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
In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and His train filled the temple. Above Him stood the seraphim; each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of His glory.
And those who went before and those who followed cried out, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Mark 11:9
Good morning Prayer Team!
Holy, holy, holy Lord Sabaoth, heaven and earth are filled with Your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna to God in the highest.
As we near the moment of the Consecration of the Holy Gifts, we hear a hymn that is a combination of two scripture passages, two events that reveal the Lord to us. The first reveals the Lord in a vision of the Prophet Isaiah. The Lord is seen sitting on a throne, seated in glory among the Seraphim. In the second event, we recount Palm Sunday, when the Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey, in a sign of humility. Taken together this hymn reflects both the glory and the humility of the Lord.
The glory of the Lord is something we cannot comprehend. A human being can fill a room with love or joy. God can fill not only one room, but all the rooms on earth with His glory at the same time. Heaven and earth are filled with His glory. As the Holy Spirit is about to descend on the Gifts we have presented to make ordinary substances, bread and wine, into extraordinary substances, the Body and Blood of Christ, we acknowledge that this is indeed an act of glory. After all, it is difficult to comprehend that the Lord of Glory will descend from heaven and again stand with His people wherever the Divine Liturgy is offered.
The Lord is not only the Lord of glory, but the Lord of humility. For His glory is not used for conquest but for service. God’s glory is experienced in acts of service, not necessarily acts of victory. On Palm Sunday, Christ entered Jerusalem on a donkey, not on a chariot. He did not arrive with armies of soldiers but with twelve disciples. And His message was not one of military overthrow, but one of peace. His Kingdom would not be a kingdom of brute strength, but one of service.
In this hymn, we hear the words of Palm Sunday, “Hosanna in the highest” the hymn that the children sung for Jesus as He rode by them. They ran to Him, placing palm branches on the road before Him. We are reminded that we are also to become like the children, waving symbols of victory and crying out to Christ with child-like innocence.
Something very profound is about to happen in the Divine Liturgy. The Holy Spirit is about to descend from heaven and come down on us and on our humble gifts. A moment of God’s glory is about to happen in our midst. God will humble Himself and come and stand with us. We will offer to Him not grandiose gifts but ordinary ones. We will get on our knees, putting aside our lofty achievements, in order to receive a measure of His grace and glory.
So we see that “glory” and “humility” go hand in hand. We experience God’s glory through a humble offering. God shares His glory by humbly standing with us. We experience God’s glory when we set aside ourselves to be filled with Him.
Indeed heaven and earth are filled with His glory. The church is about to be filled with it as well.
Lord thank You for showing us Your glory in so many ways. Thank You for the gift of Your glory experienced in the Divine Liturgy. As You fill our church with Your glory at each service, please fill my heart with that same glory, that I may radiate Your love and kindness. As You come and stand with us in the Divine Liturgy, come and stand with me today in all that I am doing. As you came with the humility of a servant into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, help me also to be humble today. Amen.
Serve God with humility today!
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