TOUCHES ABOUT THE SPIRIT
Preaching is a daily biblical experience
The fourth and fifth centuries are considered the golden age for the writings of the fathers of the church in many fields such as martyrdom for the Bible of Christ, preaching and priesthood. In many angles, many of the fathers’ writings carried the spirit of preaching and martyrdom for Christ and his salvation work in their explanation of the holy book or in the homilies and some of its chapters. Other writings were about spiritual life and writings that are carrying that spirit, even those that pointed to the church rituals and would make the reader anxious for preaching and martyrdom for Christ.
When John Golden Mouth talked with the priests, he said: “You priests are the fathers of the whole world”, not only for Christians. As for people, sometimes he repeated saying “You are the bishop”, as he felt that people are more capable to preach than the bishop or the priest, because they mingle with others in markets and work and school, especially the child who can attract his friend to practical live faith better than the priest as well as youth and friends.
St. Makarios the Egyptian, as a live leader for monastical life, thinks that there is no salvation for the monk but in the salvation of his friends.
St. Ogestinos says: Some want to put limits for love in Africa. If you like Christ, then love the whole world because members of Christ are widespread in the whole world.
Characteristics of service as the Nicea and after Nicea fathers think:
I do not want to repeat what I previously referred to about the spirit of service as we found in the writings of fathers after Nicea, but I would like to add to them the following characteristics that represent different sides for one life in the crucified Jesus Christ.
1. Preaching of making an internal destiny decision.
What occupies St. John Golden Mouth is preaching of repentance as making a decision that touches the depths of people. With this decision, the believer moves from the category of sons of the devil to sons of God or from evil to goodness. (Whoever practices repentance after committing sin, deserves to be congratulated and not to grieve for, as he is considered on the side of good people.) He acknowledges God’s mercy that is capable of transferring the heart from corruption to purity and makes a new heaven out of the dust heart and angels out of humans. Through this knowledge, he enjoys the power of the spirit so he challenges the devil with all his forces, and sins with all its temptations, and the whole world with all its tricks and temptations. He lives with the power of the spirit and assertion that he is the son of God crying with the thief on the right: “Take me away God when I come to your kingdom.” (Repentance is a fire that eats all human weakness and takes away our feeling of being negative, and laziness and heaviness of the body and gives the spirit a wing to fly towards heaven. Through this high top, two heroes appear in this current life.)
2. Preaching the new life as an ongoing slave in the heart.
In the middle of his pains, the servant should preach of happy life, like what St. Athanasios the apostle does: I wish we do not forget what he has surrendered that is resurrection of God, he says that he killed whoever has the power of death, i.e. the devil. He untied the ties of death and gave us the blessings of replacing curse, and happiness replacing sadness, and feast replacing grief, all of this in the happiness that is for Easter, the continuous feast in our hearts, as we are always happy with him as Paul ordered in 1 Ts 5:17-18, “Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (As he is the shepherd, the chief priest, the door and everything for us at the same time, he also appears as a “slave” for us, as Paul says in 1 Co 5:7, “For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.”
3. Have mercy on all sinners.
God said in Jo 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” The word of God came, the sun of goodness to shed the light on those who are sitting in the darkness of the graves, so they enjoy the light of his resurrection. He came to raise every spirit from being strange from God, the source of its life. Preaching about Christ is offering the experience of this light that every believer enjoys, priest or people, to attract the holy spirit of God to every soul and ask for the light of Christ and enjoy his raised life. The Christian, no matter how old he is or how educated or what his capabilities or position are, is the light that carries the light of Christ and if he does not shed that light on those who are around him, he loses his being a Christian.
The first work of the church is to look for every spirit to enjoy Christ’s salvation, either believers or non believers. St. Ogestinos assures that as long as any human being is breating, even if it is the last breath, then God will wait for his salvation, otherwise he wouldn’t have given him that breath.
St. John Golden Mouth invites us to take St. Paul as our example. Although he realizes his inability, he believed in God who called him the Apostle of all nations and did not stop calling every breath to enjoy what he enjoys. He says:
- Love for for God does not carry this differentiation between people as a base for love, but as a human he loves those who he believes that they are true brothers and loves heretics and Jews as brothers by nature, crying for them and are sorry for them and working hard for them.
- If this is worth admiring God, how would humans admire God with their love for all.
- If a Greek or whoever, is mentioning the cross, then he is of ignorance although he has the wisdom of God and his strength.
- Jealousy for the salvation of the spirits in the eyes of God is better than making miracles like what Moses did when he got the people of God out of Egypt, as all of this does not equal to his divine jealousy and his disturbed love when he asks God for the sake of people saying “Yet now if thou wilt forgive their sin and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.” Ex 32:32, as Moses with all the miracles that he did, was not honored but from these great words.
- I do not want some to get salvation, but all, as if one stayed in destruction, I do too. It looks to me that we have to take the shepherd as an example, but he was after the lost one that has the 99 sheep.
- The priest is for the sake of the whole world and became a father to all.
- There is nothing trivial like a Christian who does not care about the salvation of others.
St. John Dorgi says: “Being close to God by salvation with one spirit is better than all offerings, as nothing in the world is better for God than the human spirit because the whole world disappears but the mentioned spirit does not.
St. Ambrosios showed in detail the necessity of being soft with the weak sinners in his two messages about “repentance”, where he addressed one to Novotius’ followers who refused to accept the repentance of those who denied faith for fear of discrimination, and others who committed sins that Novatius followers considered that the repenting for those sins is not acceptable.
