Excerpts from Sermons: Salvation is a Question of Relationships...

By Fr. Andrew Malakhovsky

The Church is our life. It is our opportunity to live mindfully and to be fully human. A human being as an image of God can only exist in the Church. When we lose connection to the Church, the Divine principle in us starts to wear off. The Lord created humans with a potential and a calling to dwell in the paradise as the image and the likeness of God. However, a person who leaves God and severs his ties with God, loses that paradise. Adam and Eve lost the paradise, and we are also riddled with passions, instability, and incompleteness, but regardless of all that, being as we are in the Church, in the relationship with God, in prayer, we are in the blissful paradise. (Sermon after the Divine Liturgy in the Boarding Home on October 20, 2017)

By Fr. Valery Zakharov

If we get accustomed to talking with God, He will reign inside us, and this will be the fellowship that will deliver righteous words, righteous thoughts, and righteous actions. It is impossible to accomplish all that without God. It appears to us that we do the right things, more or less, but it’s vague and prone to momentary change. Only the aspects that are tied to God — his blessing, his actions — are eternal. (Sermon before the Confession in the Boarding Home for Children with Special Needs on October 20, 2017)

The Israelites left Egypt to reach the Promised Land. Everything that happened with them on their way (manna, etc.) was just a means for them to pull through. We should also direct our efforts towards moving closer to God. The desert of our hearts is, perhaps, as big and dry as the desert that the Israelites had to cross. We may hope that there are fresh water fountains somewhere in that desert but it’s an illusion. A human being does not possess the fountain of life. God is the only life-giving fountain. When we partake of the Holy Eucharist, we are filled with grace that allows us to keep thinking and functioning. (Sermon after the Divine Liturgy in the Boarding Home for Children with Special Needs on March 4, 2017)

If you evaluate someone, you will always come to judge him or her. Horses sometimes wear blinkers that keep them from freaking out if they see something unexpected. We don’t have blinkers, that’s why we jump at shadows. One must make his own blinkers and stop judging others. It does not mean that we must ignore everything that’s happening around us. Saints used to see more than we are capable of. They saw farther and deeper than we do. They were aware of the fact that humans are prone to sinning; however, they also knew that sins may go away, and the former sinners would then become holy. (Sermon after the Divine Liturgy in the Boarding Home for Children with Special Needs on October 21, 2017)

By Fr. George Glinsky

There are wonderful and profound words in one of the Old Testament books, “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee” (Isaiah 49:15). This is what the Lord says through one of his prophets. We are the New Israel, and we know that the God of Christians is the God who does not simply accept our love and adoration. Our love is, in fact, a reflection — a reaction — to his care about us. The God of Christians is different from the gods worshiped by pagans in that He sacrifices himself so that every one of us will not perish but will have everlasting life. (Sermon after the All-Night Vigil on October 10, 2017)

By Fr. Demetrius Basalygo

I was visiting the boarding home for the mentally challenged, and there was a patient who basically managed to express the entire experience of the fallen world and the fallen human being. When they called him to have him anointed with holy oil and sprinkled with holy water, he declared, “They do them, I do me, God does him.” These dreadful words are the essence of what happened during the Fall, when everyone and everything was separated and fell apart. That’s the way of death. The Lord, however, came to re-unite us. He came to restore the unity among us and with himself, so that we could have eternal life through this unity. This is the crux of what the Church offers us. Salvation is a  question of relationships, a question pertaining to the unity of life. (Sermon after the Divine Liturgy on October 13, 2017)

By Fr. Eugene Pavelchuk

The Devil is very crafty: he can lead an individual astray little by little, so that the person loses the track of salvation without even noticing it. Sometimes, it seems to us that rules are inviolable. Of course, rules are rules, but there is the letter of the Law, and there is the Spirit. So if we go by the letter of the law, we can assume that we should take everything literally. How do you interpret the letters of the law? Are you sure that you understand what they really mean? More often than not, people use their own reasoning, their logical faculty, to discern the truth, as if their logical thinking is the criterion of truth. That’s a delusion. This is why one should be humble and obey more experienced and knowledgeable members of the Church. Don’t be so arrogant as to think that you are able to determine what is right and what is wrong. The Spirit is recognised by spirit, not reason. The spirit of love lives in one’s heart. By this, I mean the innermost of one’s heart, not its emotional aspect. (Sermon after the Divine Liturgy on September 19, 2017)

January 11, 2018

St. Elisabeth Convent