Shaped by a life of service to Christ’s Church, Fr. Christopher has dedicated himself to using all the tools God has placed at his disposal to spread the light of Orthodoxy across America. As Founding Father and host of the Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) and the “Come Receive The Light” national Orthodox Christian radio program, he shepherds a dynamic and rapidly expanding ministry bringing joy, hope, and salvation in Jesus Christ to millions of listeners on Internet and land-based radio around the world in more than 130 countries. Fr. Christopher is the former President of Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology and Parish Priest of Saint Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
During this difficult time of sitting at home, cooking, reading, surfing the internet it is sometimes difficult to find our way and purpose. It seems as if we are on a road that does not have an end point. Here are some ways to keep yourself focused on our real final destination which is to be one with Christ our Lord. In essence we all need to stay calm, or as my granddaughter says, just Calm Down Christian!
4 Ways to Stay Calm as Christians
1.Repent. During this time of silence and lack of ability to move about, to travel, shop, go out to eat what are we supposed to do? Well this is a good time to reexamine who we are and our relationship to God. I have heard for years, Father Chris I really don’t have time to be with God each week. To work on myself because my schedule is full with work and other activities. My children are involved with sports programs on the weekends. This time of silence at home no matter how painful gives us the time we need to read about the saints of the Church and to read Holy Scriptures. It also gives us the time we need to ask for forgiveness of the wrongdoings in our lives to our loved ones, friends and co-workers. This gives us time to pull back some of our habits of complaining and gossiping about others and use this time to work on ourselves. It is so easy to complain and talk about other people. It is another things to look at our own faults and correct them. This is a unique time to Repent.
2. Be vigilant. During this time of silence we also have the ability to pray more, that is to open a dialogue with God. We can go to Him with everything we hold deep in our hearts. He hears our pain, our groaning and witnesses our joy when we are successful. There is no better time than silence, to be with God. To do so we have to set up an agenda. Not a fully rigid one but one that allows for the quiet time each day to be with God. Rising earlier in the morning than anyone else in your home is one way or when everyone finally goes to sleep. You pick the time, you set the agenda for that meeting with your creator. Be vigilant and not neglectful.
3. Sacrifice. During this time of silence you can take time to care for others including your children and your parents if they are still with you in this life. I know that caring for children is not easy and having everyone at home is very challenging. I am the survivor of a family with six children. Each one precious but each one needing time and energy. If I am to be completely honest I did not always take the time I should have to be with them but in retrospect I realize that this is paramount to their growth and stability in life. If you are going to have children you owe it to them to spend quality time and to be a good example for them. Read to them, tell them stories of your family history. Spend quality time. Put down the electronics and lift up life for them to see and witness the goodness you have to offer. It is a time of self sacrifice especially for parents or children of elderly parents. Not a time for selfishness. So yes, this is a time of sacrifice for parents and that is alright and good to do.
4.Be Welcoming. During this time of silence we can reach out to people less fortunate. My granddaughters have been making sandwiches and delivering them carefully of course to those who have nothing to eat with their parents. Have you seen the lines on television miles long of people waiting to get a meal for their family? I heard one lady on television the other night who was in line waiting to get a few bags of groceries for her children. She arrived at the food distribution place at 4am and it was 4pm and she still had two miles of cars in front of her waiting for food. This is something which our parents and grandparents witnessed during the times of the depression. It is my friends, a time of action. It is a time to reach out to others less fortunate. This takes the fear out of our sometimes inability to cope and brings it forward in a positive and God like way to show us a pathway to hope and deliverance. To be kind to our neighbors and our first responders, those who deliver groceries, those working in the grocery stores. It is a time to be hospitable and welcoming to others whom we may not even know.
So take the time to be gracious and kind. Use the acronym ARK…Acts of Random Kindness. God will deliver us from the virus and our deafening silence soon. The delivering from the virus will be a blessing! I am not so sure that we will be able to handle the delivering from silence well? Will we go back to our old habits or will this experience have changed and reshaped our way of life for the better? It is in each of our hands to make the right choices… Remember the words of the Lord, “I am with you always, to the close of the age, Amen. Mt 28:20