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
Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last. Luke 23:46
Good morning Prayer Team!
Commemorating our most holy, pure, blessed, and glorious Lady, the Theotokos and ever Virgin Mary, with all the saints, let us commit ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ our God.
At the end of the long sets of petitions in our church, there is always a commemoration of the Virgin Mary. Since we will explore this petition several times in our journey through the Liturgy, I will focus on a different part of it each time.
Jesus’ quote from Luke 23 is probably the greatest statement of faith that there is. Faith is believing in something that we cannot fully see or comprehend. At summer camp, we have an exercise called the trust fall. A person stands on a platform, about six feet tall. Behind him or her are people who have assembled below the platform. The person on the platform falls backwards without looking, and the people catch that person. It takes a great deal of faith, to fall where you can’t see, hoping that you’ll be caught without being hurt. Because if you fell and no one caught you, then this activity brings a risk of significant injury, even death. It takes a great deal of trust to do the trust fall. A few campers have a really hard time doing this, some actually decline to take part, since this activity is very scary, especially if you haven’t done it before.
The ultimate trust fall, is when we close our eyes in death, and fall out of life, trusting that we will land in the hand of God. This is an exercise, the falling out of life, that we will all do at some point, whether we want to or not. There is no choice to participate or not. So, we prepare for this by doing a little “trust fall” each day, and that trust fall is called “commitment” to Christ. Can I fall into His arms today by trusting in Him, trusting in Him enough to keep His Commandments today, trusting that if I stay faithful to His Commandments, I will have the strength to endure the day in a better way than I could without them. The church, through this petition, calls on us to examine our commitment to the Lord, first for today, and eventually for our whole life. But the whole life is too long of a span to grasp. So, put the focus on today—what is your commitment today? How are you demonstrating that commitment to yourself and to others TODAY?
Lord, help me to be a committed Christian today. Thank you for the gift of this day. No one knows how many of these gifts we will receive, but help me to embrace this gift I have been given today. As I pass through life, may each day be a day of recommitment to You. And as I approach the end of my life, help me to prepare myself a little each day, so that when my turn comes, I can fall into Your arms, filled with faith and hope and joy, that You will catch me, and allow me to fall out of this life into everlasting life. Amen.
Have a great day!
The Orthodox Christian Network is an official agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops and offers interviews, podcasts, blogs, and articles to enhance Orthodox Christian life. The Prayer Team is a daily devotion written by Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis, the Parish Priest at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, Florida. Devotions include a verse from scripture, a commentary from Fr. Stavros, and a short prayer that he writes to match the topic.
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