суббота, 16 октября 2010 г.

THE KINGDOM OF GOD. +

Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh
                     THE KINGDOM OF GOD
                           1972
                           ----

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

I  should  like  to  begin  with  a  short  reading  from  the book of
Revelation, chapters 21 and 22: «I heard a great voice from the throne
saying,  'Behold,  the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with
them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be with them;
He  will  wipe  away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no
more,  neither  shall there be mourning nor crying, nor pain any more,
for  the  former  things  have  passed  away.' And He who sat upon the
throne  said,  'Behold,  I  make all things new.' Also He said, 'Write
this,  for  these  words  are  truthworthy and true... He who conquers
shall  have  this  heritage,  and I will be his God and he shall be my
son...'  'I,  Jesus, have sent my angel to you with this testimony for
the  churches.  I  am  the root and the offspring of David, the bright
morning  star.'  The Spirit and the Bride say, 'Come'. And let him who
hears say 'Come'. And let him who is thirsty come, let him who desires
take  the  water  of life without price. ... He who testifies to these
things  says,  'Surely, I am coming soon.' Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The
grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen».

This  is  the great expectation, but this is not only expectation. The
Kingdom  of God which is to come has also come with power. He has come
in  many  places,  into  many hearts, into many families, in an almost
unnoticeable  way, surreptitiously, like a thief at the dead of night.
The  Kingdom  has come into human relationships with a new recognition
of  men,  with  a  new  dimension of love, the sacrificial love of the
living  God.  So  the  Kingdom is within us, and the Kingdom is in our
midst.  All  things  are on their way into our hearts, into our minds,
into  our  lives,  into  our  will,  conquering  everything  in us. So
embodied God is at work. He conquers, and He shall conquer.

But  if  we  are  His  own people, if we are the people of God, we are
called  not  only  to  be the objects of salvation, not only to be the
recipients  of  grace,  not  only  to  be  conquered,  but we have the
privilege  of  being the elect of God, the chosen of God who may serve
His  purpose.  We  are  the people of God whom He can trust because we
know  Him,
because we worship Him in reverence and in faithfulness, to
whom  He  can  say  «Go»  and  who shall go; «Die», and who shall die;
«Live», and who shall live.


And at the heart of this mission of ours there are words which we have
heard   twice   in   the  course  of  this  week  at  two  eucharistic
celebrations:  «Do  this  in remembrance of me». And doing this in the
context  of our Sacred Liturgies, in the dividedness of the historical
Christendom,  we have been painfully aware of separation while we were
amazingly aware of closeness. Is there a point where within these very
words,  «Do  this in remembrance of me», we can be even closer than we
imagine, even if we do not break the bread together nor share the same
cup?  May  I  venture to say that I believe we are a great deal closer
than we imagine.

When  we  apply these words to the bread broken and to the cup shared,
we  think  in  liturgical terms; and we forget that at the Last Supper
these words and this gesture stood for more than an act of fellowship,
more  than  for a ritual. The bread broken was an image of the Body of
Christ  broken  for  the salvation of the world. The cup shared was an
image  of  the  Blood  of Christ spent for the life of the world. Both
stood   for  divine  love  that  has  become  incarnate  in  order  to
participate  in  all  the  tragedy of mankind in an act of perfect and
crucifying  solidarity  that  mankind may be saved. And this means all
men, beginning with the faithful, as St. Paul says.

Beyond   the   boundaries  of  the  liturgical  action  there  is  the
existential  doing, all the things for which the breaking of bread and
the sharing of the cup stand. They stand for the act of Incarnation in
which  God  unites  Himself  to  man,  and indeed to the whole cosmos,
taking  upon  Himself  all the destiny of mankind, identifying Himself
not  only  with His creature but with His fallen creature, and all the
conditions  of  man,  not  only to the point of life and preaching and
ministering,  not only to the point of physical death but to the point
of sharing with men the only basic tragedy of mankind: the loss of God
-  «My  God,  my  God,  why hast Thou forsaken me?» - that loss of God
which  is  the beginning of mortality, that loss of God that kills and
that  killed.  The  Son  of God became the Son of Man in His humanity.
They  stand  for  that solidarity of God with us which is expressed in
the anguish of the Garden of Gethsemane when Christ was facing death -
a  death which had nothing to do with Him because He was life, a death
which  could  not be inflicted on Him because He says Himself that the
prince  of  this world will find nothing in Him that belongs to him, a
death  which  was  a free gift of His life, a death which is all death
accepted  and  shared  by  Him  who  could not die. They stand for the
Crucifixion, the physical experience of the immortal sharing the death
of  His  creature,  of  Him  who  was  the  Son  of  God, in an act of
incredible solidarity, losing the sense of His oneness with the Father
and  dying  of  it.  That  is what this breaking of the bread and this
sharing of the cup stand for.

