In the 16th chapter of John, Christ is preparing His disciples for is upcoming passion, on the very night of His arrest. Judas the betrayer of Christ did not hear these words. There is a great and deep well of theology here, a Christological treasure trove. It must be understood, and this happens over time and with repetition – of reading the Scripture texts and living the Christian life. There is something else in this chapter that is too beautiful to talk about properly. It is so wondrous that we cannot explain it, because it promises things that “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard”. Our Lord describes our*end* state, the fruit of our labors. This is the entire and only goal of life – perfection in Christ.
Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, (29) And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”  [John 5:28-29]
We who are true Christians know that the way we live shows what we believe. The greatest heresy (meaning the most egregious to the soul) of our age is a relatively new one – that salvation is by faith alone. Those who espouse this heresy do not understand what faith is, and who its always present companion is. It is plain as day in the Scripture, as the Holy Apostle and brother of the Lord James says:…
Learning holy things is hard. The mind must be changed; we do not naturally think about heavenly things or reason in spiritual ways. … Nicodemus was a good man, and very pious and learned. …Even though he was such a man, he could not understand what the Lord was telling him, and was even rebuked about it…. Many stories we read from the Gospels during the Paschal season drive home this point – understanding heavenly things is hard. Let’s just flat out admit it …
“… What sign showest Thou to us, seeing that Thou doest these things?” This question the Jewish leaders asked Jesus after he routed the money changers out of the temple. It is a stupid question. They shouldn’t be asking “what sign”, instead they should be asking for forgiveness! The Lord had showed them a very personal sign, much like He would later do to the people of the Gergesenes. Their greed blinded them to the blessing the Lord gave them; He exposed their sin and gave them an opportunity to repent. This was the sign! Sins blind us to the signs the Lord is continually showing us. We also look for external signs, but the truest and most reliable signs are those that the Lord reveals to the heart…
“… Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it” [John 2:5]
This is is advice that we need to follow closely. … 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…..
“And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.” [John 1:46]
[Our parish is being encouraged to read the Gospel of Jon during the Pentecostarion period. If we read 1/2 chapter a day plus the remainder (about 2 chapters) the day before Ascension, we will finish in forty days. On Bright Monday, the suggested reading is John 1:1-28, on Tuesday the rest of the chapter (John 1:29-51)]
The following is a prayerful meditation on some part of the “assigned” reading. REMEMBER – read the scripture to apply it to yourself. This is all important. There may be parts you do not understand, but there will always be something that touches your heart if you read it prayerfully.
Meditation on “But as many as received Him, to them he gave power to become Children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were begotten not of blood, nor of the flesh, nor the will of man, but of God.” [John 1:12-13]. How do we *become* a child of God?
And Lamech said … I have slain a man to the wounding of myself, and a stripling to my own bruising. Sevenfold vengeance shall be taken for Cain: but for Lamech seventy times sevenfold.
What are we to glean from this first recorded instance of Hebrew poetry? …
Construction Photos Building of the Apse Oct 7/20 2009 20th Tuesday after Pentecost Apse construction viewed looking West Apse construction viewed looking East Look good (and will look better when we get some pictures with the deaconesses in front)! We should have the roof on inside of two weeks if the… Continue reading APSE-solutely Wonderful!
One of my favorite Matins Gospels is read today, today, but not in matins. I marvel at how, no matter how many times I read this gospel, alone, or in church, I am filled with ineffable emotion and hope. It seems to me that St John’s Gospel is filled with hidden instructions to the soul,… Continue reading Lovest Thou Me? Meekness. Patience. Learning things the hard (and only) way. Saturday before Pentecost. Soul Saturday. 2009