The Arena
The Arena

Episode · 10 years ago

When the Winds Blow . . . Act Like Men

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1 Corinthians 16:13. Learn more about Patristic Nectar Publications.

Ancient faith radio and patristic nectar publications, present the arena Sunday homilies and theological reflections with Father Josiah Trenham, knowing the ten commandments and what they mean. This is not for experts, this is not for monks and nuns or priests. The Ten commandments are for every Christian, educated or uneducated. We should know the ten commandments, like we should know the nicene creed, so that when we lie at that moment, we become co laborers, literal collaborators, with the devil in the work of his kingdom of darkness. How shameful is the false teaching, so often bantered about today by irresponsible clergymen, that the church has nothing to say about the bedroom? What this really means is that this very significant area of human life will remain unredeemed, consigned to existence outside of Christ. The light of Christ illuminates all. There is no aspect of human life, let alone one so significant and influential as human sexuality, that is not ennobled or inspired, guided, purified and redeemed by our Lord Jesus and his teachings. What you have just heard our sound bites from some of the lectures in a ten part lecture series entitled do this and you shall live. An exposition of the Ten Commandments for the twenty one century. patristic nectar publications invites you to download the first of these ten lectures here at ancient faith radio. For more information and for the remaining lectures, please visit our website at www dot patristic nectar dot org. And now here's father Josiah with the Sunday homily, in the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit, one God. Mean what strange weather we endured this week. If you're like me, you spend yesterday trying to clean up the mess. Very unusual in the heat of summer to have such wind dust blowing everywhere, tornadoes in Paris last night. In this morning I was driving around palm fronds and massive branches broken down from trees laying on the road, and I thought to myself, as I was walking through it, trying to clean up its mess, that in many ways the experience of our weather this week is a picture, the small portrait of the chaos that's existing in our society today...

...and in the conversations that we're having. Lots of winds blowing. They're very warm, heated from below. Lots of dust is in the air because of it, which is causing many who are not firmly planted to the tree to be confused and not be able to see up, down, left and right. The Great Oak, this magnificent tree of life in the midst of the Earth. The church has felt this constant, these incessant winds, and she stood against these nasty winds, as she has for Millennia. She's outlasted them every time. She's prevailed over against every storm, and she only becomes stronger, healthier, more vibrant as she stands for the Truth and in the love of God, which together animate her very existence. This is nothing new for us. We don't fear for the church. She is the pillar and ground of the truth, Saint Paul says, against her the gates of Hades cannot prevail. We don't fear for her. We fear rather, for those who dared to raise high hands against God or to fight against God himself, which is always a losing battle. As we finished the last days of August, those of you who were reading with us through the year, through the whole scriptures, we ended by reading the prophecy of Daniel, such a magnificent text, and there is a depiction in there of the two great kings of Babylon who had to learn the hard way that when you fight against God, you lose. Nebuchadnezzar was one. He himself was so enchanted by his talents, he was so mesmerized by his immense building ability, the expanse of his kingdom, the beauty of the city of Babylon and its walls and gardens, that he had to be humbled by the Lord God. He was tricked by the appearance of his Own Majesty and he ended up losing his mind and walking on all fours. He crawled like an animal for seven years until he acknowledged that the Almighty, the most high, is in heaven and he gives power on earth to whom he pleases and he takes it away from whom he pleases. It took seven years of humiliation for Nebuchadnezzar to recognize that, and when he was done, he issued a proclamation throughout his kingdom to acknowledge this, that there is one God in heaven who rules over all. He had a son, Belle chazars his name, who followed his father's vice and not his father's...

...virtue. He was also amazed at his power and in chapter five of Daniel's prophecy describes a raucous banquet that Bell Shazzar orchestrated with his Lords, a thousand of them, his wives and his concubines, even though the Persian and Meeti's were just outside the gates of Babylon, their armies were there. They had issued war threats, and Bell Shazar could care less, so confident was he in the power of his defenses. Did Not Babylon have the greatest walls of any city in the history of mankind? No Army could do anything except crush themselves as they tried to attack the city, or so he thought. And so, with the armies of the Persians and the meads just outside, he began to drink and party and orchestrate this filthy orgy. And then he did the unthinkable. He called from the storehouses for his servants to bring the sacred and consecrated chalices that were in the Temple of God in Jerusalem that his father, Nebuchadnezzar, had taken when he sacked the city of Jerusalem. He called for those chalices and he brought them into his Raucous Party and he passed them out to his filthy co laborers in this vice and they filled them with wine and toasted the gods of gold, silver, wood, iron and stone, who can't see here or act. And in the midst of that, a hand appeared in front of him, was the hand of the Almighty, and the hand wrote on the Plaster Wall a message, men, a men a tech Alu Faterson. His knees began to shake, the great confident and arrogant one, his knees began to shake and he summoned his wise men, his conjurors, his astrologers, and they came into his banquet and he said, anyone who can interpret this for me will be given wealth and be power as number three in the kingdom. No one could do it until the Queen Regent came in and said, you know, there is one in the kingdom that served your father who can give you an interpretation of this. Called Daniel from the exiles, from Judea, and they called Daniel and he came into the presence of Bel Shazar. Bel Chazar made all of his promises of wealth and glory, and Daniel said, keep your gifts yourself or give them to somebody else. But I'll tell you what it says. He said your father, Nebuchadnezzar, grew arrogant in his great power until God humbled him, and you,...

