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
Good morning Prayer Team!
One is Holy, one is Lord, Jesus Christ, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.
We’ve all been to pep rallies. We’ve all cheered on a favorite team. I remember when I was in high school that at football games, there were many cheers. Our cheerleaders would yell out something and those of us in the stands would yell something back. One cheer started out with the cheerleaders yelling “When I say ‘go’ you say ‘fight.’” The cheerleaders would then yell “Go” and the fans would yell “Fight.”
When the priest says “The Holy Gifts for the holy people of God,” the response of the people is “One is Holy, one is Lord, Jesus Christ, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.” In the last reflection, we discussed the battle to be “set apart”. (The “set apart” Gifts for the “set apart” people of God.) “The Holy Gifts for the holy people of God” is the rallying cry, the “go” of the cheerleaders. Our response, “One is Holy, One is Lord, Jesus Christ” is our “fight.” We have heard the message and we are now ready to “fight” for holiness.
This short hymn brings to mind some very important questions for the Christian life. If “holy” means “set apart,” then in our lives, what do we set apart as special, as holy? As an example, for those who are married, we honor our spouses above all other people (or at least we should) because we share a special bond unlike any other bond with any other person. For those who have children, our own children are set apart from all other children, because they are ours. We all love children, but we love our own children more than any other children. So in saying “ONE is Holy” we need to evaluate where we put the most value in our lives. Does the faith come before everything? Is it second? Third? Where is our pursuit of holiness on the list of priorities for our lives?
In medieval times, people would bow to the kings and queens, lords and ladies of society. They would address royalty as “my lord” and make the appropriate bow. There was a sign of respect and reverence for “royal” people. When someone of royalty came in the room, everyone stood up and then bowed down. In contemporary life, what is it that gets your attention above everything else. What is it that you run to, or bow down to, in life? Is it the television set, or the smart phone, the refrigerator, or the corner Starbucks? What is it that attracts you and pulls you in? If Jesus is our Lord and Savior, then He is supposed to “pull us in” above all other things we are pulled to. If we are spending more money on Starbucks then we offer to the church in our yearly stewardship, that means that Starbucks is of greater value to us. If we have hours to spend watching television but no time to pray or read the Bible, then the television is of greater value than faith. “One is Lord” reminds us that above all the things we treasure in life should be our relationship with the Lord.
And who is the Lord? Jesus Christ, our Savior, who came down to earth to be like one of us, who died for our sins and who rose from the dead. Jesus is the one who shows us the road back to the Father. Jesus glorified the Father at all times, and we are called to do the same. Believe in Jesus as the Christ, glorifying God in all things.
This is another barometer for our decision making. Ask yourself this question often when you are faced with a decision: Does this please God? Does this glorify God?
Ask this the next time you want to cut someone off in traffic, or the next time you want to start an argument, or say something condescending to someone, the next time you are short with someone or the next time you feel cranky.
The cry of “ONE is Holy, ONE is Lord, Jesus Christ, to the GLORY of God the Father” should be something that is in the front of our minds on a daily basis. For how can one be successful in the struggle for holiness without this cry. “The Holy Gifts for the holy people of God” is our destination. “One is Holy, one is Lord, Jesus Christ, to the glory of God the Father” is the means by which we reach our destination. We will make great strides in our battle for holiness if we keep in mind that only ONE is Holy, only ONE is the Lord and that is Jesus Christ. And our goal is to be like Him, to worship Him, and to give glory to the Father. This is how we can strive for holiness. This is the ONLY way to strive for holiness.
The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims His handiwork.
Day to day pours forth speck, and night to night declares knowledge;
There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard;
yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.
In them He has set a tent for the sun, which comes forth like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and like a strong man runs its course with joy.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens and its circuit to the end of them; and there is nothing hid from its heat.
The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The ordinances of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover by them is Thy servant warned; in keep them there is great reward.
But who can discern his errors? Clear Thou me from hidden faults.
Keep back Thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me!
Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord my rock and my redeemer.
Keep God as the source and center of your life!
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