Skip to content Skip to footer

Christ is risen! (On this Leave-Taking of the Feast of Pascha!)

One of my very first jobs was at the fast-food restaurant Burger King! Man, that was a hoot. I loved the fact that I could work there after school and on weekends and get a free hamburger too! Yeah, that wasn’t a very healthy choice. But Burger King was one of the first fast-food places to let you decide what you wanted on your sandwich. They even had a great jingle “Hold the pickles. Hold the lettuce. Special orders don’t upset us. All we ask is that you let us serve it your way. Have it your way, at Burger King!”

Wow, now that I think about it, that mindset really says a lot about my generation and the generations we raised. Having it any way we wanted has become slavery to perpetual adolescence! No wonder kids aren’t really maturing until their late 20s nowadays.

But that’s the danger, isn’t it? If we pamper our passions and feed our desires without a disciplined way to tame our passions and mature our desires, we become slaves to our passions and desires!

And it all starts with the foolish notion that I have to “do it my way.” The power of mutual love and living in an authentic community invites us to a better way!

Just look at our Lesson today from Acts 18:22-28:

IN THOSE DAYS, when Paul had landed at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the church, and then went down to Antioch. After spending some time there he departed and went from place to place through the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples. Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesos. He was an eloquent man, well versed in the scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue; but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him and expounded to him the way of God more accurately. And when he wished to cross to Achaia, the brethren encouraged him, and wrote to the disciples to receive him. When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed, for he powerfully confuted the Jews in public, showing by the scriptures that the Christ was Jesus.

It’s a great story. St. Apollos was a very gifted teacher and speaker and he was a zealous preacher for the wisdom of God revealed by St. John the Baptist and his message of repentance. St. Apollos had been instructed in the “ways of the Lord” up to John’s message and ministry, but he didn’t have the whole story, and that was a problem! (by the way, it always is!) Of course, this is a very valuable lesson to remember. When you don’t have the whole story, you won’t get the full benefit of the wisdom!

So here comes Priscilla and Aquila, a wife and husband team who were faithful Christians and had “the rest of the story!” They fill Apollos in on the Incarnation and the message of Jesus, His life, death, and resurrection, and Apollos having been instructed in “the way of God more accurately” became a powerful teacher and leader of the Faith! He eventually became bishop in the city of Corinth, but that’s another story. Notice please, that Apollos has the humility to hear the rest of the story. He is an honorable and honest man who doesn’t care that he still needs to learn. It doesn’t offend him when the rest of the story is told. He willingly sees the wisdom in not reducing the =faith to his ego or him being the center of attention. He knows he’s not supposed to be alone and “do it yourself.” This is too important to let ego sabotage the salvation of people.

The truth is none of us will ever be healthy Christians by ourselves.  “Lone Ranger” Christianity is notoriously dangerous! We need the wisdom and even the conflict of rubbing shoulders with one another, learning from one another, and even experiencing conflict together if we are ever going to be healthy people who know ourselves well and who are humble enough to be students as well as teachers. This wisdom of the community, of relationships, means we do ourselves spiritual, emotional, and even physical harm when we think we can “go it alone.” We were meant to experience the Life of God, the Faith, and the whole of creation as connected and reachable persons in the mystery of communion. As has been said, “I can only know myself in the face of the other.”

On this Leave-taking of the Feast of Pascha, let’s embrace the wisdom of a Faith ancient AND new at the same time! As we prepare for the Feast of the Ascension where Christ takes His resurrected and glorified physical body into the midmost mystery of the Trinity, let’s truly appreciate the necessity of each other and not try to do this Faith by ourselves.

Today, where are you cut off from others? Where are you trying to “do it by myself?” How’s that working out for you? It simply is no mistake that the center of our worship as Orthodox is the Eucharist, Communion. We were meant to press out this very daily faith in the midst of the hard work of communion. We are supposed to not only do this hard work but not give up on this hard work when it gets really hard! It’s in staying faithful to communion, to community, that makes me able to love others as God loves them. Community sets me free to finally be my true self. In fact, I will never truly know myself by myself! So, I really do “get by with a little help from my friends!” Ok, maybe a lot of help, especially since the goal is to be Orthodox on Purpose!

P.S. Though You went down into the tomb, You destroyed Hades’ power, and You rose the victor, Christ God, saying to the myrrh-bearing women, “Hail!” and granting peace to Your disciples, You who raise up the fallen.

God Bless You for Supporting, sharing, and liking this Daily Devotional Ministry

Leave a comment