The Reading from the Second Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians 6:1-10
In today’s epistle reading we hear these words “Brethren, working together with Him, then, we entreat you not to accept the grace of God in vain. For He says, “At the acceptable time I have listened to you, and helped you on the day of salvation.” Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”
One of the realities of our life is change. From the moment we are born into this world, our bodies change. The people around us are all changing. It is also true that our spiritual status is not static. It is always changing. Unlike some Christian groups, we never ever imagine that our standing with God is solid today just because it was solid yesterday. As Christians we have a relationship with God and this relationship is not static. God’s love is constant but we are always either getting closer or moving further away from God. It is not unlike getting married.
When you meet a nice man or woman you decide that you want to get to know them better. You court one another, you spend time together, you share your hopes and dreams and fears. You love one another and you get married. Now that we are married should we assume that we no longer have to work on this relationship? To ignore your spouse at this point would have tragic consequences. It is the same for us in our walk of faith. If I ignore my relationship with Jesus Christ, it is not that Christ will divorce Himself from me. It is that I have divorced myself from Him.
We have many people who are consistently living a life divorced from God. Either they do not pray daily. They do not come to the Church, even semi-regularly. They do not receive communion. They do not give a generous offering of the things that God has given them. They do not take care of the poor. They do not read the word of God and study it the way they study the stock market or romance novels.
Everything in life is constantly changing. We woke up this morning, we may not wake up tomorrow morning. This is why the Apostle says “NOW is the day of salvation!” Now is the time to repent. Now is the time to seek God the way we seek all kinds of other treasures. He is not far away, He is close. If we don’t make Him a priority then we do what the Apostle Paul warns us against. We are taking the grace of God in vain. God has come near to us as a free gift. But we won’t be able to stand at the judgment if we don’t pursue the knowledge of God and the life of holiness.
Everything is constantly changing. The planets never stay in one place. People move in and out of our lives. But the love of God is truly constant. I would like to challenge you to take one concrete step this week to get closer to God in your daily life. Perhaps you will spend 5 minutes reading Scripture before you turn on your phone or computer or radio. Perhaps you will increase your giving to the Church while reducing your budget for non-essentials. Perhaps you will choose the next book you read based on the recommendations of the priest. Perhaps you will listen to Orthodox Christians sermons or podcasts while you walk or drive in the car. Perhaps you will shut off the tv and devote time to prayer before bed.
These small steps may seem like chores at first, but I promise you, they are gifts. God wants to have a relationship with you now, not tomorrow. Tomorrow is always around the corner, but it offers nothing for today. “Now is the acceptable time, Now is the day of salvation!”
As we see things changing around us, let’s be confident that God is with us through all of this. He hears our prayers and supplies what we need more than what we want. More than anything He offers you this day as a gift and a chance to draw near to Him. May God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit give you new life daily. May you receive strength and sanctity. May you receive great joy!
And Glory be to God forever AMEN.