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Homily for 5/19/13 - Pascha2 - one body many roles

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  • David
    Acts 6:1-7 Today we remember the Holy Myrrh-bearing women who, on the day the Resurrection, came to the tomb and discovered that our Lord Jesus Christ was no
    Message 1 of 1 , May 20, 2013
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      Acts 6:1-7

      Today we remember the Holy Myrrh-bearing women who, on the day the
      Resurrection, came to the tomb and discovered that our Lord Jesus Christ
      was no longer there, but that He had conquered death and rose from the
      dead. They were charged with the awesome responsibility of taking this
      news to the Apostles. By giving the Myrrh-bearers this task, our Lord
      demonstrated again that there was no barrier to women in the Kingdom of
      God, but that their role was no less important than that of men in the
      Church.

      In the reading today from the Acts of the Apostles, we see a small scene
      from the functioning of the early Christian community – the Church –
      that had gathered around the Apostles. As we recall from last week this
      community lived “in one accord” with one another and with Christ, each
      doing what they were able for the benefit of all. A disturbance arose in
      the life of the community such that some complained that the widows and
      orphans from among the Gentiles did not receive the same attention as
      those who were from among the Jewish believers. When this complaint was
      brought to the attention of the Apostles, they also realized that they
      were unable to address all the needs of the community themselves for
      they would soon be swallowed up by the details and be distracted from
      their primary task of proclaiming the Gospel and of teaching the
      believers what had been revealed to them by Jesus Christ. In response to
      this they then appointed 7 deacons who would take on the responsibility
      to care for the needs of the community.

      Here now we have before us three different groups: the Myrrh-bearing
      women, the Deacons and the Apostles. Each group had its place within the
      Body of Christ and yet each group had its distinct role and composition.
      This reminds us that while we are all part of the same body of Christ
      and that we work together for our salvation, at the same time, we all
      have different roles within the Church. This was plain to us just this
      past weekend as we put on our annual festival. Everyone worked together,
      everyone was necessary for the successful completion of this labor,
      however no one could do everything. There were those who prepared food,
      those who served food, those who managed the dining area, those who
      cared for the money, those who picked up the trash, those who washed the
      dirty dishes and so on. No one was without purpose and all played an
      indispensable part in this labor.
      In the Body of Christ, each one of us has a place and a role given to us
      by God. We too often think that there are only a few who are important
      and the rest are just interchangeable parts of less value. Nothing could
      be further from the truth for all are important and all have a place in
      the Church prepared for them by God. We depend on one another, we need
      one another as together we work out our salvation.

      Of all these various people of whom we heard today in the early Church,
      there is indeed one thing which they all held in common. Even though
      they had different responsibilities and different places, they all
      realized that these roles always had to be completed to the glory of
      God. They never lost sight of the necessity to do all that they did with
      prayer and humility, trusting in God to bring all things to a good end.
      In our own experience, we try to remember that no matter how far we may
      seem to be from the doors of the Church during the festival, we are
      still in the presence of God and our labors are for His glory. Sometimes
      we forget that God watches over even the least of us and arranges the
      smallest details. We then take upon our own shoulders the responsibility
      to “fill in” for God and make sure that all the things that He had
      “overlooked” actually get done. We occupy our attention, our thoughts
      and all our energies with the doing of our task that we forget to pray,
      we forget to turn to our Lord for help and assistance. We easily
      remember to begin our labors with prayer and to finish with prayer – but
      sometimes we forget to pray in the middle. Like the Holy Apostles, or
      the deacons, or the Myrrh-bearing women, we cannot ever forget that our
      labors must always be bathed in prayer. No matter what you do, do not
      forget to pray and ask for God’s help and direction and provision while
      you do it. Be diligent that you do not allow your “responsibilities” to
      usurp the place of prayer in your life.

      We are all part of the Body of Christ and we are all given those
      responsibilities that are best suited to our salvation. We do these
      things not for ourselves, but for the benefit of our brethren and for
      the glory of God. Above all, these things we do must never be allowed to
      push out prayer. There is a proper time, the preacher tells us, for all
      things (Eccl. 3:1ff) and so when it is time to work, we must work to the
      glory of God, however when it is time to pray, we cannot let our work
      prevent us from prayer. We all have a place appointed for us in the
      Church by God. Let us fill this place with humility and trust in God,
      doing all things for His glory.

      --
      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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