UNIQUE

We have all heard the phrase; God sure broke the mold when He made her! That has been used usually to describe some one that is a huge blessing in people’s lives, or occasionally describes someone just the opposite of a good blessing! If we take a minute to ponder on that statement, life sure would be boring if we were all the same or made identically from the same mold! We would have the same job, same hair, same clothes, same aches and pains, and same attitude and ambitions. Think about the traffic jams! And it sure would be hard to get a word in amongst ourselves, wouldn’t it?

As I boy I was given a set of metal molds that I poured goop in and then cooked this mold in an oven. Once cooked, I had made my very own plastic spiders and creepy crawlers. They were always identical in shape, size and the number of legs, and only differed in the color variations of the goop. Then of course once the creepy crawlers were done as any active loving boy would do, I hid the spiders and bugs around the house to await a surprise reaction from my older sisters!  

Thanks be to God, it is a safe assumption that we humans are all unique. Yes, He has made us either male or female with some basic similar needs but we are all created differently. After all, I am going to tell you right now, some of you would look kind of funny with a long, grey beard like mine! Now rest assured, we all have the very same Father and we have all received a gift of grace, but our gifts differ and are unique to us. [Eph. 4:7] This gift is given freely but it is geared towards building His Church and restoring everything to its incorrupt and natural state! (Eph 4:7-13) We are created to bring holiness into our little part of the world.

When our Lord entered the River of Jordan, He restored the water to its right relationship with God, pure as the Garden of Eden. His baptism was not to cleanse the Sinless One but to make the waters Holy! When we have our homes blessed with the water of Theophany, we too join our homes and families into a correct relationship seeking after the Kingdom of Heaven, cleansing it from all impurities. We drink the Holy Water to cleanse our bodies from the rancid world and everything that separates us from Christ!

In our baptism, Christ shares life eternal with us as He scrubs away our stains. Death for us has been defeated! Our Earthly death is now an entrance into life eternal. It is not what we deserve; it is what He desires for us. We seek to just make our daily lives a liturgy, glorifying our Creator.

St. John the Wonderworker of Shanghai and San Francisco writes: Now the Church consists of both her earthly and heavenly parts, for the Son of God came to earth and became man that He might lead man into heaven and make him once again a citizen of Paradise, returning to him his original state of sinlessness and wholeness and uniting him unto Himself. This is accomplished by the action of Divine grace granted through the Church, but man’s effort is also required. God saves His fallen creature by His own love for him, but man’s love for his Creator is also necessary; without it he cannot by saved. Striving towards God and cleaving unto the Lord by its humble love, the human soul obtains power to cleanse itself from sin and to strengthen itself for the struggle to complete victory over sin. “The Church as the Body of Christ,” Man of God: Saint John of Shanghai & San Francisco

Fr. Gabriel Weller 1-24-2021

Boy, Are You Coming?

Sitting at the supper table many moons ago, Grandma informed Granddad that there was a big wasp nest above the brooder house door. She had been busy that day making her newly arrived chicks happy, warm and safe. Granddad hurriedly finished his supper and looked at me asked: “Boy, are you coming?” He liked to call me “boy” to my Grandma’s disapprovement, but it made me feel like family, and loved with deep affection. We moved quickly to the chicken yard trying to beat sundown to the draw. Granddad stopped along the way and grabbed a ladder. I asked him if he needed some gas or diesel or hornet spray but he grinned and headed for the brooder house. He spotted the nest and climbed the rungs of the ladder and took his big, powerful hand and squished the nest and pulled it down. I know from the way my eyes felt that they were stretched wide open, from ear to ear. Swallowing hard, I asked if he had been stung because he was calm and did not flinch and inch! He grinned and said: “Yes, a time or two, but it was good for my arthritis! “

Granddad was focused and motivated to overcome the impediment that was tempting Grandma. He had many struggles in life including the Great Depression and loss of his first wife after the birth of his third child. He toiled the Earth by day and milked his Holsteins before sunup and again before dark each and every day, and then spent his evening reading his bible and preparing a lesson for his Men’s Sunday school class that he taught for 40 years.

If we take time to think about our parents and grandparents and the enormous challenges they faced with the 10 year depression, world wars, new diseases and oppression, just to name a few,  we should find hope in that they may have been wounded or bruised by life, but they stayed focused and moved forward. It was their time, life has a limit! Granddad would tell you, you have to make hay when the sun is shining. Every single day, the cows had to be milked twice and all the animals had to be fed and watered, there were no excuses. It didn’t matter how life had beat you up that day, these things had to be done!   

We heard ringing in our ears today with these clear inductions in the Gospel reading: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” (Mark 1:3) This should be our daily routine! No matter what else is in your path, each and every day you must enrich your heart with His living blood, transforming yourself into a temple of God. I ask you, are you satisfied with whom you have become or are you remodeling your life to be more like His? Remodeling is hard work; sometimes you need the sledgehammer and a lot of perspiration and blisters!  It is your time, life has a limit!

Sometimes it takes climbing the ladder rungs amongst the stingers, and squishing the obstacles that hinder your progress. We cannot become complacent and allow our guard to drop. We are taught by our forefathers of our Holy Church: that the devil always takes advantage of times of challenge to sow discord and confusion, which lead man into yet greater sorrows and further away from the bosom of Abraham. (1 Peter 5:8, Luke 16:19-31) We simply forget to daily supply our animal its’ nourishment. We starve our soul and dehydrate our brains with worldly cares. We allow the plagues of anger and laziness to rot away at our eternity, placing us in years of depression. We allow the stinger, the fear, to be powerful and crippling instead of a blessing. I pray that you too are focused and motivated and that you will be wide-eyed enough to see His glory, and each and every day, pick up your cross and follow Him!

Boy, Are You Coming?

Fr. Gabriel Weller 1-17-2021