- Yesterday’s gospel reading (John 17:1 – 13) is a culmination of a discourse given by Christ to his disciples at the Last Supper which effectively begins in chapter 13 with Jesus washing the feet of his disciples and ends with chapter 17. This lengthy discourse is extremely complicated and requires deep reflection. Yesterday’s 13 verses encompass so many themes but I will only focus on one: prayer.
- Prayer is a fundamental need for a Christian. Prayer permits communion with God. Communion permits a relationship of intimacy, intimacy leads to trust and trust leads to love. Without prayer you cannot be close to God. Without prayer the father cannot be close to you. If you do not pray you cannot be a Christian.
- There are two sorts of prayer. There is corporate prayer which we do when we gather in his name in church to celebrate the Eucharist. This prayer has a fixed text and is offered jointly between the priest and the people, for as Christ said “where there are two or three gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them.” So attending church is an act of prayer.
- Then there is another type of prayer. This is personal prayer. This involves personal communion and communication with God. It is this prayer that causes us great perplexity: what to say, and, how to say it causes consternation. That need not be so for Christ again directs us: “when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And in praying do not keep up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your father knows what you need before you ask him.” Christ then gives us the “Our Father” as a means of acceptable prayer.
- Within personal prayer there is also contemplative prayer. This prayer offered in silence involves a time for quiet reflection. During this prayer we think of our relationships to others and our relationship with God and ask whether we can be better, more loving, more compassionate and more giving and forgiving.
- Whatever prayer we do we are obliged at some point to stop and remain silent so that we can listen to the answer provided by God. Prayer is the right relationship between God and man and man and God. God answers prayer but the answer and the timing is God’s. We should remember always that how we see things is not the true way of things themselves. So, whatever happens in our life we should stand grateful before God. After all it is “thy will be done” and not ” my will be done.”
Around our church
- The program for this week is as follows: on Tuesday from 6:45 PM: adult Bible studies continue; on Saturday the 15thbeing All Souls, matins from 7:30 AM in Greek, divine liturgy in English. Please bring the names of those to be remembered on the Saturday of all souls as well as the traditional offering of kollivo.
- Do not forget we have our sweet/savoury stall next Sunday being the Sunday Pentecost. You can bring your items for sale on Saturday or Sunday morning.. Also tickets are on sale for our luncheon on 30 June. We look forward to your assistance and support in respect of both activities. We rely upon your financial assistance to continue the good work of St Nektarios.
- Do not forget to listen to 6 EBA FM (95.3 on the FM dial) on Tuesday between five and six when I present “the hour of orthodoxy”. This program is repeated on Thursday between 2 PM to 3 PM. On both days the program is life streamed on www.6eba.com.au
Thought of the week
- If you do not stand for anything you stand for nothing. If you are not true to yourself you cannot be true to others and if you do not respect yourself you cannot respect others. You see, love calls to commitment so without commitment love that last. You cannot be all things to all people no matter how hard you try. The same holds true for human relationships as well as our relationship with Christ. So to love Christ requires commitment, respect and belief.
Till next week.
Father John Athanasiou 0411 061 554