My biggest battle with death came when I was just a boy. My father faced a hopeless battle against cancer. Slowly, he was reduced from a giant of a man to someone who was frail and broken. His death left me empty, afraid and bitter! The perfect description of how I felt came the day we buried my father. It was a Saturday. The trip to the cemetery was on the same route that people were going to use for a parade just a few minutes after we passed. I sat in the back of the car with my family. We were all dressed in black. We mourned, but none of the people lining the streets for the parade were aware of what was happening to us, happening to me.
In the parable of the “Prodigal son” (Luke 15:11-32); the prodigal son went to a far country and there spent all that he had. A far country! This is the unique definition of our human condition today and from the time of our fall. A man who has never felt that he is exiled from God and from ‘real life’ will never understand what Christianity is about. “After our falling away from God the perturbation occurred that was bound to happen throughout the entire human composition — having been separated from God, the spirit lost its strength and submitted to the soul, and the soul, having not been elevated by the spirit, obeyed the body.”
“I will get up and go to my father” are the words of the Prodigal son; this is the experience of the resurrected life. The impact of repentance begins with man’s return to himself by means of the Holy Spirit, to discover he is in a state of hunger. He realizes the ego, the ‘I’, has knocked him down to the ground due to the void situation in himself. He realizes he has absolutely fallen to the ground, and has come to be under the judgment of eternal death. But the Holy Spirit uncovers his vision so that he sees in his Savior Jesus Christ, the risen from the dead “the, mystery of the resurrection”. Christ grants the dead ‘resurrection, so they live in the experience of His resurrected life’. Repentance is not a passive work. It is the means by which man discovers his drawbacks and even his absolute devastation; it is a positive job in which the Christian believer accepts his Christ as the mystery of his resurrection and his life, so that he lives all his estranged days experiencing the new life. He goes on from strength to strength, enjoying one glory after the next, and one grace in addition to the other. He is eager to reach the full measure of Christ (Eph.4: 13). Repentance is the practical blessing of the permanent resurrection.
Seeing the Unseen The Maze Runner A teenage boy wakes up in an ascending elevator with no recollection of his name, where he comes from, or where he is. When the elevator reaches the top, a door above him opens and he finds himself in a community of boys. Once a month the elevator (or … Continue reading Orthodox Study Journal~~Youth Issue 1/May 2018