Daily Meditations

Sixth Tuesday after Pascha: ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ! CHRIST IS RISEN!

From the Heart: Resting in the Ascension (Part II), by Douglas Cramer

It’s Easy to Go Wrong

The reading from the Gospel of St. John for the Sunday of the Blind Man (John 9:1-38), the Sunday before Ascension, lay out just how easy it is to get caught in the thickets of bad motivations, of how lost people become by trying to do the right things for the wrong reasons. And of how the solution is to remain centered in the peace of Christ.

Why are we doing what we are doing? Know thyself, find the treasure house, and you will find the source of right reasons.

The story of the Blind Man shows us the contrast between being centered in the peace of Jesus Christ, and being lost in a confusion of thoughts and unquestioned assumptions and motivations. Christ corrects his disciples misunderstanding that the man was born blind as a punishment from God. Christ teaches them the plain truth: “I must work the works of Him who sent Me … I am the light of the world.” He is light. He is clarity. He is our center and source, the rock on which we can stand firm.

He restores the blind man’s sight. And immediately, in rushes more confusion as the crowds try to figure out what happened, finally getting the Pharisees involved. You can hear the arguments running thick and heavy, the raised voices and the lack of peace among all the parties involved—even the blind man’s parents, who try to avoid getting drawn in to the courtroom drama over Christ’s miracle. Yet the man born blind ultimately triumphs by remaining centered in Christ. He knows himself. He knows the truth—that he was born blind, and that Christ healed him. And in knowing himself, he finds himself on the path of Christ. With no one standing with him, he speaks from his heart and tells the Pharisees: “If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing.” The final scene is of his victory, worshipping Christ and proclaiming “Lord, I believe!”

We so often don’t know why we do what we do. We’re distracted by too much information. We haven’t ventured deep in to ourselves. We may be doing good works, but are we doing them for the right reasons? Our salvation depends on the answer. So we all need to relax. To unclench. To seek peace.

Once we turn our attention towards seeking peace in our hearts, we can take that seeking with us to Church. Pursue your peace there. The Church is your gateway. We need community, yet we are fractured by loneliness. But we were not meant to be alone. The whole New Testament is built around the work of the Holy Spirit to create this new community, the Church, to show the world just how people are supposed to be community together. A person who puts his or her best energies into knowing God will discover that God, as Trinity, is the model for community. But knowing God isn’t the same as knowing about God. A relationship with God is not simply an intellectual pursuit. It requires opening your heart to an intimate knowledge of God founded on personal communion with God Himself.

The Church is the gateway to the Kingdom. It is also the image of the Kingdom—it is our treasure house. So draw on the treasures in our worship, our Scripture, our icons, our music, our prayer, our theology. Use these treasures on your journey, on your pursuit to peace. Come to this refuge, and depart refreshed.

This reflection is adapted from a speech originally written for Fr. Christopher Metropulos of St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and SCOBA’s Orthodox Christian Network. Learn more about the powerful ministries of OCN on their website, www.myocn.net.

~Taken from the Website of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, http://www.antiochian.org/node/17790.