The Arena
The Arena

Episode · 5 months ago

Our Coming Quality Inspection | Sunday After Dormition 2021

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

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 Dod 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 Dod Org. And now the arena with Father Josiah Trenem. In thename of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit, Ihope, brothers and sisters, that your hearts are filled with joy to bein God's house. I hope so. It would be only natural. FatherJoseph, Father Thomas and I encourage each other. Just at the end ofthe Dutch so Ology, before the divine liturgy starts, we share portions ofthe psalms often with each other. Today, Father Thomas said happy Lord's Day.Father's father, Joseph, responded. I was glad when they said tome, let us go into the House of the Lord, and then Iresponded one day in God's house is more precious than one thousand outside. Doyou 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, inthis Holy Place, worshiping him, is more precious and contributes more to ourhappiness 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 cryof the people of God's heart. How privilege we are, what a greatblessing 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'llhave one last chance to give it a kiss. I I'm not going topreach on the dor mission now, and...

I'm not going to preach on theGospel text, although I would like to preach on both. Going to preachinstead on the epistle lesson which you just heard from St Paul's first letter tothe Corinthians. But before I do that, I want to just give you anencouragement with regards to the celebration of the dor mission and what you shouldthink when you're surrounded by the mother of God's beer here, when you're facingeast 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 hadsuch 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'mjust a sinner. How is it that I can have confidence in the faceof death? The Feast Day of our Ladies Dor mission is the feast partexcellence of what the implication of Jesus's victory over death means for human beings whoare 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 Godto sit on the right of her son, who is sitting on the right ofhis father, is a witness to us about the implications about why Jesusdefeated death, why he rose again from the dead, and that was togrant to his mother and to all of us who love him and who believein him, his victory over death. We believers sometimes don't meditate deeply enoughupon that and we allow the fear of death to reside in us in anunnatural way, in a way that is not consonant with the Gospel. Forinstance, listen to this quote. This is a magnificent quote. I sentit yesterday to a friend who is was just diagnosed with a very, veryterrible, rare disease. He is an incredible Orthodox Christian man who lives inthe country of Georgia and a warrior and an inspiration to know and now he'sfacing this very serious moment in his life, unexpectedly to him, not unexpectedly toGod, and I sent him this quote. Listen to this this isfrom 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 morethan a sleep, a journey, a migration, arrest, a tranquil havenand escape from trouble and a freedom from the cares of this present life.This is what Jesus, our Savior, has made it. Do you believethat 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 sinnersor that there's not a certain horror that human nature has, but those thingscan't be normative for us. Our faith must be determinative. Our confidence inChrist is what should inform us with regards to death. But I'm not goingto preach on the Dormitian today. Instead, let me say just a few wordsabout 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 deedsof all shall be revealed. This is something that Paul spoke about veryclearly in this epistle lesson this morning. First Corinthians three. He says thisseveral things. First, he says we are all God's building. He sayswe are all not just God's building, were workers in God's building. Theapostles are the wise master builders and they have laid the foundation, and thereis no other foundation than can be laid than the foundation of faith in JesusChrist, our Lord. We ourselves are part of this building. We're livingstone, 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 suchan 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 aboutbuilding projects. May just think how many...

...years of God blessed inconvenience we've hadhere. Just think of it, how many times we've seen the dirt tornup, how many times we've seen new buildings rising. All of these buildingsare wonderful, and that they all assist the one building that matters, theglorious building that was founded by God, which is the church. Don't letit 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, butsome of our brothers and sisters would be shocked at being called a worker inGod's building. May the mental orientation to the Church that leads people to comein 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 thatmentality perish from the face of the earth. May the mentality that leads some tocome into the church and just be takers. Oh, I want togo get a good word, I want to hear beautiful singing, I wantto stand in front of God and be anointed or receive the sacraments, butnot have them mentality. I'm going there to work, I'm going there togive, I'm going there to pour out, I'm going there to squeeze myself inthe 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'reworkers 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 ofpraise, 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 workthat inspires every other work, the scent of worship. If we're going tobe Christian in our lives, it's what inspires everything else. It's what keepsus well oriented in all of our daily tasks. Prayer, service, mercy, love, witness, these are the works that we do here. Thisis the work of God's building. Second Thing Paul says is that our Laborin this building project is going to be inspected. It's going to be inspectedin all buildings are. This week I had some pressing matters with our buildingcontractors that I needed to ask them about twice in the same week. Iwent to see them and I never know...

