The Arena
The Arena

Episode · 1 year ago

Our Coming Quality Inspection | Sunday After Dormition 2021


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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God's Prodigal Prophet: An Exposition of the Prophecy of Jonah 

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Now available at patristic Nectar Dod Org. patristic nectar publications is pleased to present a four part lecture series by Father Josiah 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 much beloved by believers, not only for its Christological typology, in which it sets forth the death, burial, plundering of Hades and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, 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 patristic nectar Dod Org. And now the arena with Father Josiah Trenem. In the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit, I hope, brothers and sisters, that your hearts are filled with joy to be in God's house. I hope so. It would be only natural. Father Joseph, Father Thomas and I encourage each other. Just at the end of the Dutch so Ology, before the divine liturgy starts, we share portions of the psalms often with each other. Today, Father Thomas said happy Lord's Day. Father's father, Joseph, responded. I was glad when they said to me, let us go into the House of the Lord, and then I responded one day in God's house is more precious than one thousand outside. Do you see the common theme? Are you glad to be in God's house? Yeah, do you judge that one day in the presence of God, in this Holy Place, worshiping him, is more precious and contributes more to our happiness than over three years of the best things the world outside has to offer? Do you really believe them? I hope so. This is the cry of the people of God's heart. How privilege we are, what a great blessing we have. We're finishing the celebration of the dormission of Our Lady, which is why her epitaphials is still here on the Soleia until tomorrow. You'll have one last chance to give it a kiss. I I'm not going to preach on the dor mission now, and...

I'm not going to preach on the Gospel text, although I would like to preach on both. Going to preach instead on the epistle lesson which you just heard from St Paul's first letter to the Corinthians. But before I do that, I want to just give you an encouragement with regards to the celebration of the dor mission and what you should think when you're surrounded by the mother of God's beer here, when you're facing east and when you're facing Weft, the magnificent Western Wall of the dormitsion icon. You know, I can imagine some people thinking that the reason Jesus had such a victory over death was because he wasn't just a man, but God. He was the than thro repost and therefore death could not hold him. And that is true. Death could not hold him, some might say. But what does that have to do with me? I'm not God, I'm just a sinner. How is it that I can have confidence in the face of death? The Feast Day of our Ladies Dor mission is the feast part excellence of what the implication of Jesus's victory over death means for human beings who are not God. Her triumph, her triumph at the time of her repose, her magnificent go orious ascent in body and soul into the Kingdom of God to sit on the right of her son, who is sitting on the right of his father, is a witness to us about the implications about why Jesus defeated death, why he rose again from the dead, and that was to grant to his mother and to all of us who love him and who believe in him, his victory over death. We believers sometimes don't meditate deeply enough upon that and we allow the fear of death to reside in us in an unnatural way, in a way that is not consonant with the Gospel. For instance, listen to this quote. This is a magnificent quote. I sent it yesterday to a friend who is was just diagnosed with a very, very terrible, rare disease. He is an incredible Orthodox Christian man who lives in the country of Georgia and a warrior and an inspiration to know and now he's facing this very serious moment in his life, unexpectedly to him, not unexpectedly to God, and I sent him this quote. Listen to this this is from St John Chrysosten. Ask Yourself, is this what you think about death? This is St John Chrysostom. Death is only a name devoid of reality. Death is only a name devoid of...

...reality. For death is nothing more than a sleep, a journey, a migration, arrest, a tranquil haven and escape from trouble and a freedom from the cares of this present life. This is what Jesus, our Savior, has made it. Do you believe that you should? This is the consequence of the Gospel, dear ones, for us to tremble at death. I'm not suggesting that we're still not sinners or that there's not a certain horror that human nature has, but those things can't be normative for us. Our faith must be determinative. Our confidence in Christ is what should inform us with regards to death. But I'm not going to preach on the Dormitian today. Instead, let me say just a few words about the incredible epistle lesson. I've entitled my reflection on that lesson. The coming quality inspection. The coming quality inspection, you all say every day, every morning, I'm confident, in your morning prayers, that beautiful prayer. Suddenly the judge shall come and the deeds of all shall be revealed. But with fear we cry out in the middle of the night. Holy, Holy, Holy, Art Thou God through the Theotokos of mercy on us. We say this all the time. Suddenly, the judge shall come and the deeds of all shall be revealed. This is something that Paul spoke about very clearly in this epistle lesson this morning. First Corinthians three. He says this several things. First, he says we are all God's building. He says we are all not just God's building, were workers in God's building. The apostles are the wise master builders and they have laid the foundation, and there is no other foundation than can be laid than the foundation of faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord. We ourselves are part of this building. We're living stone, St Peter says, fashioned into the very walls of this divine building, which is the church, the body of Christ. And we're workers. He says we're not just part of the building. We're absolutely absolutely part, but we're also contributing to its growth. Were laboring, and this is such an apt image, since that is literally what we're doing right now next door. We are a church that knows a lot about buildings and a lot about building projects. May just think how many...

