In the Service

In the Service

It is customary on the day of Ordination to offer a few words before the bishop. On the day of my ordination to the Diaconate, being a lover of languages, I made the connection between the words Sargeant, Deacon, and Samurai. Each of these words means “servant” in their respective languages of French, Greek and Japanese.  The scope of Discipleship in these roles is therefore clearly defined by Service.

One of the reasons why the Spiritual Life often feels so much like just spinning our wheels and getting nowhere is that we often lack a clearly defined purpose. In truth our communities wear so many hats in terms of identity that the confusion can be understandable. Are we cultural organizations, educational and ethical structures, are we a spiritual organism?

Christ has not left us without an identity and a direction. We need merely to be reminded of it and the rest of the purposes which we serve here will fall into perspective. In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus discloses the location of this mysterious “Kingdom of God”. Luke 17:21 He says “Behold the Kingdom of Heaven is within you”. The primary reason you are here is not to connect with your culture, however beautiful and venerable it may be, it is not to unite with your friends however wonderful they are, whatever other good motive we may have and may even enjoy here, it comes second to being the instrument by which the world sees God.

This is the price and the task of Discipleship. We are here by virtue of your baptism has the vocation to be a Disciple. “For there is one Spirit but there are many forms of service” and none of you are left uninvited to contribute to the work.

And Christ, Himself, taking the form of a Servant, of a Disciple gives us an example of what we consider to be our great and primary purpose must relativize every other task we are undertaking. For when Christ was called to heal the daughter of Jairus, on the way He was encountered by a woman with a long and incurable illness, touching Him she was cured, He stopped, interacted with her and raised Jairus’ daughter, who had in the meantime passed way, raised her from the dead. The woman He encountered was not an interruption, she was there to encounter the Kingdom of God and He was there to make that possible.

We become so busy in the various many good things we do: we plan good and charitable work, we write articles, prepare sermons, we put together lesson plans, we sit down to balance our budgets but then we make the fatal mistake of taking these things for the ends and not the means. All of those things that we do, each and every last one of them is in fact very important but it is only important as a means for the end of your service, for the Kingdom of God to touch the brokenness of the world.

This is the price of Discipleship and make no mistake, because of your Baptism, each and every last one of you are called to be a Disciple. The opportunities to be a Disciple, a Servant of all, will pass right in front of you-if you just happen to look up from your phone. Each of you has a gift, a strength that God has placed in you for the service of His Kindgom, and in that service the Reality of Christ is once again Incarnate and Visible.

For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve.

+Amen.

Originally Recorded: November 17, 2016

ABOUT FATHER MICHAEL MARCANTONI

Fr. Michael Marcantoni is the priest at the Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Spirit in Rochester, NY. Originally from Puerto Rico, he is a Veteran of the United States Army, he has been married to his Presbytera Katherine from Arequipa, Peru for 10 years. They have two children. Led by the Spirit is presented to you to be practical, applicable spiritual guidance for the struggles of everyday life.

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