In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Christ is in our midst! He is and shall be!

Our Gospel reading this morning ended with these words from our Lord – “seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things [all the things we need for our life and for our salvation] shall be added unto you.” This is why we have the Church, the Body of Christ in the world, to help us seek the Kingdom of God. Going back to the beginning of the Gospel reading, we hear that if the eye is dark then the whole body is in darkness and how great is that darkness. Apart from Christ, there is only darkness – fallen man is perpetually in a state of darkness and sin and death. The solution for this is the Incarnation of Christ – God becoming man – Christ comes for our healing, to remove the veil of darkness from our eyes and our soul and to offer us communion with God – this communion, this relationship, is our light and our life and our salvation.

The Church – the Body of Christ – this is hospital where we come to be healed. This is where we meet Christ face to face. It’s very important for us to know that the Church is not about religion or dogma or canon law or rites and rituals – it is a place of healing, healing the rift between God and man caused by our sins. I recently read where a Bishop of Cyprus said that theology should not be taught in the school of Liberal Arts with philosophy, but should be taught with medicine because our faith in Christ is about wholeness and complete healing of the person in God – if we think about the Church is any other way it simply becomes another worldly institution.

This way of thinking dramatically affects how we live and how we interact with the Church:
-services aren’t rites we prepare for, but a continuation of our daily communion with God (Kingdom of God is within you), services become a place where God’s grace overflows and overshadows us;
-our daily prayers aren’t simply a duty, but part of our communion and our healing in Christ;
-fasting/repentance/confession, we don’t do these things because the Church says so, but to enable us to empty our own will and our sins and to surrender ourselves to the love of God.

This vision of the Church as the hospital, as the place of healing for our souls, helps take us into a very Biblical way of life – Christ is our life, according to the Scriptures He’s all we have, and He’s all we need. We should be seeking after the healing of our soul [salvation] even more aggressively than we seek after bodily remedies when we’re ill. When I have a headache I take an Advil; do I turn to God when the illnesses of my soul come to the surface? This is what we’re talking about – healing the illness of our soul – these failings/sins are listed in various places in the Scriptures (anger, jealously, lust) And how do we see if we’re being healed? Do we exhibit the fruits of the Spirit (ex Gal 5:22) – these are the signs we’re being healed. Ultimate healing, of course, is when ‘it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me’ – when we are the living image of Christ in the world.

The Church is given to mankind by Christ, and the Church gives us the therapeutic method for the healing that we seek. This method is very simple – the Church is here to assist us in following the commandments of Christ in our lives. His words are our prescriptions, following the commandments of Christ leads us to perfect spiritual health. The Fathers even say that this method is scientific – for example, St. Basil the Great says that the spiritual life is the science of sciences. If you follow Christ with all your heart, you will be healed – it ‘works’ every time. The Saints stand for us as the witnesses of this, they followed Christ, and they were healed. We’ve really focused on the Saints lately, with Pentecost and the Sunday of All Saints and then the Sunday of All Saints of America. These men and women are the proof that the prescriptions (commandments) given to us by Christ are healing and life-giving.

There’s a wonderful little story in the Gerontikon, where at the end of the story the Elder reminds his disciples that our life here on the earth is a blip, insignificant historically or in relation to time – but what we do with our time here will impact us for all of eternity.

As we stand here in the hospital, preparing now to lay aside all earthly cares in order to receive the King of All, I would encourage us to very seriously examine how we’re interacting with all of the wonderful things offered to us by Christ in His Holy Church for our salvation – our time here is short, let’s make sure that we’re using it in the best way we possibly can.

Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!