My Beloved the Benevolent, April 2020
Khristos Anesti Alithos Anesti
Christ is Risen Truly He is Risen
On the 19th of April we celebrate the glorious Feast of the Resurrection and our celebration continues throughout the Holy Fifty Days.
I would like to congratulate you all on the glorious Feast of the Resurrection asking our living God to grant us the joy and power of His resurrection to live a holy and a pure life. Our glorious church leads us with her beautiful tradition throughout the Holy Passion week to follow Christ’s life-giving passion every day and every hour, to follow His crucifixion and His glorious resurrection.
The tradition of the eve of Bright Saturday is considered a marvelous tradition that gradually brings us in to the fullness of the joyful resurrection tradition. At the beginning of the eve of Bright Saturday, we pray Psalm 151 in which David the Prophet glorifies God saying, “I was small among my brothers, and youngest in my father’s house. I tended my father’s sheep. My hands formed a musical instrument, and my fingers tuned a lute. Who shall tell my Lord? The Lord himself, he himself hears. He sent forth his angel and took me from my father’s sheep, and he anointed me with his anointing oil. My brothers were handsome and tall; but the Lord did not take pleasure in them. I went out to meet the Philistine, and he cursed me by his idols. But I drew his own sword and beheaded him, and removed reproach from the children of Israel.”
- The church wants to remind us of Christ’s work of salvation for us. As we remember David and the marvelous work of God with him; we remember, with St. Paul, Christ’s work of salvation, “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would ever dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Rom.5:7-8
- The church reminds us that God chose us for a new life as He chose David and granted him many blessings. St. Paul the Apostle commands us, “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” Rom.6:12-14
The church draws for us the way to defeat Satan through the story of David who defeated Goliath, if we contemplate on the story of victory of David over Goliath (who represents Satan) which was mentioned in the Book of 1 Samuel, chapter 17.
- Goliath was a man of war and according to human standards, he was powerful and a terrifying person. The Bible says, “And the Philistine said, “I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.” When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.” 1Sam.17:10-11. Humanity was under the bondage of Satan and death. Satan was fighting people from the beginning and people were unable to live a holy and righteous life. As St. Paul says, “As it is written: There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one.” Rom.3:10-12. All were afraid of Satan who has power and authority to kill them, as Saul was. And all the children of Israel were in fear of Goliath who had the power and authority to kill them as well. Just as David came, who was one of the children of Israel, Christ also came and took our human nature and became one of us; He defeated Satan and freed us from the bondage of fear and death. “In as much then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” Heb.2:14-15
- David came forth with faith and trust in God’s power and not in his own strength. We are weak before Satan if we depend on our strength, but Satan is a weak and defeated enemy if we come to fight him based on the grace and power of Christ. David depended on his previous experience of God’s work with him when he killed the lion and the bear (1 Sam. 17:33-37). Indeed, David was a young shepherd and not a man of war like Goliath; but he had experience more valuable than experience of wars, which is the experience of God’s work and power. David failed to walk with armor when he put on Saul’s sword and a helmet of copper on his head; He tried to walk but could not. Thus, he took off the armor and put on his shepherd clothes, took his staff and not the sword. He chose 5 smooth stones from the brook, and put them in his shepherd’s bag. His sling was in his hand as he drew near to Goliath, who disdained him and cursed David by his gods. So, David said to Goliath with power and confidence, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you.” 1 Sam. 17:45-46 The war is for the Lord, “The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but deliverance is of the Lord.” Proverbs. 21:31. St. Paul the Apostle explained to us the dominion of evil over man saying, “But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” Rom. 7:23-24 Then he explained to us the victory mystery saying, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free form the law of sin and death.” Rom.8:2
- Goliath outwardly seemed strong, no one could defeat him, but David struck him in his weak point, “and struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth.” 1 Sam 17:49. Satan’s weak point is in his prideful thoughts and false promises. The one who overcomes Satan is the one who utilizes humility and trust in God; Christ defeated Satan with humility, “but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” Philip 2:7-8
Let us rejoice in Christ’s victory over Satan with His life-giving death and glorious resurrection, and let us live a new life represented by our powerful Christ; armed with His Grace in facing Satan’s wars and his evil thoughts.
We pray that our God grant us the joy and power of His resurrection and May the Lord bless your offerings for supporting Santa Verena’s charitable programs to bring joy to the needy and suffering. Many happy returns.