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
And the Lord said to Moses, “This very thing that you have spoken I will do; for you have found favor in My sight, and I know you by name.” Moses said, “I pray Thee, show me Thy glory.” And He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you My name ‘The Lord’; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.” But, He said, “you cannot see My face; for man shall not see Me and live.” And the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by Me where you shall stand upon the rock; and while My glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with My hand until I have passed by; then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.”
When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tables of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God. And when Aaron and all the people of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him. Exodus 33:18-23; 34:29-30
Let us pray to the Lord. Lord have mercy.
For You are Holy our God, and to You we offer glory, to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.
Good Morning Prayer Team!
The word “Glory” appears several times in the Divine Liturgy. Almost every time we invoke the name of the Holy Trinity, we are offering up “glory.” What does this word mean? Because it is hard to define and quantify. In the book of Exodus, Moses asked God to “show me Your glory.” And God told Moses that He would place Moses in a cleft in a rock, then walk by placing His hand over the cleft, and after He passed by, He would remove His hand and let Moses see His back, but not His face.
When Moses came down from the mountain, having seen the Glory of God, he looked different, because the “skin of his face shown because he was talking with God.” (Exodus 34:29) The people of Israel could not look right at him.
In the Gospel accounts of the Transfiguration, we read that Jesus “was transfigured before them (three of His disciples), and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became white as light.” (Matthew 17:2) And His disciples were not able to look upon Him.
The “glory” of God is something that we cannot fully comprehend. We know that His glory is more incredible than anything we can imagine. And we know that His glory changes people. It changed Moses. It changed the disciples.
So, what does it mean to give God glory? It means that we ae supposed to acknowledge His majesty and give Him honor through worship and praise, since He alone is deserving of these things. We bring God glory through our obedience to His Commandments and our efforts to acquire His attributes and virtues—things like love, patience, forgiveness, joy—and showing these to others in our life. We experience God’s glory in our own humility before Him. We experience it in prayer, in Communion, in nature. And we experience God’s glory when we open our hearts and let them be touched by God. God’s glory changes people, like it changed the appearance of Moses, like it changed the appearance of Jesus in front of His disciples. People who are filled with God’s glory are changed. Life’s rough patches become smoother and easier to endure with God’s glory. The inner beauty which God instilled in each of us shines forth when we become one with God’s glory. As we hear this line of the Liturgy, may it remind us about the glory of God—may we pray that God’s glory come on each of us, and that it changes us in a positive way.
The prayer that precedes this exphonesis, which is offered silently by the priest, is worth examining, because this prayer describes attributes of God which He has made accessible to us. And it serves as the prayer for today:
Holy God, You dwell among Your saints. You are praised by the Seraphim with the thrice holy hymn and glorified by the Cherubim and worshiped by all the heavenly powers. You have brought all things out of nothing into being. You have created man and woman in Your image and likeness and adorned them with all the gifts of Your grace. You give wisdom and understanding to the supplicant and do not overlook the sinner but have established repentance as the way of salvation. You have enabled us, Your lowly and unworthy servants, to stand at this hour before the glory of Your holy altar and to offer to You due worship and praise. Master, accept the thrice holy hymn also from the lips of us sinners and visit us in Your goodness. Forgive our voluntary and involuntary transgressions, sanctify our souls and bodies, and grant that we may worship and serve You in holiness all the days of our lives, by the intercessions of the holy Theotokos and of all the saints who have pleased You throughout the ages.
For You are holy, our God and to You we give glory, to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.
Have a great day!
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