- They say that we should not accept those who deny faith in the group again, as they made the holies not pure anymore which would not make them receive any forgiveness, hence we should not be harsh on them….They considered that with doing this, they give God great dignity, but the truth is that no one can be hurting God but them, what rude boldness and not holy fear, as you disguise those who are asking for repentance.
St. Gregory the Nicean says: “whoever made his life for his sheep, looked for the lost one in the mountains and when he found him, he carried him on his shoulders, that carried the cross.
4. Preaching that God made the human a leader.
St. Mar Jacob sees that God created earth and all that is on it and under it and founded planets as preparing his assistant or ambassador on earth, the human. It is like preparing a royal palace for the king.
God in his unique fathering and his love for the humans, created our first parents as king and queen who had authority over the whole earthly creatures and had the spirit of honest leadership that is like the great divine fatherly leadership.
- Who of the earthly creatures was created on the image of God but the human? And who did he give authority to for his own sake? It is a real honor that crowns his head and takes him to heaven, above planets, higher than the sun in greatness, even if he tried some of the angels to a materialistic body, he was given strength to understand and acknowledge his God and creator. Basilios the Great
- We are all equal by nature
- Originally, the humanity was created as complete, each has the authority to plan his life without a master, to have a life with no grief or exhaustion, so what does it mean to be led, other than to be enslaved?
- It is not nature, but love for the authority that divided the humanity to slaves and masters. Whoever surrenders to you is as the custom and law is equal to you in dignity of nature.
- Independence and freedom is tendency to wisdom and movement of the will of the human.
- The greatest problem for freedom is, how can the human be his own master. Gregory of Nicea.
5. Showing the truth of happy life
- The divine word came to our earth to share in our pains and extract the true happiness from inside us. He came so we can have him, so that we receive the blessed life and he would be better for us.
- The human, the wise creature, is a great and noble one, and this is how, even if he falls, nothing satisfies him but God, to give him happy peace, not even his own self would give him this, this is why I say, happy is he who has God in him.
- There is no life but what is coming from God, who is the great life, the source of life. We were created for you God, our hearts will not be at rest till we rest in you.
- Let’s praise now my brothers, not to be happy with our peace, but with our pain, like travelers who praise while they are on a journey, if you progress, then you advance, to progress in goodness, in real faith, in straight life, praise and complete your journey.
- Praise and finish your journey, praise and walk, praise and fight as a soldier. Our final aim is Christ, in him we try and with him we become complete and be with him. Ogestinos
- Our bodies and spirits are musical instruments that work together in harmony in a lyric. Jerome.
- Son of God, move my praising lyrics and make all my senses happy with them. Since the start, my tongue is prepared to praise you and if it stops, I should be judged. I will not stop praising you so I would not be judged in a fair justice. The human’s mouth is prepared to praise and whoever stops is blamed and disguised. When the creator created the mouth, he put the sound and word for praising. Human mouth is not for trivial news or inappropriate words but it is for praise. Mar Jacob Serogian
- Why do we fight and have long faces? Aren’t we the heirs of the eternal life? Let go of the long faces and grumpiness of the pagans, and the crying for the sinners, as for the saints and righteous, it is appropriate for them to smile and be happy because they enjoy the spiritualities. Apollo.
6. Preaching with love and set an example
The non believer does not change by the continuous preaching and commandments, as much as with learning to love and to have a good example. As St. John Golden Mouth says, the miraculous work that attracts the spirits to Master Christ is not for making miracles, but for big hearts filled with love and pure personality that is enlightened in the middle of the world, and that glorifies God and gives salt to the spirits.
- Forever, there is nothing that stops the pagans but lack of love.
- Miracles are not for attracting pagans like way of life and nothing makes life straight like love.
- Nothing is respectful in pagans like righteousness, and nothing stops them like sin
- We are the reason in stopping them in sin, as they admire our teachings and stumble in our way of life. John Golden Mouth.
- Showing the power of the cross in our life
Preaching of the cross is glory to the Lord, “Father the hour is come, glorify thy son that thy son also may glorify thee”, Jo 17:1.
The cross was and is sill glorifying God, on the cross, God met with the human, destroyed his sins and kept it in his body on behalf of the sinners, to bring the repenting sinners who are in agreement with the crucified spirit, in hope, without fear of eternity.
This is the glory of the cross, where he kept the sins and gave us the opportunity to be crucified with him too, crucify our self and feelings and all our energies, so that it dies and be buried and wake up from the dead, and then, we do not live, but Christ will live in us, and work in us, we would have Christ’s will and thinking and work.
With the cross too, we have the victorious life, on ourselves and anything that stops us from enjoying eternity.
With the cross, death dies and its power is destroyed and we enjoy life, we are carried in the live crucified Christ, in the cross:
- Our sins are forgiven
- We have the victorious life
- Power of death is destroyed
- We are crucified with him
God stopped his disciples from preaching as the son of God (Mt 20:16), so that they would preach, while crucified.
The wonder of faith is clear, and that is the understanding of the reality of Christ.
With the cross, he gave salvation to the world.
There is no human in history that reached this greatness that would enable him to remove the sins of the whole world, not Akhnookh nor Ibrahim or Isaac, even if he gave himself to death, but he was kept as he was not able to remove the dirtiness of sin.
Who then is that great one who with his death, all sins die? He can’t be a human, but God chose the son, the son of God, that is above all, he would give himself on behalf of everybody’s sins. He had to die, because with his victory over death, he was able to save others, who are like the dead lying in the graves.