Yandex Metrika
Beyond Earthly Realms: a Feast for the Queen of Heaven

At the Feast of the Theotokos

Archpriest Andrey Lemeshonok

Congratulations to all on the feast day of our church dedicated to the Reigning Icon of the Mother of God! She, the Queen of Heaven, holds a sceptre, a symbol of true royalty. While earthly kingdoms may perish, she invites us to join the Kingdom Her Son spoke of: “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). Regardless of the fairness or justice of worldly laws, earthly kingdoms are temporary, and their laws are fallible. Our hope is to enter a Kingdom built on love rather than laws, no matter how flawless or defective they may be. As Blessed Augustine put it, “Love God and do as you please.”

Reigning icon of the Mother of God at Saint Elisabeth Convent in Minsk

Reigning icon of the Mother of God at Saint Elisabeth Convent in Minsk

In this familiar temporary kingdom, we rely on laws, as we are accustomed to being directed, watched and monitored, and cannot imagine a life without human fear. Yet, in perfect love, fear is absent (cf. 1 John 4:18). If we have come to church today, it is not just to improve our earthly lives. We seek to transcend our daily existence and enter a realm where the King humbly serves, surrounded by grace and love, not by attendants and warriors. The journey of love and service awaits us, for here the last shall be first, and true greatness lies in serving all. These laws and principles are starkly different from those of the earth. While we may seek to reconcile the Church and the world, the gap is evident: “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's” (Matthew 22:21).

We must remember that our citizenship is not on earth but in heaven. Let us not seek earthly justice, for love surpasses it. Through love, Christ instructs us, showing us the way. He trusts that we will conquer the desires of the flesh, as it is not possible to inherit the Kingdom by yielding to them. Instead, the Spirit of God will dwell within us, transforming us into “temples of the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 3:16), as Apostle Paul outlines for a Christian life. Although it may be hard to grasp, the kingdom within us reflects in the beauty we give to God.

Church in honour of the Reigning Icon
Church in honour of the Reigning Icon
Church in honour of the Reigning Icon
Church in honour of the Reigning Icon
Church in honour of the Reigning Icon

Church in honour of the Reigning Icon of the Mother of God at Saint Elisabeth Convent in Minsk

The Lord enabled the construction of the church where we now stand. Its splendour demonstrates the Orthodox commitment to serving God sparing no expense. Consider Holy Russia! It was holy because its people lived simply in huts, but great churches arose in villages. The people were offering their best to the Lord. Today, the world presses for equality with the Divine. However, the exquisite beauty of this church is not about opulence. The gold reflects the light of God's love. The murals and icons, painted with colours derived from genuine precious stones, inspire us by elevating our spirits and thoughts to the divine and away from the mundane.

Father Andrey Lemeshonok

Preached on 15.03.2017

 

March 15, 2024
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