“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal (κατὰ σκοπὸν) for the prize of the upward call (εἰς τὸ βραβεῖον τῆς ἄνω κλήσεως) of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3: 12-14)
Keep going, and keep growing in Christ, also today, St. Paul is telling me here, lest I become a complacent and/or self-righteous Orthodox Christian. We often talk about the Church as the “fullness” of Christ, or the “fullness” of grace, or various other kinds of “fullness.” But let me make no mistake: We ourselves, as living and breathing members of the Church, on our cross-carrying journeys, are not “already perfected” and should never sit back in self-contentment, as if we have nothing more to learn. Because in that case we will really just be “full” of ourselves.
This morning let me once again respond to God’s “upward call” to me, “forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things that are ahead,” as I walk through my responsibilities. Let me re-connect with God in some heartfelt prayer, letting His grace into my day, and taking down a notch my self-reliance, self-centeredness, and expectations of others. Lord, keep me teachable today, and open to growing in You.
Happy Tuesday, everyone! Please NOTE: My UPCOMING TALKS in Virginia Beach, Virginia: I’ll be giving a series of talks LIVE (and with social-distancing precautions) on the topic of “Learning & Living the Liturgy, Inside & Outside Church” at: St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, 621 First Colonial Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23451. Talk-Schedule:
- Friday Oct 23, 6 pm: Paraklesis and Informal Talk (see topic above)
- Saturday Oct 24, 10-12 am: Morning Talk, followed by lunch
- Sunday Oct 25, 10 am: Teaching Liturgy
- Please come if you’re in the area!