Peace to you, beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The “green time” of the church calendar has begun, and we would like to bring to your attention an excerpt from the sermon of priest Pavel Zayakin:
It seems like a long time ago on Sunday the altar wasn’t green, right? But this is the “ordinary time.” The ordinary time of the church calendar. “Ordinary” doesn’t mean “boring.” You know that a large number of parishioners visit church only on her festivals. Sometimes they even call the priests on the phone and ask when the next festival will be. It is more interesting, of course, to come to church for a festival, because these “ordinary Sundays” are quite “boring.”
So, if you like, liturgical green is the color of boredom. Boring time of the church calendar.
What? You don’t think so? You think there can’t be boring Sundays in church? Well… I don’t know. For example, I often read boring sermons. And if I were a “dynamic preacher,” then perhaps more people would come to church. After all, people are more willing to go where it is fun and entertainment.
And the Lord also gives us very boring holy gifts during this green time. We come to church, confess our sins boringly, receive boring forgiveness, and then hear a boring word and partake of a boring sacrament.
What? You don’t think so? Of course! I don’t think so either! Because God’s gifts can’t be boring. His gifts are always salvific for us sinners. And if we refuse these gifts, if we do not go to church, it means, most likely, we simply do not believe in this God, so we are unbelievers.
Yes, humans willingly go where it is entertainment. Where something unusual is happening. If somewhere someone rises from the dead (from Luke 16:31), we would certainly run there.
You know, seriously, liturgical green is not the color of boredom. This is the color of growth. The color of growth in the Church. Just as after a long winter, everything in Siberia turns green and begins to grow, so you and I, after almost one and a half months of Great Lent, after the painful Calvary path of Holy Week and the glorious Christ’s Resurrection, we followed the apostles to His ascension. And Christ ascended into Heaven, and we heard His wonderful words, “I will never leave you nor forsake you… I am with you always, to the end of the age” (from Heb. 13:5 and Mt. 28:20).
And then we waited for the Comforter promised to the apostles, the Holy Spirit, Who descended on the day of Pentecost – not for individual followers, but for several thousand people who were added to the Church through the baptism (Acts 2:41). To the one holy Church that unites people through the Word and sacraments. To the love of God that unites us. And the last festival, the day of the Holy Trinity, we celebrated previous Sunday, hearing about the mystery of the Triune God, revealed to us in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, which once sounded over each of us, when in the sacrament of baptism we were cleansed from sin and became Christians…
And now, these festivals are over. Today is the first Sunday after Trinity. We entered the green time of the calendar, a time when week after week, Sunday after Sunday, the Church will reveal to us the truths of the Gospel, will instruct us in the Christian faith.
And so it will be until Advent – we will receive instruction in the church, we will take communion and keep a close watch on ourselves and on the doctrine (1Tim. 4:16). And we will learn to love one another – learn from Christ, Who loved us to the point of death, even death on a cross (Philip. 2:8).
And therefore it is no coincidence that today, on the first Sunday after Trinity, we read from Scripture about this very love: God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him (1 John 4:16).
God’s love is His death for us; remember it is in the Song of Songs: “for love is strong as death” (Song 8:6). And God’s love is His life among us now. And He, giving us Himself, teaches us to do the same. No, well, that is, not quite the same. We don’t have to die for all of humanity. And this is beyond our capacity. But when our neighbors need us, we know where to get strength to take care of them. Through Christ, with Christ, and in Christ, our care for our neighbors ceases to be a burden and becomes a part of God’s work.
We wish you a blessed “green time” of the church calendar!
Please pray for the Lutherans in Siberia, so that the lay people always strive to go to church, and also for the safe travels of our priests.