Sermon by Archimandrite Luke
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ!
Our lord and Saviour came to renew, as he said, "Behold, I make all things new.” (Rev. 21:5). Renew that which was broken, united to darkness, ugly, disfigured. He came to renew, to make it what it was intended to be. To renew not just our soul but our character, our relationship to God and one an other.“I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10. By His grace the possibilities for our improvement are infinite, literarily divine.
On the other hand the enemy of Christ and our enemy the devil is determined to undo all that our Lord did for us, to manipulate the social forces around us. He distorts, disfigures, the soul, our character, our relationships, turning them into something ungodly, sinful, hellbent - to creat a new man not in the image of God but the image of Satan.
It is not necessary to describe in detail how this process is occurring. Anyone observing current events through the prism of the Gospel and a common sense Orthodox life style can clearly see this.
We have gathered here today in the grace of God not only to celebrate the greatest events in the life of our Saviour but also to recommit ourselves to Christian principles, to Christ Himself, and once again repeat our baptismal promise to renounce Satan, and all his angels, and all his works, and all his services, and all his pride. Let us imagine that we even now stand on trial before a God hating tribunal like only a few decades ago our brothers and sisters in the faith, the New Martyrs of Russia did and were forced to make a choice, to deny, compromise, or to remain faithful to Christ and His Church.
The lord said, " When I am lifted up from the earth [on the Cross] will draw all men to myself."- John 12:32 . Indeed He has drawn us to Himself, but to remain with Him daily and to the end is the struggle of our lifetime.
Once again the miracle of the myrrh streaming icon is among us. This living witness to the truth of Christ come into the world and the truth of our Orthodox Faith can either inspire and strength us or condemn us if we choose to ignore it by not taking it to heart.
With fear and trembling for our salvation let us now and in all circumstances repeat before the Cross and Tomb of our Saviour, the words of St John Chrysostomos, "I believe, O Lord, and I confess that Thou art truly the Christ, the Son of the Living God, Who camest into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief"