The Arena
The Arena

Episode · 9 years ago

Three Things Reveal a Man…

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

...how he dresses, walks, and laughs: Sirach 19:30. Learn more about Patristic Nectar Publications.

There are three things that show fortha man how he dresses, how he walks and how he laughs: Ancient Faith, radio and patristicnectar, publications present the arena Sunday Homilys and theologicalreflections with father, Jossiah, Trenna, Father Dessiah is the pastor of SaintAndrew Orthodox Christian Church in Riverside California. He is also thefounder of Patristic Nectar Publications, a nonprofit organizationcommitted to nourishing the spiritually thirsty with the sweet teachings of theHoly Fathers for more information on patristic NECAR publications. Pleasevisit our website at www, dot, patristic nectar, Dod, Org and nowFather Jessiah, in the name of the father and of the son, and of the HolySpirit, wone God, brothers and sisters. This week I had aconversation, a beautiful conversation with a family that I had never met before husband and wife and beautiful children, and in the midst of our conversation Iwas asking them about their backgrounds they're, both from Mexico and there Catholic family. Butthe husband began to relate to me some of what's happened religiously tohis family. Here his mother has left the Catholic Faithand become a Jehovah's Witness, and some of his sisters have left theCatholic faith and become various type of Ebangelical Protestants, and he has been the one member of thefamily to remain Catholic. He was describing to me what this hasmeant in his family for functions and celebrations and kind of the normalroutine of holy days and birthdays, and and has turned it completely upsidedown, and I thought, as I was as I was talking to him, I thought to myself what anillustration this is of the the ferment, the the thrashing the the intellectual andreligious thrashing of our age, and especially O Bour nation in this nation. It's as though wwere moving our handstrying to find something going from this to that in a constantquest for the authentic, and as I was listening and attemptingto sympathize trying to put myself in his shoes, I couldn't really at the same time asfeeling compassion, also feel...

...tremendous joy. I felt tremendous joybecause that is not my life. We are blessed to be a people, a peculiar peoplerooted in the Holy Fathers of the church they'relike a magnificent anchor that keep us from blowing here andthere from getting uprooted by this storm or that storm. We celebrate to day the three hundredand eighteen holy fathers at the first ecamenical council, such an illustriousgathering. These fathers have provided theantedote, the true solution for us they're, the reasons that we can not have to go through such tumult. We follow in their footsteps and wedon't dare move their landmark that they establish, we honor it and we considered a gloryand a joy to inherit the faith from them and a whole way of doing life. Wetake it from them and we seek to inculcated to incarnate it in our ownlife so that we can bear the same beautiful fruits that they bore. Today. We remember especiallymagnificent people like Saint Nicholas, the wonderworker, who was there at thefirst council, Saint Spiradon of Trimifus, who worked miracles on the floor of the council to defendthe Orthodox faith against heresy, mishop Alexanderstan, Alexandr ofAlexandria, who brought with him Deacon Othenasius the great became Sen atthenosials, Saint Pagnutius, who literally camefrom the Egyptian desert and rose to speak to the fathers to defend themarried priesthood when anumther of the Roman delegates attempted to insist on priestly celimacy an you imagine a better defender, the one of the greatest aetetics one ofthe greatest monks of the desert, who said don't become more apostolic thanthe apostles. These are wonderful men and all them evagrious that great former of monastic life at the time. Hesaid this. These things he said, do not merely speak with pleasure, about thedeeds of the fathers, but demand of yourself. Also, the accomplishment ofthe same amid great labors he's encouraging US brothers andsisters not just to admire them, not just to esteem them, not just to praisethem to copy them to think the way they fought to lovethe way they loved to live the way they lived now you- and I know that this is a tasktoo great for us too great,...

...but it's our ambition. It's! What we're about is to becomerooted fruit bearing trees like them not blown here and there by the therashing of our day, and so I'd like to having mentioned thefathers and our need to imitate them. I'd like to specifically talk about oneaspect of life where I think we can make progress in imitating them, andthis is the aspect of laughter. I want to talk to you about laughterthis week. If you were reading through your through the Bible in the year readingsyou were in ECCLESIASTICIS or Syrac, and you would have read chapternineteen and you would have heard a magnificent verse in that chapter. Thelast vers of the chapter, which says there are three things that show fortha man how he dresses, how he walks and how he laughs 'a magnificent text. These are three things, not the onlythree things, but these are three things that bear witness to who aperson is now I'm dempted to give three homilis on dressing,walking and laughing. I really am but Pentacostis next week. So as Icontemplated, I thought can't do that. So let me just say two quick thingsabout dressing and walking, and then I want to hone in on laughing by the way. None of these things arebelieved in by our contemporary culture. The common wisdom of our day is thathow you drift is irrelevant about who you are than these are just externalsdisconnected from the person. It's not true. We all know that uniforms have a lot tosay about us. They can tell you somethings that are very obvious, thatman is a policeman that man is a pries that girl over. There is a doctor. Thisyoung woman is a nurse that tells you things for sure, but more a person's simplicity or vanity can besometimes discerned by what they're wearing what they think aboutthemselves. If they have discretion and be manifested in clothing, if theyhonor the church can be manifested in clothing. Modesty on the outside is an expressionof modesty of the heart. This is why- and this is a special note-I'm not picking on anybody. I am not as a loving father, I am simply makingthis reference, especially our young...

