The Arena
The Arena

Episode 1 · 8 months ago

Model Devotion | Myrrhbearer Sunday 2022


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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Hey everyone, Christ is risen. It's father Josiah. I want to tell you about our upcoming annual patristic nectar conference. It's entitled Holy Orthodoxy Presenting the Christian faith. It's going to be June three to five here at St Andrew Church in Riverside. I'd like to invite you all to come. You can come in person or you can schedule yourself to participate in the live stream, including q and a, and you'll be able to have all of the presentations put into your account at the conclusion of the conference. We have a great lineup of speakers. The keynotes father maximus constants, but Dr t Conpino will be speaking, father bog done buckler and myself. Hope you can come. God be with you. For these and other titles, please visit our website at patristic nectar dot org. And now the arena with Father Josiah Trenna. In the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit, Christ is risen. I greet you there ones, on this marvelous Sunday of Pasca, dedicated to the holy murdering women. I want to begin by reading you in a beautiful text from the book of Sirac and the Old Testament about worship and gathering in God's presence. And this is what it says. When you praise the Lord, Exalt him as much as you can, for he will surpass asks. Even that, when you exalt him, put forth all your strength and do not grow weary, for you cannot praise him enough. Who has seen him and can describe him, or who can install him as he is? Many things greater than these lie hidden, for we have seen but few of his works. For the Lord has made all things and to the godly he has granted wisdom. This is my encouragement to you. When you come to praise the Lord, come with your full strength, offer him everything that you have in this house. Even then it's not enough,...

...and God will all will show us more for praise. Don't grow weary, it says, even though it is tiring. Thank God it's tiring. You know, this is one of the greatest attractions to people to become Orthodox Christians is that the liturgy is exhausting. Yes, this is why they come, because we don't accommodate them. We don't have that. You know, the starbucks over here in this little cubicle where you can get it and a nice cushy seats where you can spend the whole time sipping. You people know that great things are tiring, marvelous, wonderful works. They take energy and not growing weary in the worship of God. This is a marvelous thing. After Pasca, which has set the tone for our lives, of course, and we renew it Sunday by Sunday. We had last Sunday, the Sunday of St Thomas. That Sunday was about our faith. Thomas set the standard for Christian believe beef confessing Christ, my Lord and my God. Today, this second Sunday after POSCA, we see another standard set, and that standard that is set is the standard of devotion. It's the standard of dedication to Christ, and its sought set not by one of the apostles. It's set by the merbearing women. The murdering women, are marvelous characters. They are only revealed by hints in the Gospels, but the hints are overwhelming. Luke says that everywhere Christ went, these women followed him and that they ministered to his needs and supported him and the apostolic work from their own funds. What a marvelous thing to say. It's such a sweeping statement that it should cause you perplexity, because you don't hear about them elsewhere. What you hear about is...

Christ and the apostles, half the time not getting it, the other half the time kind of getting it. But what we don't hear about it are all these incredible, pious women, women like the mother of God, Mary Magdalen, Susannah, Salomy, Joanna, the wife of Choosa, marry, a wife of Colopis, Martha and Mary, the Sisters of Lazarus from Bethany. These women were part of a larger group who are absolutely dedicated, who were living as women the apostolic life as the Apostles were living it with Christ. They followed him everywhere, they served him, they cared for every need the Lord had. They provided the funds. They're so quiet, quiet servants. We don't hear much about them until past. We just have these few little comments given to us by the Gospels until the most important time, and then they not only appear but they take prominence. They actually become apostles to the apostles, saying Gregory Paul must says, to marvelous transformation. They manifested their love in many virtuous ways, but especially in bravery. Elder Pitheos, the ATHONITES and pithos. Now he says why? He Po poses and answers the question. Why were these women so brave? They literally defied the Sanhedron, disregarded the soldiers, overcame a natural fear of the dark of the night,...

...refused to leave the cross while all the apostles were in hiding. Now the Piacio says, how is this possible that these women triumphed over the apostles themselves? He says, because those who love are brave. The root, he says, of bravery and sacrifice, sacrificial bravery like they offer, is deep love, and they had been cultivating that for years in the service of Christ. Jesus decided to lift their stature to make clear to everyone, from that time until now, how much he values as the key mark of a believer, devotion, the dedication of the heart. This is why, when he was raised from the dead, he didn't appear to Peter, he didn't appear to Andrew, he didn't appear to John. This is what we would have thought. These are his cultivated twelve. No, he appeared to the merbearing women. First, he made them custodians of the Gospel. He planted the ultimate good news in their hearts first, and he made them the conduit to the apostles, and the apostles didn't believe him. Oops, oops. The Gospel today also describes their struggle. They got up early, it says twice. We have records in the gospels of them getting up early. This is what love does, this is what devotion does. They got up early. It says also several times that they were perplexed and frightened while in the...

...midst of their good deeds. So get that it's possible to do good deeds while being perplexed and frightened. That doesn't steal the good deed. In fact, that may make the good deed even more valuable. Many times were asked by God to do things that frighten us. We're asked to by God to do things even when we're in a state of perplexity and he hasn't made everything clear to us, and so were perplexed. Nonetheless, we can follow these women in that state. They pushed through, and this is the third thing I want you to see in today's Gospel. What it says, and I think this is a key to their success. They did it together. They were perplexed and frightened, but they stuck together and it appeared together the murbearing women, their fellowship, their keen Onnea, in circumstances that called called called for radical bravery, circumstances that they did not understand, and so they were in a perpe state of perplexity and fear, was conquered by the grace and their keen onea. What's the point? We can do way, way more together, dear ones, in the service of Christ than we can buy ourselves. Way More. We can overcome our fears, we can push through our quandaries, we can exercise the same kind of bravery with encouragement, with fellowship, which is exceedingly powerful. You know, I think it's true that most of us, when we reflect on our lives, sometimes we don't attempt things that we think maybe God is asking us to do. We maybe feeling a nudge, we may be feeling some inspiration by the Holy Spirit to do something.

