IN those days, Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him about Whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, He said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael asked Jesus, “Where did You get to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.” And Jesus said to him, “Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”
Blessed beginning of Great Lent to everyone!
Because the first week is so full of services, not counting all the extracurricular activities we all have, I will give a brief note of the Gospel lesson for the upcoming Sunday.
Philip's reply to Nathaniel - "Come and see" - in a way is a perfect reply to Who is Christ and what is His Church. We could try to explain it in words, but no matter what we say and how we say it, the words will fail us. The only way to know Christ is to "come and see."
We experience Jesus in the church because, as He said, where two or three are gathered in His Name, He will also be there. Praying together, for a common purpose and in familiar words (that's why, for example, most of our Liturgy is unchangeable - we don't have to guess what's coming next, we know it and we pray it) means that we are not only in the same physical space, but we are also of one heart and mind.
And of course we "come and see" and receive Christ in the holy Communion. The Lord was very clear when He said during the Last Supper, while breaking the bread, "This is My Body," and when passing the cup, "This is My Blood." In Communion we receive all of Christ. We don't eat His flesh in the most literal sense, rather we partake sacramentally/mystically/mysteriously of His Body and Blood. His Body and Blood become part of us, so that we would become part of Him.
So, if you are already Orthodox Christian, "come and see" and receive Christ. If you are not, "come and see," whether you would like to become a member of Christ's holy Church.
Yours in Christ,
Father Aleksey - your friendly Singac priest