The Arena
The Arena

Episode · 10 months ago

The Inheritance of God's Presence - Prodigal Son 2021

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Now available at patristic nectar dot Org. patristic nectar publications is pleased to present a new five lecture series entitled ContemporaryWomen Saints. Saint John of Sinai, in his ladder of divine assent,writes that the lives of the saints arouse us to emulation of their courage andlead us to the virtue of humility and compunction. Contemporary Saints are particularly importantsince they acquire their love for God and holiness in the midst of our currentmilieu and demonstrate that spiritual acquisition is possible even in our own troubled times.The five lectures are as follows. Lecture number one the life of Saint Zaniaof Saint Petersburg. Lecture number two the life of Saint Elizabeth, the newmartyr. Lecture number three the life of Saint Maria of Paris. Lecture numberfour the life of Saint Metrona of Moscow. Lecture number five the lives of motherMaria of Olonettes, Schema Num Macaria, the beloved cepher, and Matushka Olgaof Alaska. For the these and other available titles, please visit ourwebsite at atristic nectar God Org. And now the arena with Father Josiah Trenna, the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit. Blessed Lord's Day to all of you, brothers and sisters, on this marvelousSunday of the prodigal son. Just before the liturgy began, we priestswere thinking at the altar of about what a blessing it is to be God'sson, to be God's children, though we're all prodigals, even we priests, to be clothed with such glory, to stand in the holy place andto be able to worship God like we're all doing. What a tremendous honor, the very greatest gift of our whole life to know God and to bein his house and to be a part of his family. The darker theworld gets, at least our part of the world, the more precious whatwe have appears, the more we recognize it for how much it's worth toknow God. Our poor country is been for so long on such a fastcourse into prodigality. This week, perhaps another major marker in the books ofthe prodigality of the United States of America. At our House of Representatives passed oneof the most godless, anti church, anti religious pieces of legislation that's everbeen presented to our Congress, completely attacking Christianity, attacking marriage, attackinghumanity and endorsing an ideology that is brandnew, just made up very, very recently. And I thought to myself, those, those poor congressmen, thatwould pass by very narrow margin, and hopefully our senators will be more reasonablepeople and won't pass this. Some of those congressmen, some of those representatives, though, that passed it immediately followed it up by sending a letter tothe Federal Communications Commission, to the FCC,...

...demanding that any news organization that wouldoppose it, including they named Fox News that I know some of youreally love. Bet It, be banned permanently from the air waves. Yeah, can imagine, congressman, the land of the free, nothing like freespeech. And I thought to myself, as it was all happening the weekof the producal son. It's happening the week of the productal son. Ihope that those four idiotic congressman who sent that letter to the FCC, andall of them that pass this bill, who have made themselves enemies of ChristianOrthodoxy, I hope that they'll be in church soon. produigals do come back. People who have lost their minds do repent, especially if people are prayingfor them. People are awakened, they recognize that the path that they're onis not producing what they were hoping for and, by the grace of God, some of the biggest sinners and the biggest flubs become the greatest saints inthe in the Church. On this prodigal son Sunday, brothers and sisters,I want to I want to remind you about an incredible experience of the HolyProphet, Moses, the God seer. That's how I want to start myhomily. Moses, when he found God, or I should say God found him, at the burning Bush, and he became the Lord's faithful son andProphet and led the people of Israel out of the bondage of Egypt. Hebrought them through the Red Sea and that great miracle foreshadowing baptism, and hebrought them into the Wilderness and God called them to Mount Sinai, and they'reon the top of Mount Sinai. God met with Moses and the Scripture saidhe spoke. He loved Moses so much that he spoke to Moses as hewould speak to his friend face to face. Moses was completely undone. While Moseswas up being vafied on the mountain, hearing the word of God and receivingthe Great Gift of the law, God's will that he was to beardown the mountain and to give as a gift to the people so that theycould know how they should walk now that they were free. While Moses wasup on the mountain, the people, though, they saw what was goingon. They's heard the trumpets blasting on the top of the mountain, theysaw the mountain shaking, they saw lightning flashes, which is really something.They grew weary. They grew weary they knew that God had promised them aland flowing with milk and honey. They knew that God wasn't bringing them outof slavery so that they would die in the wilderness. They had heard allthese incredible promises that, six hundred years before, had been given to Abrahamand his posterity, that God would give this promised land to them. Theyknew that, but they were growing impatient to receive their inheritance. They wantedit and they wanted it now. So when Moses was up being deified,they were growing impatient and they pressured air and Moses's brother and they said,where is all the promises that God had promised us? Here we are inthe wilderness, we can't eat all of the great foods that we had inEgypt, there are no pleasures here in this devoted place. And now Moseswhere to go? Forty days he had...