...years of God blessed inconvenience we've had here. Just think of it, how many times we've seen the dirt torn up, how many times we've seen new buildings rising. All of these buildings are wonderful, and that they all assist the one building that matters, the glorious building that was founded by God, which is the church. Don't let it be a shock to you when Paul says you're workers in God's building. I think some of us, thank God I don't think many here, but some of our brothers and sisters would be shocked at being called a worker in God's building. May the mental orientation to the Church that leads people to come in the church like she's some sort of factory, dispensing sacraments, receive communion, to then walk out the church without saying hello to anyone, made that mentality perish from the face of the earth. May the mentality that leads some to come into the church and just be takers. Oh, I want to go get a good word, I want to hear beautiful singing, I want to stand in front of God and be anointed or receive the sacraments, but not have them mentality. I'm going there to work, I'm going there to give, I'm going there to pour out, I'm going there to squeeze myself in the service of others. That's the Christian mind. Brothers and sisters. The take and not give has nothing to do with Christ at all. We're workers in God's building. In our chief work is what you're doing right now, standing in the presence of God and adorning his name with beautiful words of praise, lifting up the name of the Holy Trinity, Bowing Low and worshiping. This is the first and highest calling of believers. It's the greatest work that inspires every other work, the scent of worship. If we're going to be Christian in our lives, it's what inspires everything else. It's what keeps us well oriented in all of our daily tasks. Prayer, service, mercy, love, witness, these are the works that we do here. This is the work of God's building. Second Thing Paul says is that our Labor in this building project is going to be inspected. It's going to be inspected in all buildings are. This week I had some pressing matters with our building contractors that I needed to ask them about twice in the same week. I went to see them and I never know...

...where they could be. They could be in their trailer, they could be on the first floor, they could be on the second floor, they could be out in the dirt with the dirt movers, who knows? So I have to search for them and I went to find them and I found them. Thank God I heard them before I saw them. They were with an inspector the first time and they were with another inspector the second time. Neither of the conversations sounded pleasant. Thankfully I heard them before I saw them. So as I was coming around the corner, I just backed up and went right back to my office and I said I'll try, I'll try tomorrow. I'll try tomorrow. Those inspectors are serious business. I remember when we received our final inspector to come to this Holy Temple, God bless him. I still remember his name, Phil Irwin Film was a longtime veteran expect inspector. Then he was famous in the city because he wore a very handsome cowboy hat everywhere he went and I had known about him because he actually inspected our haul back in two thousand and one and two when we built our hall. So I saw Phil and I got to know him then and I asked Phil. I said Phil, I made terrible mistake. I said, Phil, thank God it's you, thank God it's you, and you looked at me. I said, you know, I know. He had shared with me how excited he was about that, what the church was doing in the building of the church, et Cetera. I said, you know, we'd really liked you to come to our banquet. He said Nope, he said, I'm an inspector. I'm not a friend, I'm an inspector. I said, Oh, got it, got it. Who are you anyway, and what are you doing here? Yes, our labor dear ones, is going to be inspected. That's the reality of it. And resk inspectors are serious business and the inspection is serious business. Jesus emphasized this coming inspection a lot. You know, inspectors, they look into the crevices, they're looking behind our dry wall, they're running their eyes along every single wire and where it's going, looking for any mistake. They're measuring the wit of our staircase and they were very upset because the staircase was forty seven and a half inches wide and it was supposed to be forty eight inches wide. We had to fix it then and there. When we built this church, we put the stall in the men's bathroom. It was a half inch too narrow. The entire higher thing had to be torn out and redone. That's what inspectors do. That's how serious inspections are. Our coming inspection is going to be an inspection that penetrates the depths of the human mind and heart. No secrets will remain secrets.

