Sermon by father Andrey Lemeshonok on Forgiveness Sunday

Sermon: "We will follow Christ until the end"

March 26, 2021

We wish you a Happy Sunday! And congratulate you with the feast of the Reigning Icon—the feast of the holy table of this church, our beautiful and wonderful church. We congratulate you all on the love and beauty that our Lord reveals without reservation— in spite of our unworthiness, our lack of understanding or our negligence. Despite everything, our Lord reveals His grace, and we see how He builds up this convent and sisterhood; how He builds up every soul that turned to God for help; how His Sacrament and His Love, despite our resistance and ingratitude, change our life.

And we remain 'on duty.' Regardless of how hard we feel, we follow Christ. It's the only right road in our worldly life. There aren't any other good roads—they all have dead ends, deep pits and dangerous bogs. And only this narrow path to follow Christ is the true road of life we should walk along until the end. 'He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.' (Mt. 24:13) We'll meet in several hours and ask each other for forgiveness. Then Great Lent will start, and it will be a spring for our souls despite anything that we are maybe afraid of. Much is to be changed in our life— starting with food and ending perhaps with the entire way of our thoughts and feelings. Great Lent tunes us up. Our Holy Church, like a heavenly tuning fork, resonates for us so that we play this note—a repentant note which is necessary for our souls. May God help us reach Easter and meet resurrected Christ to our joy towards God.

May He help us not get scared by hardships and difficulties. They'll be gone by Easter, of course. The world... They've done everything to frighten us so that we feel shaky. But when Christ is with us, we are invincible and we have no one and nothing to be afraid of—if Christ is with us and we follow Him. Thus, if we have found God, if we have met God in this life and come to the church, we shouldn't look about to see whether there's another way or there's a bypass or we'd better follow the crowd—be like everyone else. But we aren't like everyone else. We can't be like everyone else. We all will stand before God during the Last Judgement and be sued for our lives. For how we dealt with our lives, what we learned and what we acquired. Then we'll surely need the help and protective veil of Mother of God—we'll need her intercession for us because we're still so negligent. Of course, we could arrange our lives in a different way... But our laziness and some kind of carelessness and oblivion break us to a halt, and we waste our precious time and effort to figure out—to find out the one and only right solution... It's a waste of time and effort to figure it out.

We just need to follow God until the end. My dear, I wish you a Happy Sunday and I'd like to wish you a useful Lent and spiritual joy. There are grieves around us, there are people around us who're afraid of getting ill—they're afraid of close contact and sometimesthey try to go into isolation and hiding... Then we need very much this spiritual joy which would help us stay together—stay united— and defeat all grieves and all illnesses that mankind will face. Mankind can't be healthy, you know. Man degenerates. He doesn't need God anymore. He doesn't need anything at all. Because everything has been replaced by artificial things: artificial intelligence, artificial food, artificial delights... Everything becomes man-made. We, however, speak about the values that are not man-made. We speak about God's grace which enables believers—Orthodox Christians—to overcome this world that lies in wickedness. To overcome the natural order—our nature—and to overcome the devil who tries to keep us away from God and leave us in eternal loneliness and darkness. But he won't succeed. As we will follow Christ until the end. May God save you all! Glory to Thee, O God! Glory to Thee, O God! Glory to Thee, O God!

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