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Homily for 7/14/13 - p3 - rejoice in all things

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  • David
    Romans 5:1-10 It is a natural thing to rejoice in the good things that God gives to us. Therefore, when we consider that He has opened to us the floodgates of
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 14 11:51 AM
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      Romans 5:1-10

      It is a natural thing to rejoice in the good things that God gives to
      us. Therefore, when we consider that He has opened to us the floodgates
      of His grace which He pours out upon us in order that we might be
      transformed into His image and likeness and enter into union and
      communion with Him, we respond with great joy and thanksgiving. This is
      indeed our hope – that we will participate in the glory of God and in
      the life that He bestows upon us. This is, in fact the hope of our
      salvation. In recognizing this, the apostle reminds us that not only
      those things we consider to be “good” and pleasant are worthy of our
      rejoicing, but that all things – pleasant and unpleasant – are sent to
      us by God. For all these things we give thanks and rejoice in all
      situations.

      Having reminded us that we rejoice in the hope of the glory God, the
      apostle goes on to say that we rejoice in tribulations. In order that we
      might understand this seeming contradiction, he explains to us that
      tribulations lead to patience and patience in turn leads to experience
      and experience yields hope, bringing us right back to the first cause of
      our rejoicing. We rejoice in the hope of God’s glory and even
      tribulations bring us back to that hope and are therefore a part of our
      rejoicing. In this we see that our salvation is not yet fully
      accomplished, but that we are in the process of being transformed and
      changed. If we were already perfected, then there would be no cause for
      hope, no cause for rejoicing for there would be no purpose to anything
      that happens here in this life. If we were already perfected and ready
      for life in the Kingdom of God, then this life becomes nothing more than
      tedious period of waiting. If we are already perfected, then this life
      loses its purpose – and that purposeless leads to despair and the loss
      of hope.

      But we do have hope and we know that everything that comes to us in this
      life is part of the process of our perfection. Both joys and sorrows are
      instruments used by God to transform us, to make us perfect, to make it
      possible for us to enter into the promise His life. When we realize that
      then everything we experience in this life can become a source of joy
      for everything has purpose and leads us to the glory of God. Hope drives
      out despair and we again rejoice in all things.

      How then is it that tribulations lead us to the glory of God? This is
      the process that the apostle explains to us in this short section of his
      letter that we read today. Tribulation leads to patience. When we are
      undergoing some difficult or sorrowful experience, we come to the point
      where no matter what else we might do, it is necessary to be prepared to
      simply wait for our circumstances to change in some way. As with
      everything in this world, there is always some element of change. That
      change will provide an opportunity alter our situation; it will open
      doors that did not previously exist and provide perspectives that were
      not before apparent. Some things that start out seeming unpleasant and
      bad, when they run their course, turn out to be a very good thing. Such
      is the perspective that can only be gained through patience. In addition
      to everything else that we might do to resolve difficulties in which we
      find ourselves, simple endurance in the expectation that things will
      change is something that we all do. This simple endurance brings
      patience and patience yields to experience.

      By exercising patient endurance we see much that we did not see before.
      We see which of our actions are helpful and what is a waste of our
      effort. We see how some things are resolved without our intervention and
      how when we do intervene some choices are better than others. We realize
      what is and what is not within our control. In short, we learn. This
      learning we call “experience” for by drawing on the memory of our past
      experiences, we learn not only what works and what doesn’t, but we also
      learn that even those things that are out of our control are not out of
      God’s control. In patiently enduring tribulations, we also learn a new
      perspective of what is important and what is not. Sometimes, by
      experiencing a deprivation of something we considered necessary or
      important, we find out that it is neither. On the other hand things that
      previously we considered useless, or even harmful are in fact very good
      and valuable. Experience shows us a new perspective on this life and
      reveals to us how the hand of God is constantly with us. In this manner,
      experience brings us hope for we realize that no matter what
      circumstance we might find ourselves in, God is with us and is working
      for our benefit. The more experience we have with both joys and sorrows,
      the more clearly we see God’s purposes at work in our lives. This
      experience brings us hope for we realize that no matter what happens to
      us in this life, whether “good” or “bad”, whether joy or sorrow is part
      of the work of God’s grace in us to transform us into His image and
      likeness.

      And so we come back to the beginning – that we rejoice in the hope of
      the glory of God. Our joy is not found in the things of this life,
      rather the things of this life only serve to reveal to us the true
      source of joy, which is the hope of the glory of God. In this small
      segment of the epistle we see explained a great truth, that God loves us
      and that in every aspect of our lives He is working by the pouring out
      of His grace to transform us into His image and likeness that we might
      share in 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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