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Christ is risen!

The other day a friend of mine sent me a video with this note: “When you feel like complaining about how hard life is, watch this.” The video showed a young boy with prosthetic legs and no hands kicking a soccer ball around on a field with some pro soccer players. He was having the time of his life and the smile on his face as the stadium full of people cheered was touching. OK, I did well up a bit.

Let’s face it, hard times are common to all of us. We each face challenges that can debilitate us and knock us down, and sometimes they do knock us down. So what’s the path to surviving a knock-out by life?

Look at our lesson today in 2 Corinthians 4:6-15:

Brethren, it is God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For while we live we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.

Since we have the same spirit of faith as he had who wrote, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we too believed, and so we speak, knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into His presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

St. Paul encourages the Christians at Corinth in his second letter to them by reminding them that God has instilled in believers “the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” And what glory it is! It is no accident of language that Paul reminds the believers that this light reveals God’s glory in Jesus face, because it is the miracle of the Enfleshing of God in Christ, the truth that God is “Emmanuel” – God WITH Us – that displays just how awesome and wondrous God truly is. His glory, His mercy, His love, is revealed by His willingness to “come down” to us and then raise us up with Himself to where He is!

Then Paul reminds us that this treasure of light in the Face of Jesus is held by humans – earthen vessels. I love that turn of phrase because it reminds me that God made we humans out of the “dust of the earth.” We are truly “earthen vessels” holding a treasure beyond worth or ability to properly value. The treasure we hold is priceless! But look what happens to these vessels BECAUSE of the Treasure within us! St. Paul reminds these Corinthians that no matter what life throws at them, even when they are “struck down,” they are not destroyed! Why? Because the Risen Christ lives within them and even when it looks like the end for them, this just circles back to where it looked like the end of Jesus on the cross. But we all know how that turned out!

You see, the whole purpose of the grace of God and His strength within you to not just survive but endure to the end isn’t for you alone, but for all around you to witness this testimony of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. We believe that even physical death, and a horrendous physical death at that, is no match for the “glory of God in the Face of Christ!”

Today, is your “earthen vessel” struggling to survive? Are you “perplexed?” Persecuted? Struck down? Know that even in the very real pain of this moment; the very real fear; the very real sadness, the very fact that Christ lives inside you means this moment will not destroy you. Even if the pain lasts for the rest of your physical life, it will disappear like a drop of water in the ocean in the Face of the Glory of God! Being Orthodox on Purpose means not just survival, but eternal peace!

P.S. The Church gives us this passage today at Mid-Pentecost! We are halfway through the Paschal season and can see the “fire” of Pentecost just ahead! And Pentecost means so much to us this year because this is when our Hierarchs will meet in Crete to witness to the conciliarity of our Orthodox Faith. Please pray for the Holy and Great Council to be convened this Pentecost, and listen Sunday at 8 PM for a Special Faith Encouraged LIVE follow up program about the Council!  


  • Dorothy Roehrl Deyev
    Posted May 25, 2016 at 10:19 am

    I love your posts,your videos, and your message; what you are doing in spreading the Word of God to people is a blessed thing. That said,the thing that trips me up however and turns me off intellectually (and I know it probably isnt very important,but it still jumps out at me in a negative way) is when you use incorrect grammar. And I have noticed this same grammatical error more than once,so I hope drawing your attention to it is received as a positve thing.
    God made “we” humans is incorrect use of grammar. God made “us” humans is correct. He did not make “we”.
    Repeatedly incorrect use of grammar gets to some people’s nerves right up front. I’m one of those,and there are sure to be others, but if I am wrong about this particular point of grammar,please forgive me. I still love what you are doing,you have cheered up my soul many a day with your spiritually positive approach to Orthodox faith and life in general. You have a special gift of speaking good cheer,love, and hope within a very serious message. God bless you and your family. Forgive me,please.

    • Post Author
      Fr. Barnabas Powell
      Posted May 25, 2016 at 11:25 am

      Oh, Dorothy, please don’t be worried. If I were perfect, I’d be downright insufferable!

      There is always room to grow and learn and I don’t want to miss out on growing. Thank you for your love and help! We humans NEED it! 🙂

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