...his son, have done the same. Let me read the interpretation for you. And he said men A, men a techloufar sin. Your kingdom has been evaluated by God, and you yourself, Belshazzar, have been weighed in the scales and found to be deficient. Your Kingdom is divided and it is given into the power of the Persians and the meads. And that very evening, Bell Shazar was slain by the Persian soldiers and the kingdom came into the hands of Darius. This is how it reads in Daniels Prophecy, that right hand that appeared. We priests have to think about it every liturgy. We think about that right hand when we put our vestments on. The reason is that there's a small prayer that the priests and the deacons say for each part of their vestments. When we put on the Cicarian we say a prayer, we put on the Appithe Helien we say a prayer of the felone. It's all the same. We all say different prayers about the meaning of what we're putting on. We think of the right hand of God and we put on the cuff, the right cuff, because we say something from the Scriptures. We say thy right hand, O Lord, is glorified in strength. Thy Right hand, O Lord, has shattered thine enemies and in the multitude of Thy mercy, Hast Thou crushed thine adversaries. Always now endeavor and on to ages of ages, we exalt. When we put on our right cuff, we remember the right hand of God and we remember his power to crush his adversaries and shatter to pieces his enemies. We do that because when you serve the liturgy, when you do something of such spiritual significance, you provoke reaction from the demonic realm, and the church covers her priests in the remembrance of the power of the Lord, that he is our protector and that no demon of darkness, no wicked spirit, has any power or authority against those who serve the Holy Liturgy. God will protect us and God will strengthen us to put them under the feet of the people of God. We remember this right hand. Those who fight God lose, those who attack his houses and who oppose his church and attempt to defile her sacred things will be destroyed and the church will prevail forever. This is the truth of history, our holy history, and it's the truth I want to remind you of now, when the winds are blowing. Did you hear the beautiful counsel of St Paul, so appropriate for the times when the winds blow? In his epistle to the...

Corinthians, he says this, be watchful. This is chapter sixteen, verse thirteen. Be Watchful, stand firm in your faith, act like men, be strong for exhortations in one verse so appropriate. Be Watchful. This means keep your news awake, keep the eye of your soul open, watch what's going on. Don't fall asleep spiritually. Keep your prayer alive. Don't walk away from God six days out of seven and only revive your awareness of God when you come to church. Let Church refresh you. To stay awake when you go out, so that you are about the business six days a week that you're praying about when you're in the Lord's House. Be Watchful. Be Watchful to of what's happening around you, what's happening in your society. Care about it. Stand firm in your faith. Here Saint Paul says, put your root down deep if you're going to be like the tree that have the wind blowing against it, if you're going to stand, you have to have your roots deep, deep in your faith. Put your roots down deeper, stand firm so that you aren't moved and when all of those things are going crazy around you, you don't have to be flailing in the wind. Those who love you and those who know your faith can come and touch you and feel a modicum of stability. They can say that person doesn't seem to be shaking. act like men. Now, let me explain this, ladies, let me explain this. When St Paul Commands all the Christians, men and women, to act like men, he's not asking you not to be a lady. In other places he asks all the Christians to act like ladies. Yes, it's true. He himself in fact said that he forced himself, as an apostle, to become a nursing mother, that tender, that compassionate to his flow. So sometimes men are called to imitate the special virtues of the women, and sometimes the women are called to imitate the special virtues of the men, and in this cat case, St Paula saying, look, we all have to be manly, which means that we have to be willing to fight, we have to be willing to look at the opposition in the face. We have to recognize what's going on and not be timid and not be one over because we're fearful. We need to act like men. And in the last thing he says, I love this, he says be strong, be strong. If he was talking about our body's then you would know he was commanding you to eat right, get your exercise, don't be a...

