiers have done for this country because of love, their patriartical love.St Augustine and his commentary on this text. He says, look, bearing thecross, as intimidating as it is. It becomes easy because of love,because love makes all things easy. This is why our Savior says thathis yoke is light. It's not burdensome to follow him, to be histo keep his commandments, when there's love.

I encourage you. You know,brothers and as there's a faith that costs us nothing, is worth absolutelynothing. God forbid that we have a faith like that. Instead, let'stake it up bear it with bride in Christ and also with love, untilwe can be with him coment. We hope that you have enjoyed and havebeen edified by this presentation offered to you by Patristic Nectar Publications, a nonprofitorganization 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 moreinformation on patristic nectar publications, please visit our website at www dot patristic nectardot org. Again, that's www dot patristic nectar dot org.

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