|Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes - Spiritual Nourishment for the Soul - August 2002||Last Modified August 5th, 2002|
Living As Christians
"God is Spirit: and they that worship Him mustOur Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ, by His Holy Glorious Resurrection, gave man inner spiritual life, taught us to worship Him, and to serve God ‘in spirit and in truth’. By this He meant that we are to serve Him with deeds, not imaginary deeds but real ones, and that only life ‘in the spirit’ is really effective life - this is an eternal reality. This is the essence of the true spiritual life that He desires us to possess. Divine life is love, and as long as man lives by this love he serves our great and loving God ‘in spirit and in truth.’ To love is natural to the human heart. We love all that is ours. We love what is near to us, and dear and precious. But this natural, innate love, in order to become spiritual love of God, has to become transfigured in many ways. Man needs first to love Christ our Savior, to enter into life with Him, have personal communion with Him, and constantly bear in his soul our Lord’s Bright and Holy image. Then from our Lord the streams of the water of life will flow into our hearts. With this water our naturally inclined love will be cleansed and washed, and will become Divine spiritual love, revealing God’s love toward man, in us. This Divine love toward man will wrest from our heart selfishness, pride and love of material things. These things and the desire for them are put to death in our hearts, our ego vanishes, and we are revived. After this personal, spiritual death, when we with the power of the Spirit kill in ourselves selfishness and pride, it becomes natural and possible for us to love our enemies. We will love them as children of God. This is the way in which Christian love causes a basic change in our personality, in our consciousness and our feelings, in the way we look upon life, on material things, and on the people who surround us, whether ‘family’ or ‘strangers’. Everything we consider ‘our own’ disappears in God’s love, for God encompasses all that is close to us and all this is not. The Christian will not wish for honors, riches, glory or power either for himself or for others. Instead, he will wish for spiritual treasures - peace, truth, holiness, and moral and spiritual beauty. In this way, the Christian ‘in spirit and in truth’ serves the Lord in both in his own life and in his dealings with others, on the basis of Divine Love. Let us humbly realize as Christians that no one can take away from us the love of our God. Instead, we are the ones who at times turn away from God and forget to love Him, as He loves us. It’s the same with the people we meet from day to day. If we do not love God, how can we expect to love our neighbor? Our daily Christian lives must be pierced with love, and the freedom that we experience in our spirit should always be directed by true Christian love. By this love we are completely changed, acquiring different feelings and different attitudes toward life, toward the universe and toward all people - close to us or not so close. What a blessing it will be for us to seek true Christian love, as we finally get on the right path towards spiritual perfection, peace, spiritual beauty and truth. It is essential that we keep in mind that this how we worship God in spirit. Our Lord God did not go to Golgotha to demand our worship and veneration, but to sacrifice Himself for us with love. When we are able to sacrifice ourselves for others then we serve God in truth and with great love. In doing this we should be sure that our prayers will not be mere exercises of the memory and mouth. Rather, that our whole soul, mind and heart really participate in our loving prayers. The teachings of our beloved Orthodox Church are only tools to help us in our efforts to really pray with our whole spirit. When our prayers are spirit-filled and spirit-directed we will also be able to serve our Lord in truth., fulfilling the Gospel requirement that we read earlier. In order to make our life whole we yearn, just like the Samaritan woman, for something higher and better than our everyday chores, obligations and desires. We have to be friendly and open hearted with one another, just like the Samaritan woman, who without hesitation received our Lord’s loving words with joy and understanding - and she loved mankind enough to share her experience with the rest of the people in her village. Let us love one another that we may confess: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one in essence and undivided. With love in Christ Our Lord, Humbly In Christ Our Lord, +Very Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes
worship Him in Spirit and in Truth" (St. John 4:24).
Who prays for you!
Content written/compiled by Reverend Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes.
(c)2002 Reverend Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes