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How to tell the joys of Heaven from the pleasures of the world

Finding the joy of Heaven in our Lord

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How good it is for us to be here, how joyful! We celebrate life while the world fixates on death. We see joy, but the world sees sorrow. Yet those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Our joy is the joy of a heart that has found God.

It is not a momentary pleasure or an expectation of an immediate reward for doing God a favour. Nor is it some short-lived enthusiasm that quickly turns into a disappointment. We seek the abundant joy of Heaven - and we can only have it when we break the shackles of the world. "I will not die but live and will proclaim what the Lord has done," as we read in the Scripture.

Our fixation on our moods, grudges and displeasures will not take us far in the way of God. It will not keep us from despair, frustration, disappointment and a sense of failure. A true believer will not entertain any such thoughts. His every day is like a new beginning; a new page in a book; a new chapter in his life. We cannot avoid mistakes, and we should not be afraid to err. Our errors make us conscious of our fallibility and teach us humility. I am fallible as a Christian, priest and human being. But God can bring me to excellence. Without God, I am nothing. With Him, I can accomplish many things. “But through Him who gives me strength, I can do all this!”

I can do all this. I can see beauty in every person. I can refrain from asserting my truth and my judgement for the love of God and my neighbour. I can keep myself from condemning another.

We are partakeкs of the life to come and its eternal joy, but all to a different degree. Some have not experienced them at all. Others have found them but will have to work hard to hold on to them. We all have to fight the battle for our hearts and minds if we want to proceed with the changes to our lives that we have long delayed. How much have we said to ourselves, "I could not do without that! I would be too bored without those parties and the chit-chat." But the truth is that when we live with God, there is no place for boredom.

So let us pray for the strength to become one, single, indivisible and indestructible body of God and that the Holy Spirit dwells in us. God lives in every person. In some, He is easy to see. Sometimes, one might have to look hard. But no one should be discouraged - we have an exciting journey ahead.

Let us continue to project the joy of God's love onto others. On Radunitsa, we will bring it to our deceased when we visit their graves, but candles, sprinkle holy water and pray over them. Those with gardens will soon begin to plant the new crop. Soon, the earth will warm, and the crop will grow. We will reap a good harvest, and so the joy will multiply.

Christ is risen!

Archpriest Andrey Lemeshonok

Delivered at the Sunday Liturgy on 1.05.2022

May 06, 2022
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