Maybe it's a little radical, maybe it's completely turning the world's way upside down, but we don't do it. We don't do it because we lack the courage to do it and we think to ourselves, Oh, I'm just one person in an earth of seven billion. What does that make me? I'm just one, I can't really do anything of significance. This is not true. This is absolutely not true. You know, every person is estimated to have in their lifetime a significant contact with some onezero people in the course of a lifetime. Okay, I mean you just come to church to Saint Andrew, and you got to have done we've got to have done right. So don't be overwhelmed by that number. Don't be overwhelmed by that number. One person can reasonably have a significant contact with one thousand over the course of a lifetime. and think if one of those persons that you're interacting with is not in your immediate family, that person has their own thousand. That can take that one thousand to one million like that. And if those one million don't aren't immediate family that you see other times, that can take the one million to one billion like that. The idea that somehow we are just by ourselves and that the decisions that we make, the faith that we exercise, the courage that we muster, the good things that we attempt that God suggesting to us really aren't going to have that bigger impact. It's not true. It's just statistically objectively not true, and the murdering women are a perfect example of it. They push through, they encouraged each other and the result was an unbelievable fruit that we're still talking about and ESTA publishment of a level of...

...devotion that we would like to imitate. On this day we bow low before them. It's a wonderful Providence, I think that the murdering women Sunday coincides this year with Mother's Day, on which we honor our mothers and our grandmother's and our godmothers and our spiritual mothers. I also think it's a marvel. It's a marvel that in a culture so permeated by sexist acrimony conflict between the sexes to the point of violence, it's amazing that the church stands in the midst of that with a harmonious, common commitment to the love of God, men and women doing all sorts of different things and some similar things, but not having a difficulty bowing before a bishop and not having difficulty bowing before the murderers of the church who set the tenor who are the heart of the community. I think that this is marvelous and this is exactly why we're attractive to people in the world who are weary of conflict. Last night I sent a bunch of texts out to our clergy and our law enforcement officers. The reason I did that is because, as you've been following, there have been some, almost fifty year late, but some very positive developments in our Supreme Court, suggesting that we may in fact be delivered from that which has most odious in the history of the United States. This beloved, glorious country has never had her reputation more stained then when the black robes, who had lost their...

...minds, invented a socalled right to kill unborn children in the womb. How ludacris how disgraceful. It looks like. Those days may soon be over in this country and we won't have this opprobrium, that we won't have this horror at least established in law. That doesn't mean abortions going to stop in our country, but it should be returned to the states, and then states will do the crazy thing of voting on whether we should kill unborn children in their womb. And some say states, most certainly including ours, will enshrine that even further than we already have in our own state laws and state constitution. Our governor has already a announced, with what can I say, proselyting zeal, that he will spend our money flying any women who want abortion in states that don't permit abortion to California, putting them up in paying for the procedure. Yes, that's how sad the days are for our state. It's truly a awful truly awful. But I sent the text last night because to touch abortion is like touching the holy sacrament of secularism. Radical feminism and the secular foundations upon which it's built can't exist without abortion, and so they are rightly offended that their whole way of life is being unearthed, and it is, and as a result they have organized to disrupt churches all across the country. They've been doing it already. There's always been already numerous vandalizations of churches all...

...across the country, but there are many groups, pro abortion groups that have been agitating in organizing to invade churches today. Riverside is a nice place. Riverside is a nice place. We have a nice culture. It's changing a lot. It's moving in the pro abortion direction, which is very sad, but it's still not as crazy as places is like San Francisco. So when I sent out the links to our law enforcement officers into our clergy to be prepared today in case our church itself was visited, shall I say, by people who wanted to disrupt the holy liturgy and to scream and agitate and take their clothes off, because that's the thing that they've been doing most recently. They've been invading churches and then the women have simply been stripping in order to in in the most public in grotesque way, defile the holiness of churches. And this is exactly why, dear ones, that we can lovingly hold up our way of life and keep the doors open. There are many people who want peace, many people who want reconciliation with God, many women who know that the way to dignity is not insisting that they have the right to kill unborn children at their one. Many women know that's nuts, that's absolutely crazy, and to come here and to find a harmony, to find that we're led, in fact, yes, we're led by all male clergy. Wow, I'm sorry for you. Can I say yes, all male deacons and all male priests and all male bishops. Yes, and all of them. If you ask them who's leading them, and they would immediately say we're led all by the women, mostly by her, mostly by her, who is this free example for every bishop, priest and Deacon. But also, and...

...we all know it, every man in this church knows it, also by the devotion of our ladies who very wisely decided that their organization in this parish was going to be called the murder bearers. Yes, yes, we all know it. We're doing what we can with God's help, each of us in our own calling, fulfilling his call to confess the faith and to hold up devotion love for him, in imitation of the mother of God. And let's sacred crew that always gathers around her rejoice the day and join me in honoring them, both those that we heard in the about in the Gospel, those women that I mentioned, and also the Mur bears, the mother's, the grandmothers, the God mothers, the spiritual mothers in our own parish. Congratulations to you all, you blessed people called by God to be his servants. 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 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 nectar dot org. Again, that's www dot patristic nectar dot org.

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