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
They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of your words that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.” John 4:42
Good morning Prayer Team!
A man on a yacht fell overboard and was drowning. Other people on the boat somehow didn’t notice. He was yelling “I’m drowning, save me, save me!” One person on deck heard his pleas and threw him a life preserver. The man in the water grabbed on to the life preserver. The life preserver was attached to the boat with a rope. So the man who had thrown it reeled in the rope until the man was next to the boat and then helped him aboard. Relieved, the man who had been rescued said “Thank you, you are my savior! I will never forget what you did for me!”
To call someone a savior is something very serious. It’s no ordinary title. Let’s look at the man overboard in this story. He was close to death, and he knew it. He needed someone to save him, he knew he could not save himself. He needed someone to intervene to change the outcome of his desperate situation. Had the man on deck not intervened in the way that he did at the moment that he did, the man in the water most certainly would have perished. It was indeed appropriate for him to call the man who threw him the life preserver his “savior” because without him, no way would he survive. Upon reaching the boat deck safely, he thanked his “savior” and exclaimed he would never forget what the man did for him.
To call Christ our “Savior” is even more significant. It’s no ordinary title. Let’s compare Christ as our Savior with the man overboard story. Saint Paul writes in Romans 6:23“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We all sin. Thus, we are all like the man overboard. We are drowning in sin. And the result certainly will be death. There is a way to be saved. That is Jesus Christ. Now, the man overboard was screaming “Save me, save me!” He realized he was in trouble and needed saving. We must do the same, and cry to Christ “Save me, save me!” Now in the man overboard analogy, perhaps there were other people on deck who might have heard and might have helped. Perhaps there could have been another “savior.” What makes Christ “THE Savior” is that He is the only one who can save us from drowning in our sins. His Word is the Life-Preserver. He is the one who has thrown the life ring and He is the one who is going to pull it safely back to the boat.
Our role is to recognize our predicament, to reach for the Life-Preserver, and to hold on to until we are safely with Christ. As we are being pulled to safety, it’s necessary to hang on. Just because one has grabbed on to the life-preserver doesn’t mean he is already saved. He can still let go. But if he chooses to hang on, salvation is available.
The man overboard was very grateful. He couldn’t thank his “savior” enough.” This is how we are supposed to be. We are supposed to be thankful to our Savior. We are supposed to live in Him, and for Him, and WITH Him. We receive Him in the Holy Eucharist, the Divine Thanksgiving. We hold on each day through prayer and through works of faith. When the waves get big, we have to hold on tighter, and know that Jesus WILL PULL HARDER against those big waves. When life gets tough, He is working even harder for us.
There are two more roles at play in this scenario. We who are drowning and want to be “saved” need to know that the life-preserver is our means to salvation. We need people to teach about Christ, the Life-Preserver. This is something that good disciples to. And we need people to encourage us to hang on, even when the waves are big and the safety of the boat seems far away. This is the other important role of the disciple. Disciples know Christ. They eagerly tell others about Him. They encourage others to stay with Him.
To accept Christ as our “Savior” is an act of humility—it means that we must realize we need saving, that our predicament is dire with saving. It also an act of faith—we have to believe and to trust that the life-preserver is the means to salvation and that the Life-Preserver, Christ, is the one who will lead us there.
Hear a just cause; attend to my cry! Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit! Form Thee let my vindication come! Let Thy eyes see right! If Thou triest my heart, if Thou visitest me by night, if Thou testest me, Thou wilt find no wickedness in me; my mouth does not transgress. With regard to the works of men, by the word of Thy lips I have avoided he ways of the violent. My steps have held fast to Thy paths, my feet have not slipped. I call upon Thee, for Thou wilt answer me, O God; incline Thy ear to me, hear my words. Wondrously show Thy steadfast love, O Savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at Thy right hand. Psalm 17: 1-7
Hold on to your life-preserve today! Keep your eye on your Life-Preserver 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.
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