The Arena
The Arena

Episode · 1 year ago

Heaven | St. Luke 18


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 Male and Female Reflections on transgenderism. These lectures directly address this latest iteration of the sexual revolution and the sexual anarchy unleashed by a cultural rejection of the Christian theological foundations of creation, anthropology, sexuality and the traditional therapeutic paths of the church. These lectures explain why Christians cannot reasonably avoid studying transgender ideology in today's cultural climate, how this new world view on sexuality finds itself deficient in explaining and healing are falling human condition, and how love must compel believers to open their arms to persons seeking God from a transgendered background. For these and other available titles, please visit our website at patristic nectar dot org. And now the arena with Father Josiah Trennem the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit. A blessed Lord Thee to all of you, brothers and sisters, and best wishes as you continue your course through advent and through this Nativity fast. Thirsting to see the Christ child born in Bethlehem. This is what's coming. This is the happiness that's coming. I've entitled my Homily Today Simply Heaven. You know, as a pastor and as a father, my heart rejoices when I when I see my children, my brothers and sisters, traveling and exploring ...

...where we live. I love that. I love it when You'all tell me about hikes that you've made, new aspects of the San Bernadino Mountains, you've scaled, beautiful things that you've seen at the beach, when I hear about your investment in your neighborhoods, when you're your interest in our town, when I get article sent to me over the Internet from you about things that are happening in our city, good things, bad, sometimes too. I love that. Or when you go on journey throughout the state, or when I get to take the teens each summer to some new place in our state to see the marvel that is the state of California, or when and you make cross country trips. You know, the glory of citizenship is experienced and it's nurtured through that kind of thing. You study what you love. That's the bottom line and the things that you love you study. If you love your talent, you love your neighborhood, you're going to care, you're going to observe, you're going to become a center of stories and local histories. If you love your family, it's the same way. You're going to want to know about your forbears and about your relatives, the saints and the sinners alike. That's just how it is. We visit, we travel, we read our local, state and National Histories, we look to the examples of our great men and women in this land. We even study the core of the principles of our nation, our Constitution, that Marvelous Declaration of political philosophy that has enthralled the world until today. That's called the declaration of independence. These...

...things concern us. If they don't, forgive me, you're an idiot. You're an idiot and you're living off other people's greatness. But you're not idiots. Certainly not you, Nathan. Absolutely no, definitely not. We even study our national and local and state sins, and certainly there's lots of them. There's lots of them. When we learn from them and we mourn them, we don't pretend like so many people do today that that's all there is or that somehow, if a city or a state or a nation has sins, maybe even gross ones, that means you ought to just cancel them, just abandon them. They must be rotten to the core. Throw them out, burn them to the ground. If we followed that policy, we'd all be nothing but a pilot dust, every human person. There's no such thing as a city or a state or a nation without sins, unless you don't have any people living there. I just got done reading a marvelous book. It was written by one of my favorite authors. He was for many, many years a professor of classics at Cal State Fresno, and in these last years he's he's a multigeneration California farmer, an extremely brilliant man, a real scholar, especially of ancient Greco Roman military history, but he also is an acute student of our nation and of politics in general. His name is Victor Davis Hanson. I know some of you know him and read him. He's now up at the hoover institute at Stanford. He travels up, he hasn't...

...left his fres no kicks. I just read a marvelous book that he wrote that just came out. It's called the dying citizen. How progressivism, tribalism and globalization is destroying the idea of America. To marvelous text. I recommend it to you highly and extremely a penetrating, broad perspective. His classic background is enables him to talk about the challenges that are facing our country from a broad perspective, in relationship to history and other rises and falls of countries. It's good to nourish our citizenship, and citizenship, conscientious, loving citizenship is never more important than when a country's in trouble, as we most certainly are. I'm mentioning this to you because my heart rejoices in seeing us be invested in our country and in our state and in our city. But even more, I'm even more thrilled, my heart beats faster when I see you all thirsty for heaven itself, when I see you resolved to study the history and the future of that place that you also have citizenship in. Saint Paul says this in his epistle to the Philippians. In chapter three. He says our citizenship is in heaven, from which we anxiously await our coming savior. That's where our our roots are deepest. He didn't deny his Roman citizenship. He...

...even appealed to it on multiple occasions during his ministry. He cared about it. He was invested in Rome to in that sense, he was extremely widely traveled in the Roman Empire. I would have loved to have heard him talk about the Roman roads and what they meant to the Gospel and what they meant to the advance of the church and what he would say to day, if he lived with us on the earth here, about the opportunities for the Christian faith to day. We're people of dual citizenship. We have a citizenship here and we have a polytef Ma there. We're anchored there. That's our kingdom. That's where our people are in the next life. Heaven is a constant theme in the Gospel, the New Testament, from beginning to end. Heaven, Heaven, Heaven, heaven. There's four genres of literature in the New Testament. I think that's why I just said at four times. It's in the Gospel, sit's in the acts, it's in the epistles and it's in the apocalypse. Heaven Heaven under many different words. Sometimes the Kingdom of God, sometimes the Kingdom of Heaven, sometimes paradise, but wherever you look, there it is. And if you listen carefully, you would have heard it twice, both in the Epistle and the Gospel just now. In the epistle to the Ephesians and chapter two, Paul says that we have been raised up with Christ and seated in heavenly places so that in the coming ages that's also a beautiful reference. In the coming ages he will show the exceeding riches of his grace in kindness to us. In Christ Jesus, you right now,...

