A sermon on the eve of the feast of the Pentecost

Filling the void within, aiming for oneness with God

orthodox sermon

We are all in anticipation of the feast of the Pentecost, the descent of the Holy Spirit, an event of a truly cosmic scale. We pray incessantly for the Holy Spirit to come down and end our passions, doubts and sinful inclinations. May the Spirit give us the strength to live another year glorifying our Lord.

At every moment in our lives and in all our undertakings, we must be humble and trust the Lord. Our weaknesses are endless, and our minds too weak to know the ways of the Lord. We anticipate, but God decides. We may imagine ourselves to be masters of our lives and make our plans for decades ahead - only to find them derailed someday. But the Scripture tells us: "As for me, I am poor and needy; may the Lord think of me" (Psalms 40:18). In his prayers to the Lord, Saint Isaac the Syrian asked Him about the destiny of man, but the Lord replied, "It is not useful for you to know God's plans for people's futures. You do not need to know that. Look after yourself."

In our hearts, a temple of the Lord is being built. We may notice in our photos from earlier years how much older we have become, how many more creases have appeared on our foreheads, and how many more grey hairs are on our heads. Yet we only see the visible image of ourselves! In our hearts is a temple of God. We may look old, lame or withered, but the Kindom of God is now within us, and we shine with its genuine beauty. Appearances are deceptive.

We must rise above our worldly passions, habits, comforts and pleasures, with paradise in our hearts. We must be free as birds. But people like to be deluded. They work hard, but their efforts are misguided. Many people suffer from their delusions. We can recognise them by their cold and gloomy looks and their sense of dissatisfaction. They are always unhappy because they have no peace within.

But we, God's faithful, proceed boldly on our journey. Under the protection of the Holy Church, we all look forward to defeating the darkness within us. We hope to accomplish this victory for ourselves, our friends, children and families. This past Sunday, we commemorated Saint Euphrosyne of Polotsk, the patron saint of our school Ichthys. We hope that by the prayers of Saint Euphrosyne, all our children will learn to live in the Lord.

A temple is being built in our hearts. As on any construction site, there will be delays and errors. But none of that will divert us from our goal: to become one with God and defeat the enemy trying separate us. We are confident of our victory because Christ is in our midst. We will all be victorious. Christ sheds His love on us, which gives us the power to proceed. We share this love with others, saving thousands around us. May the light of His love always shine on us and never fade, and let us pass it on to those around us.

O, Lord! Glory to You!

Archpriest Andrey Lemeshonok

Preached on 05.06.2022

June 08, 2022
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