...people, and especially our young ladies,should take note of this. If, in fact, how you dress manifests your heart'scondition and who you are as a person, there should be an obvious distinctionbetween how pious, believing Orthodox Christians dress and how the worlddresses- and this is a critical moment now, because it's very hard for we wholove modesty and bowed down before the Virgin Mery, it's very aws hard for us to findclothing. Almost every shop you drive by Hav in their windows, the clothing forhorse- forgive me, but this is true. You would never see the Virgin Marywearing. What's mostly in the window of forever twenty one or whatever? Would you ever see her with thoseclothes on know, and it's not because she was a prude and Glom, and she wasalways like this. That's not the case, she's, the the epinome of radiance andjoy and beauty. No one looked like her, but she had modesty of heart. You know this week I have a veryspecial meeting plane, I'm thrilled about it. It's my second meeting with areligious leader from other religious traditions and Riverside in an attemptfor us to have a collaborative function. Guess what that function is a fashionshow? Yes, yes, I am trying to meet differentreligious leaders in our community who would go in with us on a collaborativefashion so so that we can draw to our town textile producers, who will makesomething dignified, that we can hone in some wonderful, beautiful but respectableclothing you're welcome by the way. This is not completelynovel idea. Both e Catholic Church and the Mormon Church have actuallyarranged these shows in the past with nordstrums and have actually got itdone. We're not trying to create somethingout of nothing. That's just a word about clothing. Whatabout walking think about how much you can tell sometimes what a person'sthinking by how they're walking are they focused or they are theymeanderers, walking kind of in circles going nowhere? Do they walk with chestout with head high or are they walking with their heads down? Are theypeaceful, walking at a normal gate or distressed really moving...

...walking can tell us a lot, but I want to focus on laughing now. The first thing I have to do isjustify, even speaking about laughing to you, because it is true and you'veheard me say it in the congregation that we do not havea single account in any of the four Gospels of the Lord Jesus Christlaughing, not a single account- and this is madeuse of by many of the holy fathers to call us to sobriety to seriousnessabout life, and this should be a quality of every sincyore Christian,we're serious. But we have the judgment on our mind. We have the Kingdom of God. On our mind.We know that this life is exceedingly important. We know that eternitydepends on it and that produces in US serious mind. However, because we don't have any accounts ofJesus laughing. Do not think for one moment that our saviour was a person ofdowr disposition who did not appreciate and constantlyuse humor, because he did. He both appreciated it and constantlyused it, and many of his teachings are impossible to understand authentically.If you do not get it. If you do not get it, then he had ahuge smile on his face. While he was saying it. If you take everything hesays literally, and you don't understand when he uses paradox when heuses outrageous exaggeration, when he useis irony, you won't get it all. Sorts of nutty. Interpretations ofthe Gospels have been foifted on religious congregations because of theinterpreter's insistence that Jesus did not appreciate humor. Let me just showyou a few examples of how he did. We follow our savior in sobriety. Weremember that he is a depicted in the gospels, often sad weepingcompassionate, serious, even angry, but also he was a man of immense andradiance radiant joy. Just like children, he was a grown up child just like the Virginremained a child. Her whole life, the Lord and his mother, remained whatthey call us to become to revert from the complexity of adulthood, into achildlike simplicity, so that we can enter the Kingdom of God. This is thecondition and children. They know how to laugh. They know how to laugh,innocently pleasurably in a godly way. Here's an example: try reading the sermon on the moundhere, children are grandchildren if they're young between the ages of saythree and eight.

I will promise you if you read itslowly enough, there are several places that they aregoing to smile, if not break out in complete laughter. Let me give you anexample: Chapter Seven, the Lord is encouraging us not to bejudgemental, he's forbidding it, and he says this orhow can you remove the speck out of your brother's eye while having a beam?Sometimes it's interpreted long in your own eye. Now we are so used to standing on every of our saviors wordsvery seriously, we're missing the image think about what he's saying he issaying something so, outrageously absurd. Can you imagine a telephonepoll sticking out of my eyeball right now I turned laugh and I smacked the pillar.I turned down. I hit the bottom and in that condition, with a telephone pallsticking out of my eyeball, I'm over here telling you. You know what youwere five minutes late to church, I'm very concerned about that and I'mtrying to get a tick. He meant it to be outrageous. He meantit to be completely ludicrous and ridiculous and to Causus to go. Oh,that's how crazy it really is. What am I thinking? Judging anyone? It's nots,it's crazy, think about H S, his use of the imageof the blind, leading the blind and both falling into the pit. Heespecially used irony and paradox when dealing with the religious leaders here are the religious leaders who areconfident that they themselves know the right way, they're so confident that they're donetenching themselves and now they're teaching everyone else, and yet they are in fact completelyblind and can see anything, but they've got people behind them by the hand andconfidently they're walking not knowing where they're going sankg trust me, Iam the teacher in Israel come on. I will show me how ins son run into thehole the blind leading the blind. Those ware just a couple examples. This kind of humor is uniquely human brothers and sisters.It's sublime. Our ability, in the midst of the greatest sorrows to have a smileto tease to laugh, is an incredible gift from God that wedo not share with any part of creation. None of the animals laugh like us, human and it's beautiful, a camel going through the eye of aneedle Huh. Here's a good example...

