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Hmily for 4/26/09 - Pascha 2 - speak the words of life

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  • Fr David Moser
    Acts 15:12-20 “Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.” These are the words of the angel to the Holy Apostles,
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 26, 2009
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      Acts 15:12-20

      “Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this
      life.” These are the words of the angel to the Holy Apostles, confirming
      for them the instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself Who instructed
      the Apostles to go into all the world and preach the Gospel. These words
      are directed not only to the Apostles but to us as well for along with
      the Apostles we are part of the Church, the Body of Christ. The
      injunction to “speak to the people the words of Life” is for us
      something that should be a direction in all that we do. Some of us are
      called to speak these words verbally, evangelizing, teaching, and
      describing the Gospel to those around us in the world. Such were the
      Apostles, Who were sent to the far corners of the earth, everywhere
      proclaiming the Gospel of the Resurrection. For this purpose, they were
      given the gift of speaking in many different tongues. For many of us,
      however, we are not called to the far corners of the earth, but instead
      are called to live in our own community, bringing the words of Life to
      our friends and neighbors. The way in which we speak is not so much
      verbal as it is in contained by the wholeness of our lives, in the way
      we live and in the effect of the Holy Spirit upon us. This is, for most
      of us, the language and manner by which we speak to the people the words
      of Life. For this, God also gives us gifts which enable us to speak
      clearly in order that the Gospel might be made known.

      If we are to speak of the words of Life in the language of our lives,
      then it is needful to consider this language. Our Lord told his
      disciples that in order to judge the truth of any teaching it was
      necessary to look at the fruit of that teaching in the lives of its
      followers – “by their fruits you will know them” [Matt 7:16] He said. So
      also, we will be known by our fruits. What are these fruits except the
      fruit of the Spirit, for in fact we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and
      our sanctity is brought about by the conforming of our will to the will
      of God through the action of the Holy Spirit in us. The fruits of the
      Spirit, which should make their appearance in our own lives, are “love,
      joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness (and)
      self-control…” [Gal 5:22] The greatest of all these characteristics,
      virtues as they are often called in the spiritual writings of the
      Church, is love [1Cor 13:13]. It is by manifesting these fruits, and
      particularly the fruit of love, in our lives that we speak to the world
      these words of Life.

      Therefore “beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God’ and
      everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” [1John 4:7] Not only
      are we called to love one another, but also to “love your neighbor as
      yourself” [Matt 19:19] and even further to “love your enemies” [Matt
      5:44]. There is to be no limit to our love, just as there is no limit to
      the love of God for us. We are, in fact, the instrument by which God
      expresses His love to those in the world on a personal level. Certainly
      we see the love of God for all mankind in His own actions in that He
      condescended to come to us and take flesh and become man and dwell among
      us [John 1:14]. Having come into the world, for our sake and for our
      salvation, He endured suffering, torture, the cross and death, so that
      through His death, He might defeat death and free us from its tyranny so
      that we might follow Him and gain from Him Life. However, God’s love is
      not just a general love for “mankind” but it is also a personal love in
      which He cares for each of us in a unique and intimate manner. This
      personal love is not limited to those who love Him, but is extended to
      every person born into this world. Those of us who serve Jesus Christ
      are used by Him to express that love to every person with whom we come
      into contact. You are the love of God to the whole world. Through you,
      God’s acts of love are made real. When you act in love towards your
      brother, towards your neighbor, even towards your enemy, it is God
      Himself who acts through you to love that person. Every act of charity,
      of kindness, of mercy, of compassion that you exhibit towards someone
      else is the action of God in you loving the world. We are not capable in
      ourselves to love the world in such a selfless and all inclusive manner,
      but God, in Whom we live and Who lives in us, fills us with His love so
      that we might share that which He has given us with those around us.
      Thus it is that He gives to us the gift of His love, that with this gift
      we might speak all the words of Life and bear witness to Him to those
      around us.

      You have within you, the love of God, and now it is necessary for you to
      share that love. When you see a brother, a friend or neighbor, or even
      an enemy in need, out of love give to him what you have. When you see
      someone suffering or in sorrow, reach out and comfort them. As God gives
      you the opportunity, act to alleviate their suffering or to ease their
      sorrow. Be kind and gentle towards all those whom you might meet during
      the day. Be quick to forgive any insult and set it aside before it can
      find a place to nest in your heart, thus becoming a grudge and a nest of
      unforgiveness which is difficult to root out. We don’t have to look very
      far to find opportunities for this, in fact every person you meet can be
      a recipient of the love of God which dwells within you, whether it be
      simply the kindness of a smile and greeting to an act of charity or
      kindness to forgiveness of an offense. Look for every chance to express
      God’s love to those around you for this is the fruit of the Holy Spirit
      in your soul. It is this love of God in you which is the source of joy,
      peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and all the other fruit of the
      Spirit.

      Go forth, the angel says to the apostles, and speak the words of Life.
      And to each of you this same direction applies – go and speak the words
      of Life, in the language of the love of God, to the whole world so that
      all those around you might find the Life that is in Christ and might
      receive that Life into themselves, thus being united to Christ. You are
      the love of God to your world, to those around you, to each and every
      person you meet. Express that love, speak it with the words of your
      actions and your emotions that all around you may hear the words of Life
      that is in Jesus Christ, spoken in the language of the love of God.

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