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
Prayer: Abiding in God’s Love—Part Eleven
For I do not want to see you now just in passing; I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits. I Corinthians 16:7
Good morning Prayer Team!
Many prayer team members are married. And for anyone who is married, you’ve either had the experience of getting down on a knee and asking someone to marry you, or you’ve had the experience of having someone get on their knee and ask you. Imagine this proposal:
“I love you with all my heart. I want to make you the centerpiece of my life. You are the source and center of my life. If you marry me, I promise to give you a good forty-five minutes once a week, just about every week, unless it’s a holiday and then I might skip a week, or if the weather is really nice, or if something else comes up. Well, you get the gist, I’m in at least once a week at least half the time, for forty-five minutes, unless I’m running late. So, will you marry me?”
Now imagine if you are the person hearing this proposal. Would you marry a guy like that? Heck no.
Now imagine you are the guy offering such a proposal. Could you really propose something like this and expect to get a yes? Heck no.
And yet this is how we treat our relationship with Christ many times. We can commit a solid forty-five minutes each week, unless it’s a holiday or great weather, or bad weather. When each of us was baptized, we “married” Christ. His proposal to us was “I’ll lay down My life for you.” What is our response? “I’ll give forty five minutes a week to you?”
Our relationship with Christ is actually a lot like a marriage. We are supposed to be committed in good times and in bad ones, in sickness and in health, so long as we shall live. He loves us in our good times and our bad ones, in sickness and in health, so long as we are alive on this earth.
During Orthodox Holy Week services, we have services called “The Bridegroom Service,” where an icon of Christ the Bridegroom is carried around the church and is set up in front of the congregation. The theme of these services is that Christ is our bridegroom. We, the Church, and each member of it, is the bride. Christ’s proposal is complete, it includes His willingness to die for us. If we were to propose to Christ, what would our proposal be?
None of us would be okay with the proposal above, for forty-five good minutes a week. So, why do we make this kind of proposal to Christ? If you were to write a proposal to Christ, what would it say? What can you commit to? Because a marriage proposal not only honors the person to whom it is made but demonstrates the dignity and sincerity of the person making it. When someone proposes marriage, they don’t promise to be perfect, or that every day will be great. They commit to be faithful, to remain together forever, to make someone a priority, and to give the best effort they have. If we are willing to propose this to one another, we certainly should be able to propose this to the Lord. If we can make good on our proposals to one another, we should be able to make good on a proposal to the Lord. If the Lord died for us, we certainly should be willing to offer up better than our leftovers to Him.
As for me, my prayer is to Thee, O Lord. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of Thy steadfast love answer me. With Thy faithful help rescue me from sinking in the mire; let me be delivered from my enemies and from the deep waters. Let not the flood sweep over me, or the dep swallow me up, or the pit close its mouth over me. Answer me, O Lord, for Thy steadfast love is good; according to Thy abundant mercy, turn to me. Hide not Thy face from Thy servant; for I am in distress, make haste to answer me. Draw near to me, redeem me, set me free. Psalm 69: 13-18
Will you accept His proposal? What kind of proposal will you offer in return? Think on these questions 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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