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
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
A Call to BE Something
The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. And He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael, and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!” Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” John 1: 43-49
It’s purely coincidence that the Gospel lesson of Sunday of Orthodoxy and today’s Bible verse are the same and the reflections are similar. On the weekends I write on the scriptures of Sunday and on the weekdays, currently, I’m writing on “Called to be Disciples.”
Good morning Prayer Team!
How many invitations have you ever received in your life to come and BE something? Think for a moment. I was invited to be on the soccer team in high school. Except it would be more accurate to say I was invited to belong to the soccer team for a couple of seasons. I haven’t “been” on a soccer team in almost thirty years. I was invited to attend college, again, for a short period of my life. I was hired as a teenager to work at the public library—as I look back at life, that is definitely a page in my life history but not really a defining page.
So, let’s go to some more “permanent” things in my life. Many years ago, I was engaged to BE married. Finally, something that is supposed to be permanent. We can’t BE a member of the soccer team, we can belong to a team for a finite period of time. Marriage is different right, we can BE married. We can BE a parent. Except that at the end of life, I won’t be married or be a parent. Just ask someone who has lost a spouse or lost a parent.
The only thing we can truly BE in life is a follower of Christ, or a non-believer. Because THIS choice, and this choice alone is what will follow us for eternity. We are either going to BE with God forever, or we are going to BE apart from Him forever. In one hundred years, I’m not going to be a homeowner, a taxpayer, a parent, a husband, a resident of Tampa, or any other thing I can describe myself as “being.” Truth is, I’m doing all of those things. As for “being,” I hope that God will consider me to BE one of His children in this life and for eternal life.
The first call of Christ to the disciples was “come.” However, it wasn’t “come and do something”. It was “come and BE something.” It was come and BE the one thing that God created us to BE, His children.
As a hart longs for flowing streams, so longs my soul for Thee, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and behold the face of God? My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me continually, “Where is your God?” These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I went with the throng, and led them in procession to the house of God, with glad shouts and songs of thanksgiving, a multitude keeping festival. Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within? Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my help and my God. My soul is cast down within me, therefore I remember Thee from the land of Jordan and of Hermon, from Mount Mizar. Deep calls to deep at the thunder of Thy cataracts; all Thy waves and Thy billows have gone over me. By day the Lord commands His steadfast love; and at night His song is with me, a pray to the God of my life. I say to God, my rock: “Why hast Thou forgotten me? Why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?” As with a deadly wound in my body, my adversaries taunt me, while they say to me continually, “Where is your God?” Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my help and my God. Psalm 42
The call of Christ for us today is the same: “Come.” Come and BE something. Come and be the ONE THING we can truly BE forever.
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: Orthodox Gifts
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