Jesus says this in his teaching in Luke Chapter Twelve. He was teaching in the context of the Pharisees and their hypocritical religion. Buns of outward show, but nothing on the inside. Right they look pretty on the outside, like an adorned memorial. On the inside, he says they were full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. And he said on that day which is coming, that which has been hidden will be revealed, that which has been spoken in the darkness will be spoken in the light and every secret will be proclaimed from the HOUSETOPS ouch ouch. Our Labor will be inspected and it's going to be inspected, he says. Paul says. This is the third thing. He says. Each man's work, he says, will become manifest, for the day will make it manifest. It will be tried by fire. This is point three. Notice how he calls it just the day, just the day. That's the Christian mentality. There are days, lots of them, they come and go, but there's only one, the day, and the day is what we think about all the time. Suddenly the judge will come and the deeds of all will be revealed. This is what we say every day. We're looking forward to that day, we're thinking about that day. Eternity is fixed in our mind, the judgments fixed in our mind, because that's the day that the inspection, the quality inspection, is going to take place. I was telling you about my my friend who's facing such challenges now in Georgia. He's a very, very accomplished businessman. I shared a little bit with you five years ago when I came back from Georgia, having spoken there at the World Congress of families in the presence of Patriarchy Leah. They're a much respected and deeply revealed, revered patriarch of Georgia. I told you a little bit about my friend at that time, this accomplished businessman. He was diagnosed with this extremely rare disease just shortly after publicly announcing that he was going to put aside his business and he was going to enter the realm of politics in the country of Georgia. He already had a lot of enemies for his stand for Orthodoxy and especially for his resistance against globalization and the coming of the whole secular or stick into the country of Georgia. All of a sudden he gets this terrible disease and he wrote a reflection and published it and he said that he had no idea if he would survive, that he had every intention, with God's help, to try to do so, because he...

...has just made a major transition in his life and was prepared to pour out his life, the rest of his life and service to his country. He said, but many people thinks, he think that he was poisoned. There's no explanation. The doctors haven't been able to make any explanation on how this disease arose. And he said, whatever the case is, anyone who is opposing the church should know that we Georgian's, we Orthodox Georgians, we only care about one thing, eternity. We only care about one thing, eternity. Everything in light of this, everything in light of the day which is coming, the coming of the Kingdom of God. This is the day that is coming in Paul says, will have a test by means of fire. The fire will show our works either to be works of gold, silver and precious stone or works of Hay and Straw. will either be like the three holy youths who danced amidst the cool breeze in the middle myths of a furnace of fire, or will be like our dear towns in northern California these last few weeks, completely shells, burned out nothing lest this is what each of us will be. Dear ones. will either suffer loss, a terrible loss, Paul says, or will receive a great reward. It all depends on how we build on the foundation of Christ. I want to encourage you. I want to encourage you to take heed, to take heed how you build and how you are building. You who are catechumens, you're in the process of laying the foundation that Paul's describing here. The foundation is your faith in Christ, which are forming right now, which your building and which you'll have the day you're baptized, and from that moment that's not the end, that's the beginning. When your baptized, God has given you the foundation of his son to build your life solidly upon, so that when the rains come and the flood start pouring upon us and the wind is blowing, you will stand on this day, when the fire comes, you'll be able to stand because you built upon the solid foundation of Christ. This is why don't drop out of catechism. You know, we just last week can roll the beautiful new family, the ASTRADA family, a new nine catechumens. What you didn't probably know is that very week I move five Catechu humans for inactivity, gone no longer on the list. I'm not used to that. I'm not used to that. I'm used to a twelve percent recipabism rate after five years. That's horrible enough. That's horrible enough to lose twelve out of every hundred converts,...

...but to see catechumans disappear even in the middle of catechism, before the foundation has been laid, utter total foolishness, total foolishness. Brothers and sisters, dear catechumans, persevere, persevere. If you don't lay a foundation for your life like this, how are you going to stand on this day? If you don't build your life solidly on Christ, This Day will be terrible. This Day will be terrible and all of us. This is the time for building. This is not the time for resting. Our rest is coming, when death will be shown only to be a name, devoid of reality in our own life, when our savior will stand next to us like he stood next to his mother, as our champion, and he'll say that one is mine. Go Away, death, go away. Demons comes mind. This is our future, but it's not now. Now is the time for Labor. Now is the time for gold and sober and precious stones, the works of God, worship, prayer, service, mercy, love, teaching, compassion forgiveness. May God grant that we have this glorious fruit on that day. We hope that you have enjoyed and have been edified by this presentation offered to you by patristic nectar publications, a non profit 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 W W W dot patristic nectar dot org.

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