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
He was not the light, but came to bear witness to the Light, the true Light that enlightens every man was coming into the world. John 1:8-9 Sunday of the Samaritan Woman
Good morning Prayer Team!
Christ is Risen!
Just like there is no one who does not have a talent that they’ve been given by God, there is no one who does not have the Light of Christ in them. The Light of Christ enlightens EVERY person coming into the world. This includes even people who don’t believe ostensibly in Christ.
In James 1:17, we read that “every good endowment and every perfect gift is from Above, coming down from the Father of lights.” This means that everything that is good comes from God. When we do something good, it is a blessing from God. So, when a doctor performs a surgery that saves a person’s life, God has performed a miracle through the hands of the doctor. And even if the doctor is an atheist and does not believe in God, God can still work through the hands of anyone to bring good into the world.
Remember the story of the Last Judgment, Matthew 25:31-46. The Lord addressed the sheep at His right hand, lauding them for feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, welcoming the stranger and visiting the sick. And the “righteous” answered Him, “When did we see Thee hungry and feed Thee, or thirsty and give Thee drink? And when did we see Thee a stranger and welcome Thee, or naked and clothe Thee? And when did we see Thee sick or in prison and visit Thee?” (Matthew 25:37-39) They were doing the right things, they didn’t realize that they were doing them for Christ.
If something is not good, it is not from God. If something is good, it is from God. God works through all kinds of people and in all kinds of situations to bring good into the world. Goodness even shines in times of sadness and tragedy. Every good gesture that comes in a bad situation is from God. Even every good gesture that comes through a bad person is from God.
In fact, no matter what talent we’ve been given by God, we have been given a measure of His goodness, His light. So, not only will we answer to God, “What did you do with the talent I gave you?” We will answer His question “What did you do with the goodness I gave you? What did you do with the Light that I put into you? Did you use your light to help others shine their lights more brightly? Or did you let your light flicker and encourage others to do the same?
I was walking somewhere and it started pouring down rain. Someone near me had a large umbrella and asked me if I wanted to walk with them under their umbrella so that I could stay dry. As it was raining very hard and I would have gotten soaked in no time, I gratefully accepted the offer. The person carrying the umbrella remarked to me “I wish this umbrella was bigger so we could fit even more people under it.” Unfortunately, only two of us were able to stay dry under it.
The Light of Christ is similar to the umbrella. We can share it with others to keep them “bright,” to help shield them from the storms and challenges of life. Unlike the umbrella that could only shield two people from the rain, we have the ability to share the Light of Christ with an unlimited number of people. There is no question that there is opportunity for us to do this. There is no question that there is need for people to do this. The variable is our desire (individually and collectively) to live in the Light and to share it with others.
The first thing God created was Light. We renew ourselves on Pascha with the Light of Resurrected Christ. Light is what gives life in this world to allow things to grow. And the Light of Christ is what illumines each person and lights the path to salvation. It is our purpose to live in the Light and to share it with others.
O Christ, the true Light, which illumines and sanctifies every man who comes into the world, let the Light of Your countenance leave its mark on us; that in it, we may behold the ineffable Light; and direct our steps aright, to the keeping of Your commandments; through the intercessions of Your All-pure Mother, and of all Your Saints. Amen.
Walk in the Light today! Share the Light with someone today!
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