...where they could be. They couldbe in their trailer, they could be on the first floor, they couldbe on the second floor, they could be out in the dirt with thedirt movers, who knows? So I have to search for them and Iwent to find them and I found them. Thank God I heard them before Isaw them. They were with an inspector the first time and they werewith another inspector the second time. Neither of the conversations sounded pleasant. ThankfullyI heard them before I saw them. So as I was coming around thecorner, I just backed up and went right back to my office and Isaid I'll try, I'll try tomorrow. I'll try tomorrow. Those inspectors areserious business. I remember when we received our final inspector to come to thisHoly Temple, God bless him. I still remember his name, Phil IrwinFilm was a longtime veteran expect inspector. Then he was famous in the citybecause he wore a very handsome cowboy hat everywhere he went and I had knownabout him because he actually inspected our haul back in two thousand and one andtwo when we built our hall. So I saw Phil and I got toknow him then and I asked Phil. I said Phil, I made terriblemistake. I said, Phil, thank God it's you, thank God it'syou, and you looked at me. I said, you know, Iknow. He had shared with me how excited he was about that, whatthe church was doing in the building of the church, et Cetera. Isaid, 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 ofit. And resk inspectors are serious business and the inspection is serious business.Jesus emphasized this coming inspection a lot. You know, inspectors, they lookinto the crevices, they're looking behind our dry wall, they're running their eyesalong every single wire and where it's going, looking for any mistake. They're measuringthe wit of our staircase and they were very upset because the staircase wasforty seven and a half inches wide and it was supposed to be forty eightinches wide. We had to fix it then and there. When we builtthis church, we put the stall in the men's bathroom. It was ahalf inch too narrow. The entire higher thing had to be torn out andredone. That's what inspectors do. That's how serious inspections are. Our cominginspection is going to be an inspection that penetrates the depths of the human mindand heart. No secrets will remain secrets.

Jesus says this in his teaching inLuke Chapter Twelve. He was teaching in the context of the Pharisees andtheir hypocritical religion. Buns of outward show, but nothing on the inside. Rightthey look pretty on the outside, like an adorned memorial. On theinside, 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 hiddenwill be revealed, that which has been spoken in the darkness will be spokenin 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 howhe 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'sonly one, the day, and the day is what we think aboutall the time. Suddenly the judge will come and the deeds of all willbe revealed. This is what we say every day. We're looking forward tothat 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 youabout 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 agowhen I came back from Georgia, having spoken there at the World Congress offamilies 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 friendat that time, this accomplished businessman. He was diagnosed with this extremely raredisease just shortly after publicly announcing that he was going to put aside his businessand 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 especiallyfor his resistance against globalization and the coming of the whole secular or stick intothe country of Georgia. All of a sudden he gets this terrible disease andhe wrote a reflection and published it and he said that he had no ideaif 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 inhis life and was prepared to pour out his life, the rest of hislife 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 beenable 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 weGeorgian's, we Orthodox Georgians, we only care about one thing, eternity.We only care about one thing, eternity. Everything in light of this, everythingin light of the day which is coming, the coming of the Kingdomof God. This is the day that is coming in Paul says, willhave a test by means of fire. The fire will show our works eitherto be works of gold, silver and precious stone or works of Hay andStraw. will either be like the three holy youths who danced amidst the coolbreeze in the middle myths of a furnace of fire, or will be likeour dear towns in northern California these last few weeks, completely shells, burnedout nothing lest this is what each of us will be. Dear ones.will either suffer loss, a terrible loss, Paul says, or will receive agreat reward. It all depends on how we build on the foundation ofChrist. I want to encourage you. I want to encourage you to takeheed, to take heed how you build and how you are building. Youwho are catechumens, you're in the process of laying the foundation that Paul's describinghere. 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 fromthat 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 andthe wind is blowing, you will stand on this day, when the firecomes, you'll be able to stand because you built upon the solid foundation ofChrist. This is why don't drop out of catechism. You know, wejust last week can roll the beautiful new family, the ASTRADA family, anew nine catechumens. What you didn't probably know is that very week I movefive Catechu humans for inactivity, gone no longer on the list. I'm notused to that. I'm not used to that. I'm used to a twelvepercent recipabism rate after five years. That's horrible enough. That's horrible enough tolose twelve out of every hundred converts,...

...but to see catechumans disappear even inthe 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 yougoing to stand on this day? If you don't build your life solidly onChrist, This Day will be terrible. This Day will be terrible and allof us. This is the time for building. This is not the timefor resting. Our rest is coming, when death will be shown only tobe a name, devoid of reality in our own life, when our saviorwill stand next to us like he stood next to his mother, as ourchampion, and he'll say that one is mine. Go Away, death,go away. Demons comes mind. This is our future, but it's notnow. Now is the time for Labor. Now is the time for gold andsober and precious stones, the works of God, worship, prayer,service, mercy, love, teaching, compassion forgiveness. May God grant thatwe have this glorious fruit on that day. We hope that you have enjoyed andhave 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 ofthe Holy Fathers. If you are interested in other available titles or if youwould like more information on patristic nectar publications, please visit our website at www dotpatristic nectar dot org. Again, that's W W W dot patristic nectardot org.

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