...that teaching about how a rich mancan't enter the Kingdom of heaven and anymore than a camel, Hump and all isgoingno fit through this little thodty thing. I can't even get with my glasseson the thread through the eye of the needle and our Savior says. If you canget a came with his hum through that, then a richmand can enter the Kingdomof God, it's so ludicrous, it's so outrageous and Mak. He makes his point.He wants you to smile, but some have said well. What this really means isthat there was a gate somewhere on the wall of Jerusalem. It's called thecamel gate and it was made a pretty low, so camels would have to band down ontheir knees in order overt completely missing the point, because they didn't understand whatJesus was saying and what he was employing now brothers and sisters areencouraging. You in this and to a godly, joy and laughter doesn't mean, of course,that all laughter is good and a lot of laughter. Isn't we don't coarsely jest? We don't makelight of sin, and you know a lot of the standup acts, a lot of the famouscomedians in our society. Not You Basil. You are great. A lot of the standups in our society. Make Jokes about sin. Andwe can't laugh. We can't laugh aboutwhat hurts people, we don't joke coarsely or make light of Sandand. Wealso don't play indiscreetly with holy ormysterious things. We don't make really beautiful, churchly things theobjects of our jokes to trivialize them, and we don't use jokes to tear peopledown or just say, jokes and make humor for humor's sake. Some people have totell jokes constantly because they're tormented by seriousness, they're so afraid of quiet and beingable to examine, listen to their own voice of conscience that they have totell jokes constantly. This is not what we're like, but avoiding those types of that type of foul joking does not meanthat we're dismal and matter of fact in that same sermon on the mouth, oursaviour said these words as a command in the imperative do not be dismal. The context was fasting, something it'svery easy to allow to make us dismal grumpy and irritable, but it applies to all of our life. Ifwe're not to laugh like that, how can we laugh? Let me suggest just a fewthings. First, laugh as an extension of the joy of the Lord and the presence ofhis kingdom in your life, laugh because he laughs laugh because you know that the thingsthat threaten you, the sorrows of life...

...death, which is u coming upon you andyour loved ones, is not the end. This is why Christians have always hada ganety that have marked us out for twenty centuries. We've always had ajoy that can be taken away, even in the most difficult circumstances. How canPaul and Silas be in jail, beaten up at midnight rejoicing? They knew because of the Kingdom of Godthat none of these earthly things was the end or ultimate. This is produced in them. In the midstof great sorrows, tremendous rejoicing and Gaiety, we laugh innocently, wetease innocently and the best way to do. That is to tease yourself and to makeyourself the brunt of your jokes. This is a uniquely Christian thing todo I'll. Give you a perfect example this morning, Deacon, knowing in fact that I'm goingto be preaching on that in his immense humility, chose to read the wronggospel text. I had to come down and correct him. That is how humble he is and howwilling he is to allow a distraction to come so that he could become the bruntof the joke. Isn't that right deeper? This is the best way to do it. We tell jokes also, and we tease inorder to protect others, to remove sometimes when, when someone is underthe microscope is, are being unfairly treated. This is a fantastic timewithout judgment to be able to deliver someone from an uncomfortablecircumstances, through the use of a good piece of humor, to draw someonefrom an unduly serious Millyeu into a lighter context and escape someone frombeing ijudge, and we can also use it to teach as our savior did. These aregodly ways to laugh brothers and sister and to combine within ourselves at thesame time that true spirit of Harmolepi, joyful, sorrow. A man can be determined by how hedresses by how he walks and by how he laughs- and there is such a thing as a godlyand radiant joy and a humor that comes from being united to the Lord, thetriumph for the king, the conqueror of sorrows Lory to his name. We hope that you have enjoyed and havebeen edified by this presentation offered to you by Patristic Nectar,Publications, a nonprofit organization committed to nourrishing thespiritually thirsty with the sweet teachings of the Holy Fathers. If you are interested in otheravailable titles or if you would like more information on patristic NecyarPublications, please visit our website at www, dotpatristic, nectar, dodorg.Again, that's www dot, patristic nectar,...

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