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” and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.”
Listen Now. We will now be including the daily reading of Epistle and Gospel with The Prayer Team.
ENGAGED: The Call to Be Disciples
Go, therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. Matthew 28:19-20
Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will act. Psalm 37:5
Good morning Prayer Team!
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “engaged”? Most people think of someone getting married. Why do they use this word to describe the period of time before one gets married? Why not just call it “pre-marriage” or “marriage prep”? The word “engaged” is used not just to indicate a time period before marriage, but the attitude and disposition of those who are about to be married. Those who are engaged are COMMITTED to a person, and to centering life around that person.
As we embark on this journey, let us first give an introduction to the words in its title, the first of which is “Engaged.” The first thing we need in order to be an “engaged” Christian is a commitment. A commitment to follow Christ. A commitment to a Christ-centered journey through life.
For most of us, the journey began when we were baptized as infants. The journey winds its way through our childhood, through a faith that is shared with us by our parents, to Sunday school classes, Christmas pageants, youth groups and summer camps. The spiritual life of parents is transferred on their children, while they are dependent children. That’s why parents need to be careful to model engaged Christianity for their children. Engaged Christian parents are more likely to raise engaged Christian children who will become engaged Christian adults.
At some point, however, Christianity, and our commitment to it and engagement in it, must become something personal. At some point, each of us must make a deliberate choice to follow Christ. Each of us will then decide to what level we are engaged.
When a couple decides to get married, when they become engaged, they don’t know how life is going to play out. No one knows what the future holds—how many children they will have, to what cities they might move, or what challenges will befall them. No one knows the future. What they commit to is a future together, in good times and in challenging ones. And for couples who are successfully married, there is a daily reaffirmation of this commitment, and over time, a deepening of the commitment.
On the day you were baptized, the priest asked you “Do you unite yourself to Christ?” Of course, most of us were infants and don’t remember our baptisms. Our sponsors answered the question for us. If you think about it, this is perhaps the most important question we are asked in our lives.
Do you commit yourself to Christ? This is actually a question we should answer every day, not only the day of our baptism. Since none of us can grasp the length of life, asking for a one-time commitment to do something for all time isn’t realistic. The commitment to Christ should be a daily affirmation. It is a worthy question to ask ourselves every morning as we get out of bed. Will you commit yourself, this day, to Christ? Not tomorrow, not some future period of time, but today? Will you put your life under His blessing today? Will you walk with Him today? Will you trust Him today?
Trust in the Lord, and do good; so you will dwell in the land, and enjoy security. Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act. . .Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him. . .For the Lord loves justice; He will not forsake His saints. . .Wait for the Lord, and keep to His way. . .The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their refuge in time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them. Psalm 37: 3-5, 7, 28, 34, 39-40
Being a Christian is a daily commitment. Will you commit to Christ today?
With Roger Hunt providing today’s Daily Reading: Listen Now.
These readings are under copyright and is used by permission. All rights reserved. These works may not be further reproduced, in print or on other websites or in any other form, without the prior written authorization of the copyright holder: Reading © Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Brookline, MA, Apolytikion of Abbot Marcellus © Narthex Press, Kontakion of Abbot Marcellus © Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Brookline, MA.
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.
Photo Credit: Orthodox Church in America
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