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.
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
Being and Becoming—This is the Life of a Disciple
And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. Acts 13:52
Good morning Prayer Team!
The journey through this unit on the Prayer Team began back in January when we introduced our word for the year, ENGAGED. Since that time, we’ve talked about Jesus Christ, the Son of God, our Savior. We are His disciples. He leads. We follow. We’ve spoken about the call to be disciples. This call is for everyone. The call is the same for you and I as it was for the fishermen on a boat 2,000 years ago.
Anything worthwhile in life has costs and benefits. Therefore, it shouldn’t be a surprise that being a disciple of the Lord has both. There are significant costs. There are benefits not only for eternal life, but right now, in our lives today.
The anchor of our identity as disciples is found first and foremost in prayer. And prayer is very simply, being with Christ. It’s not even asking or talking as much as it is being with Him. From prayer grows worship, charity, and action. Being a disciple requires us to DO certain things. It’s not just about personal belief and personal growth, but about caring for the faith of others.
And from all these things grows confidence and joy. No one want to be insecure. Insecurity is not a good feeling. When we are faithful disciples, this should bring us spiritual confidence.
In our next unit, which will begin tomorrow, we are going to shift our focus from disciples to apostles. Disciples, by definition, are students. Apostles, by definition, are workers. That doesn’t mean that when we were students, we didn’t work, in addition to our school work. And it doesn’t mean that once we joined the workforce after being students, that we don’t go back for continuing education. The work of an apostle begins while we are disciples. The learning of a disciple continues after we become apostles.
Today is a graduation day of sorts, as we leave one course of study and are about to enter into a new realm. We can look back with nostalgia at the things we have learned so far. And we can look with eagerness and enthusiasm for the next chapter that is about to begin.
The life of the disciple is not about attaining something. It’s not even about belonging. It’s about being and becoming, and ultimately sharing.
There is no way that Peter and Andrew, James and John, and the others could know what would happen to them when they decided to follow Christ. There is no way that they could possibly anticipate both the joys and the sorrows they would experience. But they went. They trusted. They gave everything because they believed that Jesus was everything.
There is no way that we can know, not you, not I, everything that can happen when we decide to follow Christ. There is no way to know the joys and the sorrows we’ll experience along the way. There is no way to comprehend the euphoria of heaven. Will we go? Will we trust? Will we give everything because we believe that Jesus is everything?
To again quote I Corinthians 2:9-10, “’What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love Him,’ God has revealed to us through the Spirit.” And then the verse from today, from Acts 13:52, “And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” The disciples decided to answer Christ’s invitation to come. They dropped their nets, left their boats, left their homes and their families and they followed. And because they did, they were filled with that joy, and they saw those things that God prepared for those who love Him.
The Lord answer you in the day of trouble! The name of the God of Jacob protect you! May He send you help from the sanctuary, and give your support from Zion! May He remember all your offerings, and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices! May He grant you your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your plans! May we should for joy over your victory, and in the name of our God set up our banners! May the Lord fulfill all your petitions! Now I know that the Lord will help His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven with mighty victories by His right hand. Some boast of chariots, and some of horses; but we boast of the name of the Lord our god. They will collapse and fall; but we shall rise and stand upright. Give victory to the king, O Lord; answer us when we call. Psalm 20
The journey of the Disciples began with a call to come and follow. This is where our journey begins. Will you come? Will you follow?
What is your answer?
Here I am. I will come. I will follow.
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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