My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,
Christ is in our midst! He was, is, and ever shall be.
THE EARTHLY WORLD SHOULD MIRROR THE
"… We render thanks to Thee also for this liturgy which Thou
dost deign to receive from our hands, although there stand
beside Thee thousands of Archangels and myriads of Angels,
the Cherubim and the Seraphim, six-winged, many-eyed,
soaring aloft on wings." (St. John Chrysostom)
"Look down, O Lord Jesus Christ our God, from Thy Holy
dwelling-place, and from the Throne of Glory of Thy Kingdom,
and come to sanctify and ARE HERE PRESENT WITH US. And
do Thou deign by Thy Migthy hand to give to us of Thy
immaculate Body and of Thy Precious Blood, and through us
to all the people" (Divine Liturgy).
"Heaven is My throne,
and the earth is My footstool.
What house will you build for
Me? says the Lord,
Or what is the place of My rest?
Has My hand not made all
these things?" (Acts 7:49-50)
"…But he [ Protomartyr Stefanos] being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw
the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and
said, ‘Look I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing
at the right hand of God!’ (Acts 7:55-56).
"And He said to him, Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you
shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and
descending upon the Son of Man" (St. John 1:51).
"After these things I looked, and behold a door standing open i heaven.
And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me,
saying, ‘Come up here, and I will show you things which must take
place after this.’
Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, A THRONE SET IN HEAVEN,
AND One sat on the Throne. And He Who sat was like a jasper and a sardius
stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the Throne, in
appearance like an emerald. Around the Throne were twenty-four thrones,
and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting in white robes;
and they had crownes of gold on their heads. And from the Throne
proceeded lightnings, thunderings and voices. Seven lamps of fire burning
before the Throne which are the seven Spirits of God.
Before the Throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst
of the Throne, and around the Throne, were four living creatures full of eyes
in front and in back. The first living creature was like a LION, the second living
creature like a CALF, the third living creature like a face of a MAN, and the
fourth living creature was like a FLYING EAGLE. The FOUR LIVING CREATURES,
each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest
day or night, saying"
‘Holy, Holy, Holy
Lord God Almighty,
Who was and is and is to come!" [Revelation 4:1-8)
According to the teachings of Our Holy Orthodox Christian Church "with the end of this age and the transformation of the world into a new and better world, there is revealed the Eternal Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Glory."
Death will have no power in the Kingdom of Glory, "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death… Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory" (I Corinthians 15:26, 54). "There shall be TIME NO LONGER" (Revelation 10:6).
But the principle thing is that those who attain the future blessed life and become "PARTAKERS OF THE Divine Nature" (2 Peter 1:4) will be participants in that most perfect life, whose source is in God alone. By the words "partakers of the Divine Nature, we are NOT of course to understand that we can become God by nature, but rather that we can partake of God's Nature through participation in His Grace [Energies].
Depicted symbolicly in the Book of Revelation: "they shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more, neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the Throne shall feed them and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes" (Rev. 7:16-17). The Holy Apostle Paul writes: "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for they that love Him" (1 Corinthians 2:9).
However, this glory of God, according to the Holy Fathers of the Church, WILL HAVE ITS DEGREES, corresponding to the MORAL DIGNITY OF EACH ONE. The Holy Scripture reveals the following: "In My Father’s house are many mansions" (Saint John 14:2); "He shall REWARD EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS WORKS" (Saint Matthew 16:27); "every man shall receive his own reward ACCORDING TO HIS OWN LABOR" (1 Corinthians 3:8); "one star differs from another star in glory" (1 Corinthians 15:41).
