Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015, has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany”: “https://amzn.to/2t1rXwh and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.” https://amzn.to/2WAcfG0
Listen Now. We will now be including the daily reading of Epistle and Gospel with The Prayer Team.
Commissioned to Be Apostles: Love, Worship, Community, Learning, Service
Jesus said, “As the Father has sent Me, even so I send you.” John 20:21
Introduction – What’s the “Why?
“Yea, at that time I will change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech, that all of them may call on the name of the Lord and serve Him with one accord.” Zephaniah 3:9
Good morning Prayer Team!
Today we begin a new journey. Our last journey was entitled “Called to be Disciples” and it has lasted much of 2018. This title was preceded by the word “Engaged,” our “word” for 2018. The purpose of the just-concluded unit was to help us understand that each of us is called to be a disciple, a student of Christ and Christianity.
The journey of the Christian life doesn’t end once we’ve learned the basics, any more than the journey of life ends with graduation from college. Once we have acquired knowledge, it is time to apply that knowledge. In the context of college, the graduate takes the knowledge he or she has acquired and gets a job in his or her chosen field. They use their job to provide subsistence for themselves and their families, as well as to contribute something to the world in which we are living.
The disciple is a student of Christ and Christianity. We could argue that we are each going to be life-long disciples and that is true. We should be life-long learners about our Lord. The college graduate also should be a life-long learner, continually deepening their knowledge about their chosen profession.
However, just like the college graduate goes out into the work force and produces something for the betterment of society, so the Christian needs to go out and do something. This unit is entitled “Commissioned to be Apostles: Love, Worship, Community, Learning, Service.” The name is chosen deliberately to convey the “Why”. The “Why” is that Christ doesn’t only tell us to “come” and learn something. He calls us to “go” and do something.
The word for “Disciple” in Greek is “Mathitis,” which means student. The word for “Apostle” in Greek is “Apostello,” which means “to send out.” Prior to the Resurrection, most references to the group of men who followed Christ call them “disciples.” After the Resurrection, the majority of references call them “apostles.”
The purpose of this unit is to encourage us to apply what we’ve learned as “disciples” and to take on the role not only student but the role of an apostle, a worker.
The word “commission” is also intentional. A commission is an order, usually in the military, where a soldier or officer is given a specific task to do. In the case of Christianity, the commission is very simple—to make disciples of all nations. We will discuss this in greater detail.
There are five words which follow our title, “Commissioned to Be Apostles.” We will discuss them also in more detail, as they are the “core values” that should guide our actions as Christians. It is the hope that after our time of study on this unit, that we’ll each not only have committed these five core values to memory, but they will serve as guides for each of our lives, of what we are supposed to do.
The purpose of this new unit is to expand our thinking. We are not just students (disciples) but we are supposed to be workers (apostles). The role of the student is to learn. The role of the worker is to do. The last unit helped us understand what we believe. This unit will help us understand what to do with what we’ve learned.
O give thanks to the Lord, call on His name, make known His deeds among the peoples! Sing to Him, sing praises to Him, tell of all His wonderful works! Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice! Seek the Lord and His strength, seek his presence continually! Remember the wonderful works that He has done, His miracles, and the judgments He uttered, O offspring of Abraham His servant, sons of Jacob, His chosen ones! He is the Lord our God; His judgments are in all the earth. He is mindful of His covenant forever. Psalm 105: 1-8
Let’s get ready to go do it!
With Roger Hunt providing today’s Daily Reading: Listen Now
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The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyrighted 1946, 1952, 1971, and 1973 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. and used by permission. From the Online Chapel of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
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