Discovery of the Holy Cross – 2021 – Father Shnork-
The Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St. Matthew:
27For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather. 29“Immediately after the suffering of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven will be shaken. 30Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see ‘the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven’ with power and great glory. 31And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. 32“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. 33So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. 34Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. 35Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. 36“But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
Hollywood and story writers make billions of dollars every year by treating fantastic old stories about signs and wonders and apocalyptic futures. Christian scriptures has inspired by the lord tell us that in terms of sheer happenings particularly and specifically in the end of age and the coming of our lord, no longer will there be a need for signs and wonders but he’s coming and his appearance will be known plainly in by all in all places.
In other words, There will be no mistaking his arrival. As he says, just like the flashes of lightning from one side of the sky to the other so will the coming of Christ be. (verse 27). His coming will neither be a comfort for all and a joy to the world as was the announcement of his first coming, but rather will be ushered in by suffering, and catastrophic disruptions to the normal astronomical patterns, what with the “sun being darkened, and the moon ceasing to give its light; the stars falling from heaven, and the powers of heaven shaken!” (V. 29) some of the fathers of the church speculate even that the stars following from heaven and the powers of having been shaken implies the destruction of the evil forces of Satan. This type of graphic apocalyptic vision is really the stuff that science fiction horror movies are made of. These are not the fantastic machinations of a creative mind but from the mouth of the creator and author of life. Jesus goes on to say that after this the ““sign” of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see ‘the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven’ with power and great glory. 31And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (v. 30-31)
Jesus warns his listeners that we too ought to heed the signs if this age. As the fig tree’s branches and leaves indicate that summer is here so to are the signs of the age ushering in the inauguration of the end. I wonder if we are capable of heeding the signs? Can we take our noses out of our Electronic Devices, our eyes off the distractions of this mundane chaos which we call the media? Do we have the spiritual acuity to look around and heed the signs?
In the 36th verse, Jesus says, “35Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. 36“But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” He is not telling but calls us to “Attention”, to heed his word. I know we all know that Jesus himself is in fact of the Word. And as the eternal word of god holes in his hand the possibility of eternal life. All that we can do is to keep him and to follow him. That does not mean to console ourselves by saying quote I’m OK, I’m a good guy, or like the Pharisee pat ourselves on the shoulder saying “I pay my dues or I try to be a good person and so on.”
What the lord is calling us to his to be his children, to focus on him, to learn from him and to hear him. Our liturgical tradition has expressed this most perfectly when gathered around his table that deacon instructs everyone can be gathering to “pay attention!”, Brokhoome!, Not asking kindly, nor apologetically, but exhorting everyone to take heed of God’s word for god himself is speaking. Broskhoome is Greek and an ancient word that was unchanged even by the Armenians because of its profound importance to the Liturgy of the early church. Recognizing that God’s word, in fact that Jesus himself, was about to announce himself in the chanting of the gospel. For this reason, to the church universal in all places, by all and at all times a shard in this spoken word with the command to “pay attention”! Broskhoome is the verb “to pay attention” spoken in the third person, plural and subjunctive form, which means that we are all commanded to pay heed without exception in the very same way as if we all experienced an ominous and horrific thunderous blast means and blinding light overhead! If you ever spoken to someone or yourself have experienced a close contact clap of thunder and lightning, you’ll know that it causes people’s hair to stand up on end. This is how the early church experienced the spoken word of God during the divine liturgy. Can see how our culture has separated us from the awe being if in God’s presence and hearing him speak. There should be absolutely no talking, all movement should stop, everyone should look, see and hear what is being said, lest they miss the Lord’s Word.
Let us go over for a moment, the “liturgical” exchange that takes place in the Badarak, primarily what the deacon commands of all of us.
STAND UP, LISTEN WITH AWE TO THE HOLY GOSPEL, PAY ATTENTION, GOD IS SPEAKING.
Is this not exactly what we are called to be doing every time Jesus speaks? Badarak, at eh Lord’s Table at Church is not the place to have our heads in a book. Its not the place to meditate on our own issues, it’s not the time to be social with friends, to be lighting candles with our thoughts to ourselves, or walking around, shaking hands, offering names of the requiems, paying dues, sorting MAHS, reading the bulletin, or flipping pages of a pew book, and all the things that distract us form GOD’S WORD, OUR LORD JESUS.
Like St. Peter, we must pay attention, look to Jesus and with our thoughts and prayers say, “Yes Jesus, you have the Word of eternal life!!!”
Many of you know that I am not a proponent of pew books. I don’t advocate, Bibles in the pews. Is it because I am against the Bible? Is it that I don’t want people to follow or understand the Liturgy? Of course not. It is simply not the appropriate time. Reading scripture or a pew book or anything else is s distraction of what is at HAND. It is no different than pulling on you’re a lifelong and reading messages while you’re sitting at the table with friends or family. It is simply “liturgically” rude and inappropriate. Beloved, on Sunday morning the entire body of Christ is invited to sit at his table just as sure as the apostles did on Holy Thursday. Our on a sinner here’s our to be on Jesus and his word. How are we to decipher the times and all the way if we don’t follow him and pay complete attention to what he is saying to us “with our heart’s burning” (Luke 24:32). The entire tradition of the church is worshipping history is based in this understanding. This did not change until the 16th century after the protestant reformation. A time when many excised the Lord’s Supper which is the entire point of Sunday morning from the “worship service”, ostensibly breaking Communion from the Lord’s Body and Blood.
The Badarak was and will always be a conjunction of two glorious events for the Body of Christ, the Church in the Life in Christ. It where we commune at the Table of the Lord’s WORD, by hearing and attending to the sacred and life-giving scriptures and by attending to the Lord’s WORD incarnate! Eating and drinking at his table!! In both cases we are receiving the WORD, spoken and in flesh!!
Dear beloved, the world will pass away, it will end but Jesus’ words will never end (Matthew 24:35). The early church realized this and taught that the end of the world was already inaugurated in the Lord’s Birth, Death and Resurrection and continually made mysteriously or sacramentally Present in the Badarak among his redeemed, saying even where two or three are gathered in my Name (Kyrios), there am I! and I will be with you (MY CHURCH) even to the end of the age! . Therefore, the early church interpreted that as “the end of the world” was inaugurated on Sunday at the Lord’s Resurrection, so to will it be consummated on the first day of the week and the Lord’s Day, at the “Breaking of Bread” (Luke 24:35) which we know is Sunday or the Kyriaki Lord’s Day. We do not know the hour or the time but aren’t we to be ready? Aren’t we to be wise and heed the signs? Will we be “counted in that number” as asks the old Baptist Spiritual? Taking Heed, paying attention looking to the Lord and heeding his WORD, we know that our only hope is in him and only at his side, yes in fact, at his Table in the company of the saints in the fellowship of the Church.
My we all “in fear and faith draw forward and communicate with him in holiness”, both and together at the “Table of his Word” and at the “Table of His Supper” like those on the road to Emmaus who after initially not recognizing Jesus, like perhaps many of us, after hearing and speaking with him and then later sitting at his table for supper experienced the following as learned in the Gospels. Concerning the apostles, it says, after hearing Jesus,
31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.
32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
33 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together
34 and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.”
35 Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.
Thus saith the Lord and God and Word of God, Jesus, to whom together with the Father and Holy Spirit be glory now and always and unto the ages, Amen.