Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Homily for 10/4/09 - after Cross - Pinocchio

Expand Messages
  • Fr David Moser
    Galatians 2:16-20 The story of Pinocchio, the puppet who desired to be a real boy, reveals to us the foolishness of seeking to live according to the law alone.
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 4, 2009
    • 0 Attachment
      Galatians 2:16-20

      The story of Pinocchio, the puppet who desired to be a real boy, reveals
      to us the foolishness of seeking to live according to the law alone.
      Pinocchio was constructed out of wood and metal and paint to look like a
      boy – but he could not be a boy no matter how cleverly he had been made.
      Pinocchio tried with all his might to be a “real boy” but on his own not
      only did not succeed but by his efforts, became more like a beast than a

      At the beginning of the epistle today we hear that we are not saved by
      the works of the law (that is by our own efforts) but rather by faith
      (that is by the work of Jesus Christ). This statement illuminates the
      same error that the fable of Pinocchio describes. The law was given by
      God to His chosen people, the Hebrews, by the hand of the prophet Moses.
      Until that time there was no codified or written law. Moses himself
      worshipped God and lived in close communion with God – but this was not
      achieved by the law, for during the beginning of his life, the law did
      not exist. Yet, despite the fact that he did not have the law, Moses,
      after communing with God on Mt Sinai, was transformed and his face shown
      with the divine light so greatly that he had to cover it with a veil. It
      was not the law that did this, but rather communion with God. That
      communion was achieved by a life of faith, not by the law.

      What use is the law then? The law is a descriptor – it describes for us
      what a Godly man is like. If a man, like Moses, is transformed by faith,
      and lives by faith, then he will have certain characteristics and those
      characteristics are revealed to us in the law. The law can describe for
      us how a man who lives in union and communion with God will act, but not
      how to become such a man. The error that many make is the assumption
      that if one lives according to the law then he will automatically be
      transformed. This assumption is no more correct than to say if we make a
      model of man – a Pinocchio – then that model will automatically become a
      man. These days this error has been magnified to create the delusion
      that man is a biological machine and if we were to create a machine that
      could properly mimic all the biological and neurological processes of a
      man, then it will be a man. But a man is more than a
      biological/neurological machine, a man also has a spirit and through
      this has the ability to transcend this worldly existence and to touch
      God and live in union and communion with Him. The biological machine can
      never have this capacity for it is a gift bestowed upon men by God at
      our creation. Living according to the law cannot create a transformed
      man, but only the imitation of a transformed man. In order to be truly
      transformed, in order to live in communion with God, we must, as St
      Seraphim tells us, acquire the Holy Spirit. Or as the Apostle writes “I
      live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live
      in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me,”

      If we would be saved, if we would be transformed by the grace of God and
      live in union and communion with God we must stop trying to do this by
      our own efforts, that is by making ourselves into an imitation of the
      man who has faith. Rather we must seek to acquire the life that God
      gives so that we will grow into the life of Christ and become the man
      described by the law, not by our own efforts but by the transformation
      wrought by living in union and communion with God through faith in
      Christ. If we continue to rely on our own efforts, to live according to
      our own strength and our own understanding of the law, then we will find
      ourselves with the same fate as Pinocchio, becoming more and more like
      the animals instead of more and more like God. Without the life that God
      gives us through faith in Jesus Christ, we have only the life of this
      world, the life of the beasts, within us. But the Kingdom of God
      requires a different life, it requires that we give up our own efforts
      at life and instead unite ourselves to the life of Christ.

      How then do we live this life of faith without the law. The law, as a
      description of the spiritual man no longer is for us a rule – but rather
      a “ruler” that is a measuring stick. We can see, by using the
      description of the law, whether or not we are in fact manifesting the
      life of Christ in us or whether we are reverting to our old tendency to
      live our own life by our own efforts. If we do not “measure up” then it
      is a sign of how and in what ways we have failed to life by faith. This
      measuring stick also gives us an indication of the ways that we can
      change and live more completely according to faith. A physician is
      trained first to look for signs of health and has as a model the
      characteristics of a healthy body. When he sees symptoms of disease or
      some other dysfunction then this is an indication that something in his
      patient is not right and so he searches for the cause of the illness. So
      also Christ is our great spiritual physician. When we exhibit some
      “symptoms” of spiritual illness and do not live according to the
      description of a spiritually healthy man (that is the law) then he
      searches in us for the cause of our illness. When the root of the
      dysfunction is discovered then we strive, through faith, to correct our
      lives, surrendering that portion to Christ that he might live more fully
      in us. All of this work of the great physician is accomplished for us
      through the Church and through those appointed by Christ through the
      Church for this task. These “assistant spiritual physicians” are the
      priests and bishops of the Church who are our pastors and archpastors
      who guide us in how to surrender our lives to Christ that He might live
      in us. Or, to use the words of the Apostle here that we learn how to be
      “crucified with Christ” and “dead to the law” in order that we might be
      “alive unto Christ.”

      If we try to justify ourselves, that is to transform ourselves, by
      living according to the law by our own efforts then all we do is create
      a lifeless imitation of the man who lives in union and communion with
      God. The law does not save us, but only describes for us how we will
      live when we are saved by Christ. In order to accomplish this salvation,
      this transformation, we must give up our own life, our own efforts, our
      own will and exchange it all for the life of Christ. We must stop trying
      to live on our own, and instead allow Christ to live in us. It is His
      life that changes us, that transforms us, that saves us. Our spiritual
      fathers and pastors teach us how to live that we might be “crucified
      with Christ” that is to “die to the world” and give up our own efforts
      at life. And then they teach us how to live so that we might “acquire
      the Holy Spirit” and live in union and communion with God that is that
      we might have “Christ living in us”. In this way we become the man that
      the law describes, living not our own lives, but with the life of Christ.

      Archpriest David Moser
      St Seraphim of Sarov Orthodox Church (ROCOR)
      Homilies: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/propoved/
      Website: http://stseraphimboise.org
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.