Saint Ephraim the Syrian writes: "Just as everyone takes enjoyment of the rays of the sensual sun according to the purity of his power of seeing and of the impressions that are given, and just as in a single lamp which illumines a house, each ray has its place, while the light is not divided into many lamps; so also in the future age all the righteous will dwell inseparably in a single joy, but EACH IN HIS OWN DEGREE WILL BE ILLUMINATED BY A SINGLE MENTAL SUN, AND TO THE DEGREE OF HIS WORTH HE WILL DRAW IN JOY AND REJOICING AS IF IN A SINGLE ATMOSPHERE AND PLACE, AND NO ONE WILL SEE THE DEGREES THAT ARE HIGHER AND LOWER, lest looking on the surpassing Grace of another and upon his own depirvation, he will thereby have some cause in himself for sorrow and disturbance."
We all hope and implore the Almighty God and Creator to bestow His mercy upon us by His Divine compassion and permit us to enter into His Glorious and Everalsting Kingdom. One cannot merit nor be worthy of His Kingdom of Glory, but through His unconditional love for us sinners. Within us is a place of residence for God’s Spirit, somethng most unique in Creation. Therefore, man exists at the intersection of the spiritual and physical worlds between heaven and earth. Man is much more than merely a rational animal. He is a worshipping creature and the crown of God’s creation. We were created to be the sons and daughters of the Most High God to unceasingly pray, adore, worship and be forever in communion with Him.
We have somehow forgotten our divine purpose here on earth. Rather, we have wasted the time and we have lost the numerous opportunities to remain steadfast in our faith and to retain our loving relationship and communion with Him Who is always Ever-Present. What happen to us? Why have we failed Him so greatly? Is it because we have allowed pride to take charge of our mind and heart? Is it possible that we have grown indifferent and have replaced Him with our ego? Can we be so dreadfully ungrateful for all that He has done and continues to do for us? We have we lost sight of His Great Sacrifice on the Cross to save us? What greater proof of His love do we need to see? The sinful and evil results of our actions have created an atmosphere of violence, hatred, division, immorality, materialism, rebeliousness, apostasy and the loss of communion with our Heavenly Father, as well the loss of His grace.
The world that He entrusted to us had every chance under His Divine guidance to be an earthly heaven. It would be a holy place, a place where God would reign and everything would revolve around Him. The words in the Lord’s Prayer: "Thy will be done ON EARTH as it is in Heaven" would come to fruition and the earth, united with heaven, would truly give glory to God, the Author of Life. There would always be peace, justice, brotherly love, harmony and joy among all people. There would be no suffering, wars, killing, poverty, enmity, selfishness, ingratitude, spiritual illness, lack of compassion, neglect, exploitation, and corruption of our beautiful planet. There would never be any confusion of who we are and what were created to be.
Just as we make the necessary preparation before we embark for a long journey to a distant place, we must in the same manner prepare ourelves spiritually for this one-way trip to the next world. We must check everything and make sure that what is required of us has been done. How have we lived the life that God gave us? Have we invested the talent or talents that He entrusted to us so that He may receive the interest He is anticipating? This is what our Lord says, "For the Kingdom of God is like a man traveling to a far country, who CALLED HIS SERVANTS AND DELIVERED HIS GOODS TO THEM. To one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each one according to his ABILITY; and immediately went on to his journey." The first two servants invested the talents that their lord had given them, while the one that had one did not. Upon his return, their lord sought to settle accounts with his servants. He was very pleased with the first two servants, who he rewarded by inviting them to "enter into the joy of their Lord." To the third servant, who had not invested the talent but instead attempted to justify his wickedness and laziness, his Lord took away from him his talent and gave it to the one who had the ten talents, "And cast the UNPROFITABLE SERVANT INTO THE OUTER DARKNESS. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
Let us not grieve and anger our Lord by our disobedience and laziness. He cannot make it any more clear what we need to do. He has given us a life-time to do it in. We have no excuse or justification. Aong with His guidance and instruction, there is a clear warning and a real threat which we must take seriously. We must not be so foolish as to toy with God and our salvation.
BE MERCIFUL TO ME O LORD!
"Glory Be To GOD
– Saint John Chrysostomos
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With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God
+ Father George