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. The Prayer Team now has its own dedicated website! Fr. Stavros 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
Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and for evermore! Psalm 113:2
Good morning Prayer Team!
Blessed is the name of the Lord, both now and to the ages.
Today’s reflection is yet another example of a hymn that is borrowed directly from the Scriptures, as the last hymn of the Liturgy is a Psalm verse. Having offered a prayer to God for thanksgiving and protection, as the priest goes back into the altar, the people sing one last hymn of praise to God.
Remember how we began the Liturgy? It was with the words “Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.” The opening line of the Liturgy was an invitation to participate in the Kingdom of God revealed not at the Second Coming of Christ, or only after death, but in the here and now. We were invited to enter the Kingdom today.
The last hymn of the Liturgy recognizes that the Liturgy is ending. We are about to leave God’s Kingdom on earth and return to our normal lives. However, we are to carry the name of the Lord with us. We are to bless and give glory to Him throughout the week, until we return again to the Kingdom, the Divine Liturgy. The goal in life is to give God glory each and every day, to bless His name as we work our way through life to eternal life. The purpose of the Divine Liturgy is to allow us to enter into His Kingdom as often as we attend, and to be one with Him in Holy Communion.
This phrase, Blessed is the name of the Lord, is a good yardstick by which to measure and hold ourselves accountable. As we go through our daily activities and make our daily decisions, we should continually ask ourselves, “Is the name of the Lord blessed in the activity I am doing?”
This hymn is sung three times, and the last time, the word order is changed to “The name of the Lord is blessed, both now and to the ages.” It is not an instructional “Blessed the name of the Lord” but an emphatic “The name of the Lord is blessed” as if to say, regardless of how much we might fail or how bad the new might be this week, the name of the Lord is going to be blessed, now and forever.
Today’s prayer comes from the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil. It is the prayer that the priest offers before the Prothesis during this hymn. As with the prayer in the last reflection, it speaks to the completion of the Divine Liturgy. It mentions the “mystery” of what Christ did for us, and how we have offered the Liturgy in the best way that we can, recognizing that none of our worship can approach the perfection of Christ. And we pray now that Christ will go with us, now and forever, this week, until the next Liturgy, until we are perfected in His Kingdom.
The mystery of Your dispensation, O Christ our God, has been accomplished and perfected as far as it is in our power. We have had the memorial of Your death. We have seen the typos of Your resurrection. We have been filled with Your unending life. We have enjoyed Your inexhaustible delight which in the world to come be well pleased to give to us all, through the grace of Your holy and good and life-giving Spirit, now and forever and to the ages of ages. (From the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great)
Bless God today, and always!
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