Sunday, November 26 on Ephesians 4:1-6
We can characterize our world in many different ways. We can say it’s beautiful. That it is a creation of God, full of life, full of action, full of color and amazing landscapes, that our world is full of power. But one thing we also have to say is that our world is fallen.
It’s characterized by disunity – by wars and factions, by hatred and mutual separation. Xenophobia – hatred of outsiders, of those who are different – is our global characteristic.
This is especially evident today, as more and more people hate each other. Hate is all over the place – on TV, in the newspapers, and out in the streets. We can blame any one person for this, or even a group of people for spreading the hate and igniting racism. But when we look for someone to blame, all we do is participate in hate and racism.
Looking for a scapegoat is not going to help anything. As always, when we try to fix things around us we look inwards, we work on fixing ourselves.
If you look at our small community, you’ll see that we are diverse, we have different kinds of personalities. The Church in general consists of all races, colors, political opinions, and classes. So it’s inevitable to have tensions, even when we try to live in peace.
But recent developments in our nation go beyond tensions, even among Christians. Today, St Paul calls our attention to the basic characteristics of the community and unity. He says, “I beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and meekness, with patience, putting up with each other in love.”
He is begging us and says to put up with each other if we can’t do anything else. I don’t know what the people to whom he wrote did, but he is not instructing them what to do, he is asking and begging. I think if he looked at us today, he would probably do the same, and probably cry along the way as well.
St Paul is calling us to humility, meekness, and patience in love. All of these things were not considered virtues in the ancient world. They were a sign of weakness and cowardice. Humble, gentle, and patient people did not survive, they were ridiculed and put down.
Much like in our time, how many people today, including Christians, especially Christians, would say that humility, meekness, and patience are the true goals of their life? Are not pride, self-promotion, and self-worth the real goals of our life? I mean really, how many humble and patient people do you know who are at the top, who have it all?
I know One. But He did not get there on His own, He was put up above others. He was nailed to the Cross, and the Cross was raised up, so that He was really above others. How did He reach those heights? He was humble, gentle, and patient with love to everyone.
In fact, He was hated and rejected because He refused to use aggression to achieve His goals. He didn’t come with power or with army to establish His authority and rule. He employed the signs of weakness – humility, meekness, and patience.
Jesus Christ turned the whole worldview upside down – signs of weakness He made tools of power. He was ridiculed, but conquered everyone with love. And Christ Himself said, “I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls in Me” (Matthew 11:29). He showed that human pride and self-righteousness are ridiculous and inadequate.
This humility, meekness and patience has been winning from generation to generation. It has united us, with all our differences and diversity. It’s the only antidote to today’s hatred and racism.
Learn to be humble, gentle and patient, I beg you. Christ has united us, in Him alone we will be able to maintain this peace. There are always traps set up for us by the evil one, today they are hatred and racism. Use Christ’s tools of power to overcome them and we will find rest for our souls, as He promised.
Unless otherwise specified, the articles here are posted by Fr Aleksey, who has no sense of humor and is extremely straight forward.