"…Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it " [John 2:5]
Bright Wednesday 2013
"… Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it" [John 2:5]
CHRIST IS RISEN!
is advice that we need to follow closely. It was given by the Holy Theotokos, to the servants at the Wedding Feast in Cana, when there was no more wine at the feast. Our Lord told the servants to fill 6 waterpots with water (an inexplicable command), and draw some off and bring it to the ruler of the feast, and the water turned into wine.
Our will is unreliable since it is tainted by the passions. We often get things wrong. God's will is always GOOD.
Sometimes we know and understand why God is telling us to do a certain thing such as that we should love our enemies or we should we should do good to those who do evil into us. That is the easy stuff (to understand, but not always to do!).
The hard part is the following God's will when we do not understand why or perhaps we don't even understand exactly what it is we are to do or what the result is supposed to be.
This happened to Peter when he was told by the Lord very early in His ministry to let down the nets for a draught. He has been fishing all night and caught nothing, and experienced fishermen of that time knew that the best time to catch fish was at night and therefore it made no sense from an earthly or worldly perspective to let down the nets in the middle of the day; it was a fool's errand. Peter even stated as much to the Lord, but he obeyed him, perhaps not expecting anything, and of course they caught a great catch a fish
I tell myself and my flock many times things that some do not seem to understand or accept – for instance – come to the services regularly, confess and commune regularly, fast, pray often for some difficult thing to be resolved. The problem is that although all these things cause grace to abound in the heart it happens most of the time in an invisible and even imperceptible way and it takes much time for us to overcome our passions and the difficulties in life that we experience.
All we need to do is obey the Lord, and things will always "work to the good". I have a saying which I say often: "It is always right to do the right thing", and its corollary, "It is always wrong to do the wrong thing". It is really that simple.
The part that it is not simple is that sometimes we don't know what the right thing is that we should do. In the wedding at Cana the Lord gave clear instructions; just go fill some water pots with water. In our lives things are much more gray and we often do not have full or even significant understanding, but the Lord will reveal Himself to us and things will "make sense" if we seek Him.
If you often don't know what to do or you are confused by the moral choices that life presents to you then I submit to you that you're not seeking the Lord enough. Something in your life is clouding your understanding. Life is about becoming like God; if we become like God then we think like Him and we acquire his mind. If we acquire His mind then we are not confused by anything.
To summarize: this simple statement – "… Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it" seems to me to have two important meanings and commands. The first of course is readily apparent: we must obey the Lord every time in every place and in every situation. The second is more subtle and is inferred by the first: we must learn what it is Lord wants us to do, and knowing this takes effort and dedication.
Priest Seraphim Holland 2013 St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas
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 Luke 5:4-6 Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. (5) And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. (6) And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.
 Romans_8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
 Often this is sin, since "Sin makes you stupid".
The thing I love most about this story is the interaction between the Theotokos and her son. A problem arises at what is supposed to be a very happy, human event—a wedding. Everyone is celebrating and now, perhaps due to a lack of proper planning or an oversight, something is about to occur that is going to cause the feast to end on a down note—there is no more wine. The Theotokos sees this and is concerned for the young couple and their families. She knows exactly where to go to get help—to the Lord. He has never worked a miracle before yet somehow she knows that He will have the answer. But she doesn't ask Him to help or tell him what to do—-she simply comes to Him and informs Him of the need.
The Lord's response is interesting. He essentially asks her why she is coming to Him with this problem and tells her that His 'hour has not yet come' indicating that He can't do anything yet. This reminds me of the times the Lord would ask people who came to Him for healing what they wanted Him to do for them or the time He indicated to the Syro-Phoenicean that He couldn't help her. Yet, like this woman, the Theotokos persisted. She didn't reply to her son's question, she simply trusted—and she turned around, not knowing what He would do and told the servants to 'do whatever He tells you to do'. This is the demonstration of our Mother's faith and confidence in her Son.
So, from this example, I know exactly what I am supposed to do when the wine runs out in my life. I present the problem to the Lord (or even better, ask His Mother to present the problem to Him, as well.) Then no matter what kind of immediate response I get (or don't get) I trust, persist, and wait for what He tells me to do. As in the case in this story, what He tells me to do can be something seemingly odd and unexpected (like directing me, as a Protestant in a time of crisis, to seek out the help of an Orthodox priest)—but mine is not to question why, but to obey. And in obeying, through His grace, He turns my lack and the bitter water of my tears into the wine of joy and gladness.