...been up there, forty days.They were given up. Where was he? and Aaron, pressured and weak,gave into them. They said, we want you to make us agod, and he said, take off all of the gold ear rings,the very gold that was the treasure of their victory, they had plundered fromthe Egyptians. He said, take off all the gold, bring it tome and I will make you your gods. And what did he do? Hetook the gold and he made it fashion it into a golden calf,something that they were familiar seeing in each gypt, and then he presented tothem the gold and he said you hold your Gods, who delivered you fromEgypt. And it says that they began to rejoice and they began to riseup and dance and play. It's language for throw a very raucous and immoralparty, and that's what they were doing as Moses was coming down. Moseswas so upset that he took the tablets, the gift of God to them,part of their inheritance, and he smashed them. And then he tookthe golden calf and he crushed it into a powder, their golden statue,their idol, mixed it with water and made the people drink it. Thenhe ordered a execution of some of the ring leaders and had the Levites callthe people to repentance. And he went up, back up the mountain,and he met with God again, and God said to him, Moses,just stand back, I'm done with this people and I will make your descendantsfruitful and glorious. I'll keep my promise to Abraham, but instead of doingit through these people, I'll do it through you. And most of Said, Lord, don't do that, don't do that. What would people sayyou brought your people out of Egypt to kill them in the Wilderness? Here'sMoses, like Abraham, the great negotiator with the Lord God, Abraham tryingto say Sodom, Moses now trying to save the people of Israel and hedid it successfully and Moses, enjoying so much being near God, he saidto the Lord this after the Lord had consented to be patient with the people. Moses said, Lord, I really want to know you. I wantto know you. Show me Your glory. And the Lord said to Moses,if you see my glory you'll die, he says, but I'll take youand I'll put you in this cleft of the wrath and I'll draw nearto you in my glory and I'll pass by, but I'll cover you withmy divine hand and then after I pass by, I'll pull my hand awayand you can just see the back of my glory, the smallest part ofmy glory. And the Lord did that. And as the Lord was doing ithe proclaimed his name to Moses. He showed him his glory and hetold him his name and he said this the Lord, the Lord God,Compassionate and Merciful, long suffering forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin, showing his covenantMercies to thousands upon thousands of generations. This is what God said to Moseswhen Moses was so near God. What did God reveal to him inthe midst of his people's complete prodigality. The Lord revealed to Moses his intimacyand he said, I am a god...

