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388Homily for 2/28/10 - L2 - God is unchanging

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  • Fr David Moser
    Feb 28, 2010
      Heb 1:10-2:3

      “Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and
      the heavens are the works of thine hands. They shall perish but thou
      remainest; and they shall all wax old as doth a garment and as a vesture
      shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed. But thou art the
      same, and thy years shall not fail.”

      When the Apostle Peter stepped out of the boat in the middle of the sea
      of Galilee to walk on the water to Jesus, he was surrounded by an ever
      changing sea. The water was moving constantly underfoot and there were
      waves and wind pushing this way and that. But at first Peter did not see
      any of that. Even though all around him was in chaos, he had focused on
      the one immovable point in the whole scene – that was the Lord Jesus
      Christ who stood as the one point of solidity and calm in the midst of
      the ever changing chaos. As long as he was focused on this solid point,
      Peter was able to overcome the chaos around him and the whole world was
      calm and solid, but the moment he took his attention off of the
      Unchanging One and saw the chaos around himself, he began to sink. We
      live in an ever changing world. Everything, even one’s own self, is
      constantly changing. In order to gain stability we seek something that
      is solid, that is constant. Although we may find something in this world
      that appears solid, as soon as we anchor to it, we find that it too is
      changing. The only constant in this changing world is change itself. And
      so we drift from place to place seeking a point of stability upon which
      we can depend.

      If we were to seek that stability in nature we would find that the rocks
      of the earth degrade and wear down and are constantly reformed and
      reshaped. Even the hardest rock will eventually break down under the
      forces of erosion and will become shifting sand. The oceans themselves
      also find new shape and form as the coastline wears away under the
      constant washing of the tides. Even the stars in the sky move through
      their nightly dance, never remaining in one place for long. The
      astronomers tell us that our own sun is burning through its fuel of
      hydrogen gas and that it is now different than when it first began to
      shine and will some day collapse in on itself and go dim and dark.
      Everything is in flux, everything is changing.

      That point of stability, that unchanging rock, cannot be found within
      creation, for changeableness is part of the essence of creation. The
      only source of something unchanging is outside the created universe. The
      only unchanging one is God Himself, the creator of all that is. In order
      to have a solid and stable anchor, we must seek out God. And our God,
      out of His love for us, makes Himself easy to find. He does not remain
      outside His creation, but He has entered His creation for (as it says in
      the Gospel) “the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld
      His glory, the glory as of the only Son of the Father.” God incarnate,
      the God/man Jesus Christ, is the only unchanging point within all of
      space and time for He is “light of light, true God of true God, begotten
      not made, of one essence with the Father.” He is the only true and
      unchanging rock upon which we can find an anchor for our souls in the
      midst of an ever changing world.

      Our Lord told a parable about two houses. One was built by a foolish man
      with foundations on the sand and when the wind and waves came upon it,
      it collapsed. But the other was build by a wise man with foundations on
      the rock and it withstood the wind and the waves. This parable points
      out the necessity of having a firm foundation upon which to build up our
      souls. During the season of Great Lent, as we prepare for the feast of
      our Lord’s Resurrection, we all work to build up our souls with prayer
      and fasting and other righteous works. We spend extra time and extra
      energy working to make some spiritual progress and solidify our
      spiritual state. In all that we do we must not forget that the only sure
      foundation is Jesus Christ. He must be at the center of all our efforts.
      When you fast, do not forget the purpose of your fasting which is to
      break free from the earthly passions that hinder you in following
      Christ. When you pray, remember that you are not just speaking empty
      words into the air, but you are speaking to God Himself and entering
      into communion with Him (in fact remember that prayer is a conversation
      with God, and so it is not only necessary that we speak to Him, but also
      that we listen to His voice in our hearts as He speaks to us.) Do not
      undertake works of mercy and charity for their own sake but always for
      the sake of Christ. Even when we resist temptation and refrain from sin
      we must be mindful of the fact that we do this not to fulfill some
      abstract moral code or philosophy – but because we are eliminating the
      barriers that stand between ourselves and God. If there is any other
      focus or foundation for our actions than God himself, then we build on
      the changeable foundation of sand and all our efforts will fail. Only
      when we center our spiritual lives and efforts on Jesus Christ, the Rock
      of our salvation, can we hope for them to remain and be effective for
      our spiritual health and well being.

      During Great Lent, we also experience a certain amount of turmoil for as
      we make the effort to draw closer to God, the enemy of mankind (the
      devil) seeks to distract us and turn us away from our effort. Therefore
      we all experience a rush of trials and temptations which seem as though
      they would overwhelm us. These temptations come, it seems, from every
      side and don’t seem to have any rhyme or reason. But there is a purpose
      and a structure to it all and that purpose (of the evil one) is to
      distract us from Christ, to disconnect us from that point of stability,
      the Rock of our salvation. When these temptations come we must cling
      ever more tenaciously to Christ, trusting in His care and provision,
      firm in the our faith that He will not let us perish or be overwhelmed,
      but that He will see us through. Even when we feel as though we will be
      overwhelmed and drowned in the onslaught of trials and troubles, Christ
      is there with us and as the rush of temptations recedes, the Rock is not
      changed but it remains as our anchor which has preserved us from being
      lost in the rush of the waves of the sea of life.

      In the time of Moses and the deliverance of the chosen people from the
      hand of Pharaoh, having crossed the Red Sea on dry land and seeing, from
      the opposite shore the drowning of the Egyptian army which pursued them,
      the people Israel began to sing saying, “The Lord is my Strength and my
      Song and He is become my salvation…” (Ex 15). This same song is ours as
      well; for in the midst of the sea of life, we are preserved by God,
      walking as though on dry land all the while that we trust in Him. No
      matter what trials and tribulations pursue us, no matter what passions
      threaten to overwhelm us, if we remain steadfastly anchored to Christ
      they will perish and be drowned by the power of God and we will remain,
      singing praise to God Who has delivered us. Do not lose heart, but be
      courageous, even in the face of great temptations and trials for our God
      is unchanging and will not leave you nor forsake you. And He will
      protect you and deliver you from all the dangers that come upon you, if
      only you hold fast to Him and anchor your life to His. And then we will
      sing with the Children of Israel, “The Lord is my Strength and my Song,
      … He is my God … and I will exalt Him.” (Ex 15)

      Archpriest David Moser
      St Seraphim of Sarov Orthodox Church (ROCOR)
      Homilies: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/propoved/
      Website: http://stseraphimboise.org