The Heavenly Kingdom is Open for Everyone

By Father Andrew Lemeshonok

A week has passed by and God gathers us all here again. Often it happens in our world that people try to hide from each other. They run in different directions. It is a great victory, if people just sit for a while together without thinking or talking about something, for we stop so rarely. We calm down so rarely. Who is ready to say a penitential and reasonable word now? Perhaps, we have already said everything, but these words reach our hearts rarely as well!

People live with each other. Children talk to their parents, parents talk to children, husbands talk to their wives, employees communicate with their managers... Everyone says something, everyone wants something, and no one hears anything. A land of the deaf. When you start to think of what is going on around you, you become terrified: how empty and senseless is the world, if there is nothing more than our temporary life. It all comes down to the point of how to make it longer, more interesting and much more comfortable. People spend all of their energy to: keep the diet, watche their figure and appearance – just as if they did not understand that they would decay sooner or later. “But I am worth something right now!”

Of course, when we recall the life we have lived, we can pay attention to certain events and say: that was real. How much of those true moments have you had in your life? How many words have you heard? What people have you met? Time erases everything. Everything will be thrown out unto the dump of time. Today you can be stunned with something. You may think this event is going to change you and your whole life. Time passes, and you forget about this. You are overwhelmed with problems and worries. Everything passes by. And then the soul is waiting for the storm, which will make us make the sign of the cross and ask God for help.

We cannot isolate ourselves from this world, because we are all a part of it. But there is still something different in us. Apostle Paul said: “Two different men dwell in me” (Referred to Romans, 7:15-23). We know that these words concern us as well. A new man is born in us, and we have to bring him up.

I wish that we learn to listen to each other, to accept the words which we may not like without quarrels. People suppress each other and torture each other, because they do not hear each other and, what is more, do not hear God. But everything we need to do is to keep the silence inside ourselves, so that our heart can see God, Who is always near us.

But where is He? Where is He hiding from us? In Eden, God was looking for Adam and Eve: “Adam, where are you?” Of course, God did know where Adam was. He was close, but still wanted Adam and Eve to reveal themselves. Now it is our turn to seek God: “God, where are You? Where are You hiding? Why do you not answer? Why do I suffer, and You are so indifferent to my sorrows?” What is going on? It is vital for us to overcome our dreams, intentions, sins, passions and manage to see God. It is vital that we come and bow to Him, just like the blind man did, and just like the leper did, the only one out of ten, who came to thank God. Blind, deaf and insane – this is all about us, about our life without God, about our decisions and actions, with which we could hurt our close ones.

Everything that the Church offers us today, the entire church calendar, is for our salvation. Everything is designed for us, so that we can reach the Kingdom of Heaven. It is not something abstract, it is for me, for I need to learn how to talk to God. On the one hand, imagination should not be involved in the church prayer. On the other hand, we should not vacantly pronounce the words, but should do it wholeheartedly.

The meeting with God shows a new world and a new time to each of us – the eternity. We are leading two lives. Out earthly life is going on, but at the same time, we understand that there is nothing but God in this life. And the life, which we appropriated to ourselves, should be devoted to God.

At every Divine Service, we have a chance to make a step towards God, to overcome our flash and blood. We should make such steps constantly. The only important question is whether we want to live forever, whether we want to live with God; whether we want our King to wear a crown with precious stones, or a crown of thorns; whether we want Him to sit on the throne, surrounded by His subjects, or to be beaten, cursed and wounded, nailed to the Cross… Do we want Him to be our King? Do we want to follow Christ until the end, or not? We are free to choose. Without God’s help and God’s grace, we cannot make this choice. This is why we come to a church and ask for help, and absorb the words full of the Holy Spirit. We need these words, we need Blood and Body of Christ, which let us live the minutes of the life eternal. 

March 6, 2017
St. Elisabeth Convent