This,  indeed,  we  can do in remembrance of Him together, without any
separateness, in the historical Christian body. This we can do; we can
be  incarnate,  take  on  the  flesh of this tragic world upon us, and
carry  its sin as a cross. We can identify with the death of the dying
and  the  suffering  of the sufferer, as Christ on the Mount of Olives
facing  an alien death in His own flesh in an act of compassion in the
strongest  sense  of the word, of solidarity that goes to the point of
identification and substitution. We can face together living and dying
- dying physically, dying in health but also dying in that act of love
which  is a final, total, ultimate renunciation to all that is for the
sake of the other.

And  we hear the word addressed to us: «Do this in remembrance of me.»
Even  if  we  cannot share liturgically the bread and the wine, we can
share  fully  and  completely what it stands for and be inseparable in
the mystery of faith. The Lamb of God is broken and distributed, which
though  ever broken, never is divided, says the Orthodox liturgy. This
we can achieve beyond all separations through such union, oneness with
Christ, in one body broken, in one blood shed for the salvation of the
world.

How wonderful it is to discover this! And this is truly and actually a
liturgical  action  because  the  priest is defined by the offering he
brings,  and  all  universal  priesthood is defined by the offering we
bring  of  our  souls  and  our bodies, of ourselves and our lives, of
those whom we love - to be an act comparable and identifiable, indeed,
with  this  act  of  divine  incarnation,  of  divine  life, of divine
sacrifice.  Sacrifice means both shedding of blood and becoming wholly
God's  own,  sharing His life because we will have shared His death in
our hearts, in our bodies.

So  let  us both grieve at the fact that our unity cannot be expressed
to  the  full because we are not yet mature in love, we are not mature
in  understanding.  But let us rejoice and thank God that we cannot be
separated  either from Him or from one another in the mystery which is
defined  by  these  wholly tragic and victorious conquering liturgical
words, «Do this in remembrance of me».

Let us pray.

Oh  Christ,  who  didst bind Thy Apostles in a union of love, unite us
likewise,  Thy  sinful  but  trusting servants, and bind us forever to
thee  and  to  one another. Give us bearing and strength to fulfil Thy
commandments  and  truly  to  love  one  another.  Oh Christ, our God,
through  the  Father and the Holy Spirit, who livest and reignest, one
God, world without end. Amen.

                          ----

 * All texts are copyright: Estate of Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh

           Metropolitan Anthony of  Sourozh Library
                   http://www.mitras.ru/eng/

среда, 13 октября 2010 г.

среда, 6 октября 2010 г.

А Я сказал: напрасно Я трудился, ни на что и вотще истощал силу Свою.

 А Я сказал: напрасно Я трудился, ни на что и вотще истощал силу
Свою. Но Мое право у Господа, и награда Моя у Бога Моего.
   Книга пророка Исаии 49:4



Пророк Исайя вкладывает в уста Мессии слова о поражении, о том, что дело Мессии оканчивается провалом. Но именно так выглядит с человеческой точки зрения евангельская история. Христос проповедует удивительные вещи, привлекает к Себе учеников... Но слово Его отвергнуто, ученики разбегаются, а Сам Он погибает позорной смертью рабов и бандитов. Все те, кто исцелялся и воскресал, кто пользовался дарами Христа, остаются где-то за кадром, и все Его труды уходят в песок. И то же самое мы век за веком наблюдаем в истории Его учеников. Все, что они пытаются построить, рушится и становится добычей всепожирающего времени. Но это с человеческой точки зрения. Пророк Исайя прозревает самое главное: во Христе Сам Бог входит в мир, и поэтому происходит чудо. Мессия, миссия Которого провалилась, воскрес — и потому победил. Так побеждает Бог.


http://www.bible-center.ru/note/20101007/main

суббота, 2 октября 2010 г.

Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh. THE GOSPEL

           Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh
                        THE GOSPEL
                      1 March 1989
                           ----

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

It  is  of  the  Gospel  that  I  wish  to  say a few words to you. In
countries  that  are  nominally Christian or allegedly Christian it is
very  difficult  for one to recapture the true meaning of the word and
of  the event of the Gospel. What is the Good News? What is new in it?
What  is  good  in  it? Those of us who discovered the Gospel as a new
life may perhaps feel that more intensely whether we are people of the
East  or people of the West. What is news? O, something very wonderful
and very simple - it is life but only those who were ill can know what
it  means to be whole, only those who were dead can appreciate what it
means to be alive.