...of compassion and mercy, the Godof lung suffering, who takes no delight in punishment, none at all.I am faithful and will be faithful to thousands of generations of my people.It was an incredible word to Moses. The people were impatient and their impatience, almost at this time, cost them their lives, almost cost them theloss of the Covenant and all of the privileges that they had with God.The presence of God and Moses his life was everything for him. It literally, for Moses, changed the desert of the Wilderness into complete paradise. Godlived with him and he with God. Moses had his tent, a simpletent, but by the day, above that tent was a massive pillar ofsmoke and at night by that tent was a massive pillar of fire, God'ssigns of his own in presence. That's how close Moses was. Moses cherishthe presence of God so much he made it such a priority in his lifethat he literally took on God's qualities, the glory that God has shown inMoses's face. He would come out of his communion with God, with aglowing face that then he would put a little covering over his head so peoplewouldn't see it dissipating. This is how precious the presence of God is.The Israelites kept thinking about sinful Egypt and the roughness, about how bad itwas in the forests and in the deserts of the Wilderness. Nothing was goodenough and without God's presence, brothers and sisters, nothing ever is. Ifwe don't cherish the presence of God, like Moses, at the very centerof our life, does it matter what we have? It's always unsatisfactory.It always leaves us feeling empty and unfulfilled lost. This is the background.I wish to share it with you on this prodigal son Sunday. With thatin mind, look at the Gospel parable today, this marvelous parable found inLuke fifteen, where Jesus takes the experience of Moses and puts it into aparable for us all to see, the parabicle of the Prodigal son, orwe could even say the parable of the Prodigal sons, because the self righteousson who never left was as prodigal as his brother who did leave, andsquandered all his father's inheritance in loose living. Like Israel's prodigality, the younger sonwas not content with the presence of his father. It wasn't enough forhim to be close to his father, and so he allowed his thirst andhis desire for worldly things to possess him and he did the unspeakable and shamelessthing that no son should ever do. He asked for his inheritance. Whathe basically was saying to his father was I wish you were dead, becausethat's when you're supposed to get your inheritance and because you're not dying, whichwould really make me happy, because if you were dead, I would getyour money. Because you're not dying. Could you just give it me nowand I'll leave. I'll never see you again. I don't have to dealwith you, I don't have to deal with the family, I just getthe money and I can just please myself. That's exactly what happened. He tookthat money, just like the whining Israelites of old, pining after thethings of Egypt, and he went and he wafted his father's inheritance. Andwhat was the result? Complete and total...

...decimation. He was ruined from topto bottom, friendless, pleasure less, literally thirsting to eat pigs food,until he came to himself. By the way, those are the four mostprecious words in the entire Gospel lesson. He came to himself. He cameto himself and he ran back and, in the power of repentance, becauseof the graciousness of God, he declared his unworthiness before his father. Hisfather ran to meet him, set not a word about what he had done, offered him the most glorious free forgiveness and restored to him his position,clothing him in a beautiful purple robe, putting shoes on his feet, agold ring on his finger and slaying the fatted calf and striking up the weddingfeast party for his son that was lost, who had become dead. My son, who was dead, is alive again and he rejoiced. The otherson, the selfrighteous on, who never left but was never there in thefirst place, was so angry that his father had been so gracious. Herehe was, all the time, physically near his father, but not hitnear his father in the heart. This is just as much a warning tous, brothers and sisters. Of course, the product was son most popular.Is a warning for all believers in the church, all those who havebeen baptized and made sons and daughters of God, not to fall away andto run to the world to promise what you'll get if you do a pigpen and misery. But there's also a warning from the self righteous son.The warning is don't be in the church, near God and the presence of Godand not really be here. Don't stand in the presence of God andnot really appreciate what you're doing here and how glorious it is to be inGod's presence. That was the problem of the self righteous son. His fatherlooked at him, he said, son, What's wrong? You're always with me. Do you need more? You're always with me. Everything I haveis yours. But he wasn't enjoying that. He wasn't standing near his father tobe in his father's presence, and therefore he didn't enjoy it and hedidn't benefit from it. And we ought not stand in the church except tobe in the presence of God and to cherish that kind of intimacy, beinginvited by our heavenly father into his house, us to sit at his table,to be close to him, to be a friend like Moses was,to see his glory and to participate in his character and to actually become it. This is why we're here, you know. We all know this.On the human plane, I remember when I was first married, my wifeand I were pretty radical to get married very young. No one, noneof our friends yet were married and we had really established ourselves. We hadestablished our souls, though, but we hadn't established ourselves kind of out inthe world. We we were both hard workers. We were working, butwe didn't have much. If it wasn't for the very gracious gift giving ofthe people who came to our wedding, who gave us doubles and triples ofthings, and we were secretly able to return many of them for cash,we would have been absolutely broke. We paid our first three months of rentin our apartment with return gifts from the wedding. I'm sure they weren't ears, I'm sure they weren't yours. And...

