Sermon about life with God

When I look up, I see heaven

November 02, 2020

st elisabeth conventWe plead for the Lord’s help all the time. We need Him every step of our way. At one moment, we might think that we have come to some understanding or acquired some wisdom, but only a minute later we realise how much we were mistaken. As Orthodox Christians, we look to the defeat of this world, victory over death, and a new life with no end and only Christ in it. How could this be accomplished by us humans, in our flesh and blood when we know that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 15: 50)? As we read in the Psalms (143: 10), may Your good spirit lead me on level ground. We know that we should learn to live in the spirit and not let anything small or less important divert or distract us in any way. For the Lord says to us: Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well (Matthew 6: 33). Our life on earth is finite, and it is very short. It is given to us so we can learn to live with God, or at least begin to do so. Everything else is unimportant. A world that lies in evil will always be filled with strife, unrest, and upheaval. We are looking to a different world, one which can be found within ourselves. This is a world in which we have a personal relationship with God, in which we pray wholeheartedly to Him without being distracted by our worldly worries; it gives us the power to stand up to our enemy and defeat him in the name of Jesus Christ. When we have all this, what do we have to fear? Nothing, because Christ is with is.

But distractions have not gone anywhere – they are as powerful and insidious as ever, and they work! Look how many of our fellow human beings remain separated from the Church. Their situation is tragic indeed. One’s opportunities to meet God and have a conversation with Him are already very limited. Even when people come to church regularly, and take communion, many will not have genuinely met Him. But the enemy is working as hard as ever to divert us from our narrow path of salvation; he uses every opportunity to make us lose sight of our homeland in heaven and to have us follow fake leaders in pursuit of a false cause.

Christ came to save this world and its people. We were saved, but whether we still need Him now remains an open question. People are worried over many things like the rate of the Dollar or the Euro, but Christ, our Saviour, seems to be of little concern. We see this everywhere in the world. And so our enemy is growing ever stronger, and ever more effective. As Christians, we are certainly responsible for our daily affairs, but even more so being in conversation with Him through our prayer. It is our responsibility to do charity as an expression of love for our neighbour, to give up our selfish selves, to forsake our desires and our privileges as servants of God and other people. This is something that brings true meaning to our lives. Rather than simply biding our time on earth, we become truly worthy of His blood. "Give blood, take in the spirit".

That we are living in difficult times is not new. The real news is how adept our enemy has become at his deceit and manipulation. We are being flooded with news and information. We have become so addicted to it that cannot get ourselves to look away from the screens of our smartphones. It has taken quite a while to realise our enemy's cunning. Who would have thought that the enemy would know how to manipulate people who lived thousands of miles apart! Now we are certain that he can pull this off effortlessly. I beg you – please gaze at your smartphones less, and look more into the sky! When I look up to the sky, I see heaven. Remember that we are all going to leave this earth eventually, and all hope to unite with God in His Kingdom.

We would all be well advised to become less addicted to the news. The excitement that it may bring is not to our benefit. It only distracts us from seeking inner peace and stokes up futile passions and strife. Let us pray instead, dear brothers and sisters, for our loved ones far and near.

May the Lord forgive us!

Archpriest Andrey Lemeshonok

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