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!

Audio here

In my various readings this week, I came across a very interesting and important homily by Archbishop John (Shahovskoy) [OCA, San Francisco, 1950-1973 & 1975-1979]. I’m not going to read or directly quote it today, but I’d like to give you the basic idea of what he was saying in this particular homily, and then tie that in with our Epistle reading this morning. He began by saying that many Christians feel that following Christ is a very difficult thing. The reason he says that so many of us feel this way is because we’re thinking big – we’re thinking that God requires something big, something great [and we understand this ‘great’ in worldly terms]. We so often talk using very grandious or theological or technical language, and we easily forget exactly what it is that the Gospel calls us to do. Christ, in the Gospels, calls us to make each and every decision during each and every day for Him. In other words, to follow Christ, I don’t need to do some single big, great deed – I need to do small things, I need to constantly do small things, to choose Him in the mundane and every day things. Very few of us are put in the position to do something “big” [at least in the meaning of the world], but we’re all in the position to choose Christ at each and every moment. This is a wonderful perspective – we live in the here now, we live in each and every moment, and that’s where our struggle to choose Christ takes place, in all those decisions we make throughout each and every day. Archbishop John says that if we think in this way, then following Christ because something not quite so intimidating. The reason he thinks this is so important is not because he’s going to say that following Christ is simple – we are called to take up a cross and follow Him. The Archbishop’s point is more that when we “think big” and get intimidated, we tend not to do anything for Christ – we get frozen and fail to accomplish anything. So our perspective is that we choose Christ in each and every moment, each and every day, growing closer to His image and likeness as we continually choose to do His will.

When you look at the sermons of our Lord, we very clearly see that our goal in life is to become like Him – to grow in our relationship with Him, and to be like Him. The Father’s tell us that if we’re like Him, then we can be with Him not only now, but for all eternity. So this goal is what should be guiding our lives – to be like Christ. And it’s in seeking this goal that we see the homily of Archbishop John come together with our Epistle reading this morning. I’d like for us to focus on one particular phrase from our reading from St. Paul’s Epistle to the Corinthians. He says, near the beginning, “we are fools for Christ’s sake.” This is a very important phrase when we think about our orientation as Christians in this world. Seeking Christ is foolish to the world – we abandon the things that the world holds as important (seeking power, money, authority, etc) and instead we seek the things of Christ (humility, mercy, forgiveness, etc). And this foolishness is lived in every minute of every day – we make multitudes of small, daily decisions, and those decisions either carry us closer to Christ or farther away. We greet each moment as something new, and in each moment we have the opportunity to choose Christ.

How do our daily decisions make us fools for Christ? We choose forgiveness when we’re upset, we don’t react in anger. We don’t get even with our enemies, we love them and pray for them. We take responsibility for our actions, we don’t pass them off on others or try to cover them with lies. We don’t stand up for ourselves, we seek the way of Christ’s humility. We’re merciful with those around us, not harsh or critical or overbearing. We set aside our own will and desires, and we do the will other another (especially the will of Christ).

All of these things are foolishness to the world because the world seeks her own wisdom, power over others, authority from within, to be in control and to be right and to rule. Ultimately, the world seeks freedom to do as it pleases. Our approach to this is simple, but foolish to the world – we would say that only in complete obedience (slavery) to Christ can man be truly free. We can only find the reason for our existence, and fulfill that reason, in Christ.

We seek our Lord daily, in each and every tiny thing that we do. We try to remain mindful at all times of our Saviour, so that He can lead and guide us step by step to an ever deepening relationship with Him. It may be foolishness to the world, but as St. Paul says elsewhere, to those who are being saved, it is the wisdom and the power of God (1 Cor 1:18).

Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!

Author Matthew Jackson