Once when I was a theology student in Paris I went to my spiritual father and complained to him about my burdens. He said to me, “Why are you sad? Have you forgotten that Christ is risen?”
The meaning of this is that Christ is master over all our personal life and our life in the world and that we do not keep His resurrection in the church, limited by its stones. Christ is alive: He gives us life. He raises each of us from our misery and our grief. Christ enters into the sorrowing heart and not only inside the walls of the church.
If we truly have the conviction that Jesus is all of life, we will not sorrow. I will dare to say that you will not die. You will die outwardly in the body, but you will live forever because He is alive.
The philosopher Nietzsche said, “Show me that you are alive so that I might believe in your Christ. Show me that you are saved so that I might believe in your savior.” You do not need to evangelize with words. This is a duty, but what is required of us that we evangelize through the new life that is in each one of us. One who is weighed down under the pressure of our sorrows cannot evangelize. One who abides in sin does not evangelize. Only the repentant evangelizes because he is alive.
I hope that my Orthodox brothers will not limit their joy to their liturgical services. They do not own these services. If they do not transform within us into a new life for each one of us and through us renew all people, then we are nothing.
It sometimes annoys me that members of our church extoll the beauty of their services even though some of them are not alive. Only chants. If they do not transform into a new life that raises each of us from our burdens, they are nothing. Let us all go to a new life that triumphs over our sorrows in the family, in the nation, and in our private affairs. Those who do not believe that Christ is alive now, and not just two thousand years ago, and who do not believe that He gives them life personally, with their families and children, have said that Christ is mentioned in books. Christ is not in books. He is in your actions, in your hearts, in your eyes. If you do not accept this, then He is a person who died two thousand years ago. Christ is alive. Understand this. Think about this deeply. Live on the basis of this. You will have life.
It is my firm conviction that Christians are not sufficiently active in this country because they do not believe. They chant. The Orthodox especially love chant. Do you want chant? You want chant in order to enjoy it. But you should want chant in order to live by your deeds and not by your thinking, in all your life in all your faith. If we do not attain this, then we are nothing. We are a sect that sings its hymns. But this is not enough. Christ must be alive in each of us, changing our deeds and our thoughts, renewing us.
If we do not make Christ our entire life, we are nothing and the country will not live. It first of all lives in those who believe in Jesus. You are nothing if you do not give Jesus to people. This is in your life, in your behavior, in your purity. I have not seen many Christians who believe in true, perfect purity that governs their behavior. They only speak of lofty principles.
When Christianity arose and spread among the pagan world, Christians were few and the pagans said “see how they love one another.” If someone came to this country from the outside and saw the Christians, would he be able to say these words: “Look how much those people love one another.” If we do not act in this way, then we remain a sect, not a church. A sect means a sociological group that is counted within the Lebanese system. If we do not truly become the Church of God, an illuminating beacon that conquers history, from which people benefit and go mad with Christianity, then we are only a sect in the census. However, the call to each one of us is to become great in Christ Jesus.
April 19, 2015