Sunday, April 21, 2019

Easter, Palm Sunday and Prayers

Today, for the Orthodox, is Palm Sunday.  By tomorrow the world will have forgotten Easter.  But Holy Week for us is just beginning.  Blogging will be light.  I will try to focus on the holy things of the world.  I brought myself back to issue-blog during Lent as a sort of penance, and as the powers of Hell openly manifest in the modern Left, it was worth documenting the speed with which we are watching the collapse of the American Experiment and the coming storm, and the loss of so much that so many fought to bring us.

With that said, we live in a fallen world; a creation tainted by sin.  Evil happens.  If it wasn't the Left, it would be something else.  All groups have their evil elements, and the Enemy is simply waiting for that perfect combination that forms to bring the most suffering and destruction.  Right now, it happens to be the modernist Left.  In ages to come, it will be others.

Nothing brings this fact out more than the horrific bombing of a church on Eastern Sunday in Sri Lanka.  Likewise we watched in horror only weeks ago as dozens of Muslims were gunned down in cold blood in mosques.  Last year a madman went into a synagogue and murdered multiple Jewish members of the community.  And all of this while Chinese authorities continue to oppress and persecute multiple faith groups who run afoul of their Communist secularism.  This doesn't count the daily evils we see all around us.  Evil is a universal characteristic.

But this week (and for our Western brothers and sisters in Christ, last week) we are reminded that we have an assurance and a link to the Author of every good and perfect gift.  The longer I live, the more convinced I become that the Faith will thrive when we realize just how much of the world has infected and converted the Gospel message.

During the Divine Liturgy of the Orthodox Church, we prayer the a prayer of St. John Chrysostom, part of which I post here:

Of thy Mystic Supper, O Son of God, accept me today as a communicant: for I will not speak of thy Mystery to thine enemies, neither will I give thee a kiss as did Judas; but like the thief will I confess thee: Remember me, O Lord, in thy Kingdom.
I thought about this today as we prayed that prayer before Communion, and before our annual procession of the palm branches around the church yard.  

I will not speak of thy Mystery to thine enemies.  To thine enemies.  God's enemies.  There was a time when the Church admitted to real, demonic evil and those who served it.  And though we are called upon and commanded to pray for our enemies, forgive our enemies and even love our enemies, at no time did our Lord suggest that in doing so they would cease to be our enemies.  Or the enemies of God. 

Those enemies are simply those who have joined the powers of Hell to fight against the Light.  We are all children of God, yet also born into a world of sin.  The main enemy we must always fight is ourselves.  But in so doing, we can never take our eyes off of the fact that there are those who may be willing servants of the Evil One.  It is their part to sway as many from the path of Light as possible.  If not, they will attack the Faithful and through fear and oppression try to cause believers to lapse.

For too long we've focused on the sins of our forebears; those in that great cloud of witnesses who we had no problem condemning and convicting.  At the same time, we've tried for generations to reach out a compromising hand to the world in the hopes that we would convert the world, all the while the world was actively - and effectively - converting us.  And the power behind that world evangelism is nothing other than the Great Accuser himself. 

The night is drawing near and the day is almost done.  Yet we who align with the heavenly Light, with the Triune God, and are led by the Holy Spirit to fellowship with the Prince of Peace need not fear.  Things might get worse in this world, and likely will.  Yet that is no license to exploit the Gospel as a shield for cowardliness, apathy or selfish ambition.  We must fight this coming war with the weapons of the Spirit.  But even if we lose for a season in the material world of now, we gain so much more in the greater part of God's great Creation. 

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