In  one  of his broadcasts in 1943 C.S.Lewis said, “What should happen
to  those  who meet a Christian, a believer? They should stop arrested
by  what  they  see and exclaim, “Lo, a statue has come to life!” That
is, something that was nothing but stone, beautiful or not, but inert,
insensitive,  which  could not hear or speak, of a sudden has become a
living being. Can you imagine what would happen to people if all of us
who  call  ourselves  by  the  name  of  Christ  were such that people
encountering  us should say, “Look, this is a living being and because
I  have  met him or her I understand now that I don’t know yet what it
means  to be alive. I am a corpse, I am half dead, there is no life in
me, and in these people there is life.”

I  would like to single out a few elements of newness also in what one
may  discover  in  the Gospel and to do this, I am afraid, I will be a
little  too  personal  for  the  taste  of  Britain. I was baptised an
Orthodox  when  I  was  a child but then the first World War came, the
revolution   came,   the  bitter  and  hungry  and  painful  years  of
emigration.  And  there  was  no  time  for  me to receive any kind of
religious  education  so  that  God did not exist for me. I was not an
atheist  by  conviction (one is not an atheist at the age of 7 and 10,
and  12, and 15) but I was an atheist in the truer sense of the word -
there  was  no  God in my experience, no God in my life. And therefore
there  was  no  ultimate  meaning  in my life, all the meaning of life
could  be  summed up in the necessity of survival. There was no common
roof  for  my  parents  and  me, there was food when it happened to be
there  and  there was a great deal of violence and hardship around. So
that  all  my  vision  of  life  was  that  of  a  struggle and all my
understanding  of  people  around  me  was that of a jungle peopled by
prospective enemies.

And then one day I happened to read the Gospel. It happened by the act
of God as it were because it happened in order for me to discard it. I
heard  a priest speak to us, boys, in a youth organisation and what he
said  shocked  me, revolted me so much that I decided to check whether
what  he had said could possibly be true. We were teenagers, preparing
to  re-conquer  Russia  sword  in hand and here was a man who spoke of
Christ  and  spoke  of  nothing  but  meekness, humility, forbearance,
turning one cheek when one was hit on the other, giving us an image of
what  was  no manly. I came home determined to make sure and to finish
with  the Gospel if that was the Gospel and that was Christ. I counted
the  chapters  of  the  Gospels because as I expected no good from the
reading  I  thought  that  the shortest would be the best and so I was
landed  with  St.  Mark’s  Gospel, a Gospel written for young ruffians
like me, the youth of pre-Christian Rome.

And  then something happened to me which you may interpret either as a
hallucination or as a gift of God - between the beginning of the first
and the end of the second chapter of his Gospel, of St. Mark’s Gospel,
I  suddenly  became  aware  with total, absolute certainty that on the
other side of the desk the Lord Jesus Christ was standing alive. There
was  no  hallucination  of  the senses - I heard nothing, saw nothing,
smelt  nothing,  I  looked  and  my certainty remained as total and as
totally  convincing.  And then I thought that if Christ is alive, if I
am in his presence, then the man who died on Calvary was truly what is
purported him to be, the man who died on Calvary was God come to us as
a Savour.

And  then I began to read the Gospel with new eyes in a different way.
I  turned  pages simply to read other passages than the one I had read
about  the  beginnings  and  I  landed  on  a passage that said in St.
Matthew’s Gospel that God shines his light upon the good and the evil.
And  I  sat  back  and I thought, “All my life I’ve been surrounded by
people  whom  I  considered  as enemies, who to me were like beasts of
prey,  people  of  whom  I  was  terrified and whom I wanted to fight,
people  who  had taught me that the only way of survival was to become
as  hard  as  nails - and God loves them all. And if I want to be with
God  I must learn to love them whatever they may do to me because if I
reject  them  I will not be with God, I will not be with Christ who on
being  crucified said, “Father, forgive, they don’t know what they are
doing.”  Who  said  to  Judas who had come to betray him, “Friend, why
thou hast come hither?” I did not know these examples but that is what
I perceived.

And  I  remember coming out into the street the next morning, going to
the  suburban  train  that  will  bring  me to my school and crowds of
people  to  their  work  and I looked round at all these people moving
towards  the  station  that  had  been  so  alien,  that  were  to  me
prospective  danger,  tormentors, enemies, whom I wanted to ignore and
fight if necessary, I looked at them and thought, “God loves them all!
O,  the  wonder!  -  we are in a world of love. Whatever they may feel
about  me I know what they may not know themselves”. This was my first
experience,  this  was  a moment when I suddenly felt that I was alive
and that I had been dead. I had been a corpse among corpses, now I was
alive  among  people  who,  who knows, perhaps were as alive as I, or,
horror of horrors, were corpses that needed come to life. And with the
foolishness  of  a  boy  of  14-15,  pressed in these carriages of the
suburban  train I turned to my neighbour and said, “Have you ever read
the  Gospel?” He looked at me condescendly, smiled and said, ‘Now, why
should I?” And then I told him what I had just discovered. He probably
thought  I  was  mad.  And  I  was and I am still and I hope that this
madness  will  never  leave  me because from that moment onward I felt
there was no point in life except in whatever way of life, in whatever
walk  of life you are to proclaim the Gospel, to proclaim this miracle
that  the Gospel is a power of life, that Christ can give us life. And
by  contrast  that  as  long as we are not possessed of the life which
Christ can give we are dead whatever we imagine.

