Great and Holy Friday Sermon 2017

Great and Holy Friday 2017

During this week there have been many images from the services in the hymnography of our church of marriage and wedding.  It is hard to imagine and think why would the Church have such images of marriage and wedding at this time of the liturgical year that leads us to Christ’s death and ultimately his resurrection?  These images are very important and purposeful because at the heart of this is God wedding Himself to us through Christ’ death and resurrection.  This is the wedding feast that all of us are invited to participate in.             We should remember that at every wedding in the Orthodox Church the bride and groom wear crowns or wreaths upon their heads.  There are many images that come to mind, but I often remind couples that the wedding crowns that we wear are a reminder of the sacrificial love that is expected of us if we desire to enjoy the communion that is marriage.  Too often marriage is portrayed by the world as something that each individual should get something out of, i.e. most often fulfillment, happiness, gratification.   In stark contrast to this the Church presents to us the crown of thorns.  To remind us that there is something much more to marriage, indeed, something more to life, than fulfillment, happiness or gratification.              And here, the Church presents to us a crucified and buried Lord as the means of true communion and intimacy with God.  Heaven is not cheap; not everyone enters.  Narrow is the gate that one must enter and Our Lord has shown us the way.             What our Lord shows us today as he lies here in the tomb, that if we want true communion, if we want true, deep, joy and not just the fleeting feeling of happiness, if we want a wellspring of God grace springing up within us and not an immediate gratification of our passing desires, then we must go through the crown of thorns.  We need to follow the example of our Lord to experience our own death to our selfish wants and desires in order to attain that most intimate communion with God and through God with all those around us.             By brothers and sisters:  Do not be afraid for our Lord has trod this path before us, he has blazed that trail that leads from death to life, from the grave to the empty tomb, from earth to heaven.  Every obstacle has been taken away it is only up to us to pick up our cross, deny ourselves and follow Him. Fr. Luke Mihaly - Great and Holy Friday Sermon 2017

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