...if you were there, we werepoor and we used to have our dates, we all us. We have hadour date night every week. We've had a date night for thirty threeyears. But back then, you know what our date night was one cupof coffee that we shared while we walked. We would go to the coffee house, we would get a large cup of coffee and then our date waswalking downtown, walking, looking at stoor windows, drinking that coffee. That'swhat it was. Did I care? Are you kidding me? I wasthe most wealthy man on planet earth because of the presence of my wife.That's how I felt. I'm rich, may not have a car. WhoNeed's a car? That's how I felt. We know this on the human plane. You know it, dear one. It's the presence that is central.It's being mere God that makes us rich. It is true that wehave an inheritance, and I want to say a word about that enclosing.We do have an inheritance. God does make has made incredible promises to us, just like he did to Israel's. Have even better promises to us.He promised I'm a land flowing with milk and honey. He promised US glory, honor, immortality and incorruption and eternal life. Yes, he's made lotsof promises. It's true. Sat Paul says this. Listen to this unbelievabletext. It's an Ephesians one, he says, in him you also,after listening to the message of Truth, the Gospel of your salvation, havingalso believed, you were sealed in him with the Holy Spirit of promise,who is given as a pledge, a down payment for our inheritance. Thisis what's coming, an inheritance, a glorious in heritage. Every one ofyou is Chrismated, that Chrism, Paul is saying. After you believed,then we're baptized, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. Noticewhat he's called the Holy Spirit of promise, his presence, which is sealed toyou in Chrismation. When you have the Holy Meron put on you,you're given the Holy Spirit and a stamp, a seal of God's ownership. Godis saying your mind and the mark that your mind is the sacred Chrismin crosses on your body, just like some people get tattoos and for reasons, or you brand an animal to mark ownership. This is the cow ofSt Andrew Farm Right. This is exactly what Chrism is and that presence ofthe Holy Spirit. He exists in you as the Holy Spirit of promise,his presence in your life. Your Chrismation is the promise of your inheritance,which is coming, your honor, Your glory, your immortality, your incorruptionwhich you're going to experience, it's all there. And Paul says that thatHoly Spirit functions as a pledge. It's a marvelous word. The Holy Spiritis given to as a pledge and out of on. And out of onis a Greek where is taken from an old Hebrew word and it means adeposit in kind. Businessmen would give you a deposit. I'm giving you here. This is ten percent, and as soon as you fulfill your promise,is on this day, you get it...

...all. Today. In modern Greek, out of own is used as an engagement ring. I think that's prettytelling. Also, the Holy Spirit is put on you as a pledge ofyour inheritance, as an engagement ring from God as your betrothed, because thewedding feast awaits us in the Kingdom of Heaven. You're going to have allof those things and the Holy Spirit in your life is bearing witness to thatpromise that it's coming, that your riches are coming. But, brothers andsisters, glory and honor and immortality and incorruption are nothing compared to what theHoly Spirit ultimately witnesses to, and that is God in you. The HolySpirit exists in us as the very presence of God. He is manifesting ourrelationship with God. It's the presence of God that brings the honor and theglory and the immortality, and in the incorruption, it's our heavenly father andhis beloved son who are waiting for us, dwelling in US and calling us toour future inheritance. Be Happy with that. Let it satisfy you.Recognize the honor that you have as Christian people to be near God, closerthan Moses. Moses didn't get to eat and drink the deified flesh of theson of God, like you will in just a few minutes. Let's not, then, be like the prodigal son who left because he despibes this inheritance, because he couldn't wait. You have the Holy Spirit already. You alreadyhave the promise, you have the pledge. He's in you. It's going tohappen. Don't lose your patience and run away, and don't be inthe presence of God and miss it like the self righteous son who was occupiedabout other things, a fake piety. Cherish the presence of God on thisprodigal some Sunday. Okay, yeah, already God. We hope that youhave enjoyed and have been edified by this presentation offered to you by Patristic NectarPublications, a nonprofit organization committed to nourishing the spiritually thirsty with the sweet teachingsof the Holy Fathers. If you are interested in other available titles or ifyou would like more information on patristic nectar publications, please visit our website atwww dot patristic nectar dot org. Again, that's www dot petristic nectar dot org.

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