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Lamplighter - Fr. Ralph

posted Oct 29, 2015, 12:42 PM by St. Thomas Church   [ updated Oct 3, 2019, 7:41 AM ]

In several of my conversations lately, the subject of our responses to God has come up.  What makes us say no to God?  How can we say yes to God?  What would it really mean for us to say yes to God?  Are there consequences for saying no to God?  As many of you know, I have been reading the writings of some of the ancestors of the church.  In a sermon by St. Isaac, he is encouraging his monks to have a heart like God.  He seems to understand our reluctance to give God a complete yes.  In a section with too many profound teachings to effectively apply to my life, he begins a list. For instance, he writes, “If you have no stillness in your heart, at least still your tongue.”  “If you can’t keep your vigil standing, keep vigil sitting on your pallet, or lying down.”  “If you can’t fast for two days at a time, at least fast till evening. And if you can’t fast until evening, then at least keep yourself from satiety (eating until full!).” “If you cannot be merciful, at least speak as though you are a sinner.”  He gives many others, but here is the last I will quote, “If you cannot stop the mouth of a man who disparages his companion, at least refrain from joining him in this.”

I’m thinking about calling this way of doing the Christian life, “giving God a partial yes”.  Isaac seems to acknowledge that we have a difficult time saying yes to God and doing the loving action.  If we can’t go all the way for God, let’s at least go part of the way.  I expected him to follow this up with a teaching that told his readers that they needed to improve.  Work at making your partial yes into a complete yes.  Maybe he thought this was assumed.  It is also possible that patience, peace and prayer are what is really important and God will work out the rest. 

As we live and pray this week, think about your yes to God.  If you can’t go all the way that God is leading you, don’t give up completely, but go part of the way. 

P.S.  The revival is October 26th.  Put it on your calendar.  Please pray.  Bring five guests.  If you can’t bring five guests, bring two. If you can’t bring two, invite one!