In this video, Fr. Barnabas talks about Lent as a time of focusing on the essentials: “There is a death involved in following Jesus Christ, it’s the death of short-sightedness, it’s the death of your slavery to your passions, it’s to death to the false and foolish notion that I can just live with just my attentiveness at the end of my nose… It is the death of shallowness!”
Fr. Barnabas Powell is the parish priest at Sts. Raphael, Nicholas, and Irene Greek Orthodox Church in Cumming, GA. Follow his homilies on YouTube at Faith Encouraged TV. This sermon was delivered on March 19th, 2023. Watch the full video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Le9vIoUMkFk
I was blessed to be with my daughter yesterday at the cheerleading competition.
Moms and dads were there and they were all wearing t-shirts “I’m a cheer dad”, “I’m a cheer mom”, and I thought to myself, “how wonderful and yet how dangerous that frivolity can take the place of substance in our lives.” That which is truly frothy and a smoke, a mist, here today and gone tomorrow can con us into believing that that is what’s most important in our lives…
Did you know that in the United States of America the number one reason why church attendance has gone down in the last 30 years, do you know what it is?
That’s why people aren’t going to church on Sunday mornings: there’s a volleyball game, there’s a soccer game, there’s a tournament, there’s a… there’s a… there’s a softball tournament, my kid is on the travel team… and blah, blah, blah… Lovely… And yet when I put Services during the week so that you could come and while you’re not traveling, somehow: “Well, Father, I meant to…” Someone asked me, they said: “Father, why are you wearing a wood cross now instead of a metal cross?” I said: “because it’s Lent, the metal cross is for the Feast of the Resurrection. The wood cross is what we wear during these times of focused
attentiveness on that which is most important.”
The Church gives us the Cross to look at on this day to remind us of the words of Jesus that no one can be His disciple unless you’re willing to die. Some were willing to die literally, but make no mistake my brothers and sisters, the call of Jesus Christ to true discipleship and I’m not talking about the Christianity that treats Christianity some kind of decoration to your life or: “Isn’t this nice? This is part of my life… I’m a Christian!” Oh, you are! Lovely! Good! Begin to be one then!
But there is a death involved in following Jesus Christ, it’s the death of short-sightedness, it’s the death of your slavery to your passions, it’s to death to the false and foolish notion that I can just live with just my attentiveness at the end of my nose, what do I feel like right now… No! It is the death of shallowness!