FOLLOW THE LEADER

It wasn’t that long ago that I enjoyed playing a game called “follow the leader.” I was a bit smaller and a lot more flexible back then. My friends and I would take turns setting out on a new adventure adding stunts like hopping on one foot, crawling under obstacles like the dining room table, walking backwards and one time, blind-folding each other and using our ears to try a imitate the leader. I believe I cracked my head on something that time!

 

This game was a good experience for me in life as I quickly learned by example, watching and listening as my sponge-like brain gained knowledge. If you want to learn how to do something, watch how others do it. When I later started my professional life, I was put with a senior technician and was told to try to be like him, or hopefully for the most part, maybe without the grumpiness and the grumbling!

 

And as I later became a senior tech, the boss started to put newbie’s with me. Some of these folks were really sheltered when it came to working with their hands and even working with the simplest of tools. I watched many a new-hire drilling holes with the drill in reverse but over time and with plenty of examples and patience, they started to imitate what a good technician was capable of!

 

Well it mostly comes down to how good a teacher the leader is. And of course in life, we come to realize that not every leader is setting a good example. In our maturing in life, we usually all go through times of rebellion and choosing to follow corrupt leaders in our days of demi-godness. But when our mortality becomes clear and we realize we have been wasting our time away after things of this world, we look for examples that help as we try to become more like God and as we seek eternal life. I have heard it said that there are no such things as atheists, only people not wanting the God they have seen exemplified in us!

 

How can we be a better icon of Christ? We hear in the Gospel reading our Leader inviting us to: “Come after Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” [Mt. 4:19] And then later in His teachings He defines what we need to do: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of the heavens. Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall find mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are they who have been persecuted on account of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of the heavens. Blessed are ye whenever they reproach you and persecute you, and say every evil word against you falsely on account of Me. Be rejoicing and be exceedingly glad, for your reward is great in the heavens, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. [Mt. 5:1-12]

 

So there you go, follow that leader! Perhaps if your priest was a better example of Christ and followed His teachings faithfully, you too would be a better icon of the One who loves! Please pray for me a sinner!

Fr. Gabriel Weller 6-10-2018

IT’S A FAMILY TRADITION

I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. (Ex 20:2-5) … for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God.

 

We here that echoed from the Apostle Matthew: “The one who loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and the one who loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” [Mt 10:37] Some of us parents sometime struggle to remember that our kids are His kids first and ours just for a short time and we shouldn’t put them on a king’s throne but instead on a path to righteousness. And by setting God as our true Father, we are to honor our human mother and father with respect but with the realization that we do not belong to this world. And in all of our busyness we and our family need to continue to snuggle closer to God, our refuge and fortress. (Psalm 91:2)

 

We set a tradition for our children by the way we prioritize our faith practice at home and here in the church. They see how we stand fast during the storms of life and how we practice forgiveness and forbearance in all of our relationships with other icons of Christ. They hear how we lift up our brothers and sisters who are struggling and not gossip about them. We take time to sit down and eat as a family and to begin before each meal with a prayer offering of thanksgiving? A family that prays together stays together! We set God as a priority when we study our bible more than our social media devises, and we make time to help our neighbors in need.

 

“Lord, I am not fit that Thou shouldest come under my roof.” [Mt. 8:8] How to we become holy? For me, that is a huge task! A sales person once asked me:”How do you eat an elephant?” And as I contemplated that enormous task, they responded: “One bite at a time!” And so it is with our becoming a saint and a bright reflection of the Christ who showed us how to be saintly. We need to continue moving in the direction of holiness one bite at a time, decreasing in our self-centeredness out of our love for Christ. It is a decision to seek after an eternal life and not the death of sin.

 

 

You and I are sales people for the Kingdom of God! You know I have never purchased anything from a salesperson who did not believe in what they were selling. How convincing are you? It takes practice to close the deal: prayer, fasting, study, attendance, tithing, and loving. It takes us realizing that our time in this body is short lived and we had better get busy!

 

The Maker of heaven and earth puts people on our path every day; close the deal! I am not asking you to drag them to church but I am asking you to love them in a Godly way. That effort will build His church! You don’t need to be a scholar or a people-person but all you need is to take time in your busyness to share a little of your light with another person. You have to care! Love thy neighbor as thyself! It’s our path to becoming a Saint! It’s another one of our Family’s Tradition!

 

Fr. Gabriel Weller 6-20-18