And  then  I  discovered other things. I discovered the parable of the
prodigal  son  and  that  was such a wonderful experience because that
corroborated  what  I  have  felt within myself. Twice does the father
say, “My son, your brother was dead and he is now alive.” He says that
to  the servants, he says that to the older son, he knew what it meant
to  be  alive,  and he knew what it meant to be dead. The prodigal son
knew also what it meant to die and to resurrect. He was partaker after
a  fashion  in  the  experience  of Lazarus who had come to life after
having,  tasted  death.  The  older  son  did  not  know  that, in his
imagination his younger brother had gone into the far country, enjoyed
life  seeing things which he, faithful servant, slave, hireling of his
father, had never seen. Perhaps was he jealous of him but he certainly
did  not  feel  that  he  missed or had lost anything. And so what was
there  to  be  rejoiced  at when he came back? And why was it that the
father  was  so happy to see him back instead of saying, “No, you have
squandered  all  my  goods,  go and earn your living.” He did not know
what it meant to be dead because he had never been alive.

And  then I discovered something more. I discovered an answer (o, that
didn’t  come immediately) to a question that puzzled me - how could it
be  that  God could know what it means to be a creature? How could the
Immortal One know what it means to be dead? What could the Eternal One
know  how  one  can  lose even the transitory, ephemeral life which is
ours?  And  then I realised that God in his Incarnation had become one
with  our  creatureliness,  he  had  not only a human body and a human
soul,  he  had  inherited this body and soul from generations back, he
was the heir of centuries and centuries of humanity, of real, concrete
people.  He  was  true man, the only true man because to be a true man
means  to  be  a  man  in perfect oneness with God, partaker of divine
nature,  as  Peter  the  Apostle  puts it in his Epistle. The union of
divinity  and  humanity  had made his humanity not less human but more
truly  human.  He knew what it meant to be a human being, he knew what
it meant to be alive. Did he know what it meant to be dead?

Later  I discovered the Cross. On the same evening, turning pages (the
way  I  put it now of course could not have been the thing I perceived
and  put it when I was a boy in my middle teens) what I discovered was
this  - that Christ had chosen as it were simultaneously to be totally
solid  with  God  and  totally solid with man, at one with God, at one
with  man.  And  that  had  two tragic consequences - because he stood
before  man  in  God’s name, in total solidarity with him, without any
compromise,  he  had  become  inacceptable  to  all those who were not
prepared  to  accept God on his terms, on God’s own terms, to be God’s
own  people  in a real full, sacrificial, heroic sense. And because he
has chosen to remain in total, ultimate solidarity with man before the
face  of God he had to share with mankind all the predicament of being
a  creature, of living in fallen world, of being a man who had brought
through  sin  mortality  and  death.  And  so he had to be rejected by
mankind, he had to die outside of the city of men as the Anglican hymn
has  it  “on the little hill without the walls,” not within Jerusalem,
not  within  the company of men, outside, like the scrape-goat who was
loaded with the sins of Israel and cast out to die in the wilderness.

On  the  other  hand  he  could  not  die because in his very humanity
inseparably,  perfectly  united to his divinity there was no space for
dying  and  yet,  he chose to share with us the only ultimately tragic
predicament  of mankind - He chose mortality and death and this he did
on  the  Cross, something happened that he became unaware of his unity
with the Father and having lost God he had to die, he could die and he
could  go  down  into  the  pit, into the Hades, into sheol of the Old
Testament,  the place of the irremediable and ultimate separation from
God.  He came down into it as a man and he filled it with the glory of
his  divine  presence,  harrowing  hell,  making  an end to it. He had
united God and man in his person, he called every human being to unite
himself  to  him  and through him to become the son or the daughter of
God. What a marvel, what a wonder!

That is what the Gospel meant to me when I began to discover it. And I
ask  you  to  look  at  it  with  the eyes of one who was alien to the
Gospel,  who knew nothing about it and to ask yourself, “What is there
in  the  Gospel  which  is new to you, not yet ever experienced, never
known and what is in the Gospel which is so good that one can turn...

                          ----

 * All texts are copyright: Estate of Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh

           Metropolitan Anthony of  Sourozh Library
                   http://www.mitras.ru/eng/