...flub. But he's talking about your soul. He's talking about being a spiritual athlete. If you want to be firm in the midst of the chaos, you need to be strong. You need to make sure that you are taking care of yourself spiritually, that you're disciplined, that you're doing your prayers, that you're keeping to the fast of the church. If you can take your seriousness in your spiritual life and translated into physical and your physical would then be healthy, then you know you're in a good spot. Spiritually, but if you took your spiritual commitment and you put it into the physical and you would end up being a couch potato, you would know you've got improvement to make in order to be strong spiritually. What we don't want to be, brothers and sisters, are the branches that are so tenuously attached to the tree, or perhaps so weighed down with the cares of the world, so heavy that when the wind blows, they break off the tree. This is what we don't want to be. We don't want to be the refuse, the debris scattered on the ground when the winds blow. This week the winds blew right into the living room of one of our Paris families. Literally, if you didn't know, notice this in the press enterprise on the front page on the Feast of the beheading of the forerunner. You might go home and look up the article. But on the twenty nine of August, how apropos that it would come out in the press. The winds of this world blew right into the living room of one of our own Paris families. It has to do with the cub scout pack twenty four and Redlands, a very old cub scout pack, the cub master and a majority of the families in that pack decided that it was their duty to defy the boy scouts of America. It was their duty because, in order, not allowing avowedly homosexual leaders, according to these folks, is prejudice and it borders on racism, if it is not explicit racism. And so they decided, even though they had voluntarily joined this wonderful organization called the boy scouts, even though they knew the boy scouts has had this policy since its conception, even though they knew the butt of Boy Scouts have won in court and defending these basic moral principles in their organization, the Cub Scout Master and a number of the parents decided that they were going to defy the boy scouts and they were going to open their pact to allow openly gay leaders and boys in it. Let me just read a quote from the news press. Pack leader, Mr Rich, said he was aware of...

...only two families in the pack who support the national policy of the boy scouts. One of these families is the Griffin family of redlands. Sherlyn and Brian Griffin are taking their son out of pack twenty four and enrolling him in a different redlands pack. Sherlyn Griffin said, quote. They have a right to their own opinion, she said, of other pack, twenty four families, but they're part of a private, nonprofit organization that always made a decision on this, that has already made a decision on this, and the appropriate thing to do would be to not be a part of this organization. Unquote. Mr Griffin resigned as treasure of the pack and the Committee Chairwoman resigned her post after it became clear that most parents at the meeting opposed the national policy. She says that she agrees with the exclusion of open the game members, volunteers and employees. Quote. The issues of sexual orientation and preference are really issues that should be taking care of at home, not in a group of young boys in a pack. She said. There you have it. How would you like to have your children in a pack and have the issues of the politically correct blow right into your living room so that you can't even participate in the cub scouts without having perversion being insisted upon as normal? Now, Christian leaders across our land, brothers and sisters, and I myself have been talking to about this for some years, yes, many years. Most of you have listened. Some of you have been real complainers. Oh, you're over exaggerating, father, it's not going to happen. Do I need to say I told you so? I don't think so. I don't think so. We all know that the winds of this world are blowing and they are not going to just say out there. They are going to come into our living rooms and blow on every side. And the important thing for us, brothers and sisters, is that we ourselves remain firmly attached to the tree so that we ourselves don't get broken off, so that we don't ended up some withered branch on the side of the road. I'm very proud of how our parishioners dealt with the situation this week. I hope that those who want to use the cub scouts to promote secularism and to affirm perversion will have a little integrity and cease the molestation of the boy scouts. I hope that faithful Christians will hold fast to the tree of the Church and deepen their roots and face down these hostile winds and only increase their love and their zeal for the truth that their fruit bearing might shine the light of Christ upon those who are watching, that the church might truly be a beacon in a light tower, so that many seeking through the dust that's blowing to find a harbor of salvation will know...

...where to go and they will know that the Orthodox Church stands firm and refuses either extreme of reaction. We absolutely will not permit the growth of any contempt for any human being, whatever sin he may be entangled in. We will not allow any hatred to grow. We refuse to stop loving, even those who are angry at us. We refuse and we will not stop being that way ever. And on the other hand, we will not ever tolerate the acceptance of immoral positions that degrade the human person and retard, if not ruined, their salvation. We will never do that. We will speak the truth of Christ on this side and we will speak the truth on that side. And if it's uncomfortable, we recognize that the Christian life is uncomfortable. I read a beautiful quote. I I was shared a quote by my oldest daughter this week. She has an APP on her phone. I need to learn all these things. She has an APP on her phone that sends her a daily quote from C S Lewis. I want that APP I don't know how to get it, but I wanted she sent me this one and it was so appropriate. He said that someone was asking him about why he ceased to be an atheist, why he became a Christian. He said, I did not go to religion to make me happy. I always knew that a bottle of part would do that. If we want a religion to make us really comfortable, I certainly do not recommend Christianity. Brothers and sisters, let's not seek the Comfort, let's seek faithfulness. Let's do what St Paul said in these turbulent times, be watchful, stand firm in your faith, act like men and be strong, and then we'll stay in the tree and prosper to the glory of God. Amen. 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. Until next time,.

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