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
Let us rejoice and exult and give Him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His Bride has made herself ready. Revelation 19:7
Good morning Prayer Team!
Many people on the prayer team have had the experience of being engaged to be married. The experience is the same in most instances. A guy takes a risk and asks a woman to be his wife. The girl says yes. Both are euphoric. They’ve agreed to never go out with anyone else. They’ve agreed to share a life together, in good times and in bad times. They’ve made a once for all time commitment to one person. What a big decision! And yet, people make it with joy, with hope and with euphoria.
The guy puts a ring on the girl’s finger as a sign of their commitment. And the girls shows off her ring to everyone. They count down the days to their wedding, eager to start a new life together.
One of the many titles Christ has is “the Bridegroom.” We, the church, the Christian people, we are the bride. Christ asks each of us to come to Him. He invites each of us to be with Him. He put His own life behind this proposal. He was willing to die for us. He has opened the path to Paradise to us.
What is our response? Have we said yes? Have you said yes? And what does your yes mean? Is there a euphoric response, or a lukewarm one? Are we willing to “forsake all others” so that Christ can be the most important figure in our lives? Are we faithful to Him at all times, or is He just kept to the side? And like the newly-engaged woman, do we joyfully share our Christianity, or do we keep our “good news” all to ourselves?
When people become engaged to be married, they don’t necessarily know everything about their future spouse. For instance, they don’t know what it is like to live together, or to have children together, or to have a health crisis together, or to have to move, or change jobs, or care for aging parents. When people get married, they don’t know everything. They learn as they go. Hopefully, as the years pass, they get to know one another on a deeper level, they figure out their questions and they set about finding answers. What they have, however, from the very beginning, is a commitment, to be faithful, to be involved, and to stay.
To “marry” Christ doesn’t mean we have to have a total grasp of theology, or scripture. It doesn’t mean we can’t have questions. It doesn’t mean that our faith won’t be tested by life’s circumstances. It doesn’t mean that the road won’t be long or that it might have some tough mountains to climb. It also doesn’t mean that the road won’t have joy and euphoria. I mean, who is going to marry someone and expect a life of misery? It shouldn’t be like that in marriage, or in Christianity. And done properly, it isn’t in either. As with marriage, what we need from the beginning of our Christian walk is a commitment—to be “engaged” in the life of Christ, in good times and bad, forsaking all others.
As with the engagement to be married, the disciple says “yes” to Christ each day. And the disciple seeks to share the joy of Christ with others.
At every baptism, the priest asks the person being baptized, “Do you unite yourself to Christ?” The answer is usually given by the Godparent, as the child is usually a baby. The answer given by the sponsor is “I do,” same as we hear brides and grooms say at weddings (well, except Orthodox ones where there are no vows, a subject for another day). The choice to unite to Christ is a daily one. Daily He asks, “will you unite your life with Me?” And daily through prayer, and through our life action, we are supposed to answer “I do.” What will your answer be today?
Almighty God, thank You for dying on the cross for me and showing to me the path to Paradise. I DO want to commit my life to You. I DO want to place my hope in You. I DO want to trust You with all my heart. I will DO my best to honor You today. Bless me this day, and walk with me, as I walk with You. Amen.
Say “I do” 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: The Deeper Christian Life
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