WHERE THE SPIRIT IS, THERE IS LIBERTY
(Saturday, October 28)
“Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech –unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. …Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Cor 3:12-18)
Today it is “Ohi Day” (or saying “No” day) in Greece, which celebrates the Greek people saying “No” to the Italian fascist dictator on October 28, 1940, as well as the Greek Resistance to Axis occupation in subsequent years of World War II. In my Russian Orthodox Church, the Epistle-reading for today is the one quoted above. While it is not the one read in Greek churches today, it fits in well with the main theme of “Ohi Day,” which is saying “No” to authoritarianism and using “great boldness of speech” to resist its bondage.
Here St. Paul talks about us Christians using “great boldness of speech,” specifically because we have hope. And our hope in the Lord takes away “the veil,” which signifies an inability to “look steadily at the end of what was passing away.” This means that our merely-human fear of the new blocks our vision; it covers up the new like a veil, binding us to the past so we are stuck in it, unable to change in the ways our Lord calls us to change by His Spirit, “being transformed into His image from glory to glory.”
When we turn to the Lord, “the veil is taken away,” so we can see a way forward, and “look steadily at the end of what is passing away.” What is “passing away,” as we can dare to hope, my friends? Our self-inflicted bondage to fear is “passing away,” in the “Passover” or Pascha to which we are called every day, as we replace fear with faith, darkness with light, and indecision with boldness. We can freely pass over into new life today, in the “upright” (orthoí) faith that is *ortho-*dox faith in the Spirit of the Lord, because “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” Let us resist the tyranny of the past and embrace the new life that God has on offer for us today, because we can do that. Happy Ohi Day!