...even if you don't know what it means, aren't just seated here in this temple. You're seated in heavenly places with Christ. You're joined to him. Heaven in Jesus cannot be separated, dear ones, at all. Where he is he brings heaven with him and last time I look, he's in you, which means in some sense heaven is in you. Now. It's not just a foreign concept. The Gospel Has Heaven Front and Center as well. From Luke Eighteen. What does Jesus tell the man, the pious young man who wanted more a beautiful soul? He says look, sell everything you have. Wow, I bet he did not expect that. I bet he did not expect that. Jesus said so many things that there was no possible way anyone could have ever expected him to save them. Sell everything you have. If you want to make real progress, sell everything you have and give it to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven. It's hard, he says, for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. A person WHO's not end interrifted in his citizenship above a person who's not ambitious for heaven slakes his interior desire with earthly things. He tries to make Earth Heaven, which is such a frustrating effort, since it's not. If we wanted to add the saint of the day, we could continue with this theme of Heaven, because the Saint of today is an incredible man named Saint Stephen, a venerable martyr, a monk martyr. He's called Saint Stephen The new. He's...

...a great defender of the Holy Icons, Eighth Century Saint Stephen The knew, who ended his life by being dragged through the city and having an iconoclast heretic take a board and smash his head so that his brains dribbled out on the ground. By the way, that is that explicit in his life. Evidently, quite a few people saw it take place. That's what the heretics did with him, because he was such a vibrant witness to heaven and such a vibrant witness to the icons. Icons all around you, brothers and sisters, are bearing witness to one thing. The impact for coming in the Church and looking at these beautiful faces, all of whom are alive some place that we call heaven, are a tremendous impact on us if they alter our whole disposition in our thirst. If you came in here and it was just white walls, if we all became Presbyterian just for a moment, you would also have an impact on you. I had it growing up as a Presbyterian myself. That's a message itself. White walls is a message itself. All of these faces are saying something to you. What are they saying? They're saying come here, remember us, don't forget what your citizenship is. This is your future. This is the message of all of these saints. They're all looking right at you for a reason. Heaven wants to confront you. Heaven wants to have a dialog. Heaven wants to be important as an aspiration, the aspiration of your life. This is the witness of these things. That's why...

...sometimes you hear the church call icons windows to heaven. They bear witnessed that this is not where meant, this is not our home. We're so journers. We're party key parishioners. You know what that partkey means? perishoner means transience, spiritual transience. We're so journeying here in our journey to paradise which is to come. This is also why we paint the saints the way we do. We use dimensionality in the ICONOGRAPHY in order not to give to earthly a feel. When you stand in front of them, you look at them and they fully engage you, but we avoid three D is why we don't have statues in the church. Nothing wrong with statues. I'm hoping one day to have a marvelous, massive statue of Saint Andrew, probably on that hill right there overlooking the playground, maybe twenty feet built right into the side of the hill, all in marble and on his back his cross looking down over the kids. Yes, yes, I'm not joking, by the way. It's going to be part of a campaign coming up soon. You just watch, you just watch. But we don't bring the statues into the church when we ascend to the Kingdom of God. We avoid statues just for that reason, because they are a little for us, a little earthy, a little bit too relatable as far as being attached to the earth. All of the saints are calling us to lift up our Gaye's. I want us to be good citizens of this city and the state and this nation. I really want... all to love the land that you were made from, the land that sustains you, even in its misery. I want you to love it, read about it all the time, study our own city history, our state history, our national history, care about it. But even more, I want you to think always about heaven. I want you to have your affection set there. I want you to have your mind on the things above where Christ let it occupy yourself, your thoughts. This is what St Paul says like let your mind to be there, let it be the subject of your affection, desire, like St Paul said. He said he desired it was his ambition to depart. That's a word for die. It was his ambition to die and to be with Christ, for that is far better. He said. That was his ambition set. John Chrysostom says something marvelous. There's hardly a church father who talked more about heaven than him, but he said something marvelous. He said, while he was reflecting upon Heaven's opposite, hell, he said the greatest part of the pains of Hell is missing heaven. That's what makes hell hell. He says. Some people don't like this kind of talk. Some people think that talking about heaven is Cheesy, that talking about heaven is, you know, for kids, and they make fun of... and they say, Oh, you know, what are we going to do? Sit On up cloud and pluck a harp? You've heard it before. I Love C S Lewis's answer to that. C S Lewis says people who mock us about that. He says if some people cannot really understand books written for grown ups, they just shouldn't talk about them. I love the also, some people are uncomfortable talking about heaven because they think it's only for someone else. I want you to know, brothers and sisters, heaven is for you. Jesus didn't come here to save generic humanity. Jesus came here to save people with faces and names. This is what he came to say. He's planning paradise with you in mind. That's your calling. He will not rest until you're there. He stands and intercedes before the father for us at this moment and will continue to do so. Your own soul, you can think of it this way. Your own soul is a key. It's a key to adore to one of our father's many mansions that is fit for you, the House that Christ is making for you, so that where he is, you can also be. This is the future. Don't forget that. The Christ who is in you, the one that you feel in you,...

...the one that you pray to all the time, he carries heaven with him. You taste it a little bit. You're going to taste it in a few minutes in an extreme way, but that's your destiny. That's where you're going. I think it's worth some deeper reflection than this homily. So hopefully you'll come when I when I do a class on heaven soon in the St John Krassostom catechetical school, we can explore this our future home in greater detail. Pursue it beer one. Well then, 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 patristic nectar dot org.

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