A pleasant good morning to all our readers, friends, well-wishers, brothers and sisters in the Lord and to The Mystical Order. Let me take this moment to greet the many churches in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago for your affiliation with The Mystical Order. It is my understand that our Patriarch has been accepted as the PATRIARCH of the Republic. His recent visit to the twin islands have yield much fruits. Truly a man planted by the rivers of waters shall bring forth fruits in due season. Let me take you into our message for today.
The more deeply we read into the life and teachings of our Lord and his apostles—the more clearly does it appear that the golden thought of “loving others” comes out of the very heart of the gospel. It lies embedded not only in John’s Epistles—but in the teachings of the Master himself. Love for God is only a vaporous sentiment, a misty emotion—unless it manifest itself in love for men.
Our Lord gave us a picture of the last judgment which at first almost startles us; for, instead of making faith in himself or love for God the test of men’s lives—he makes all turn, in that great final day, upon the way they have treated others in this world! Those who have used their gifts to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to relieve the distress of the poor, the prisoner, the sick—are welcomed into eternal joy. Those who have shut up their hands and hearts, allowing human need and suffering to go unrelieved, are themselves shut out from eternal blessedness! It is not only doing the natural things, but how about the spiritual needs of others?
Are men, then, after all, saved by good works? No! The meaning of the picture, lies deeper than that. True love for Christ—always opens men’s hearts toward their fellows. There is another feature of the picture, which presents this truth in still clearer light. Christ appears accepting everything done to the needy—as done to himself in person!
“Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you took care of Me; I was in prison and you visited Me.’”
Then, when the righteous say, in amazement, “Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or without clothes and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and visit You?” “And the King will answer them, ‘I assure you: Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.’” Matthew 25:34-40.
You did not know it—but every time you fed a hungry neighbor, or gave a cup of water to a thirsty pilgrim, or visited a sick man, or clothed an orphan child, or wrought any ministry of kindness to one in need—you did it to Me.” That is, the way Jesus wants us to serve him—is by serving those who need our ministry. The incense he loves best—is that which is burned, not in a golden censer to waste its perfume on the air—but in the homes of need to cheer some human weariness or comfort some human sorrow. These are signs of the believer. Not setting traps and snares of the devil for the world to have a laugh. You do that and you are no different to Judas who betrayed the Lord for money he couldn’t spend.
The whole matter of practical consecration is oft times very unsatisfactory. We say that we give ourselves to Christ, making an unreserved consecration of all our gifts and powers to his service. We are sincere—yet we are not conscious that in our actual living—we utterly fail to make good our solemn covenants and honest intentions! It may help us take our consecration out of the region of the emotional and make it real—to remember that it is a living sacrifice we are to make of ourselves to God—that is, it is not merely hymn-singing, praying and love-rapture he wants—but a living service in His Name and for Him—in this blighted world. It is not mouthing off your brothers and sisters and saying all manner of evil to others. It is the principle in what you do and it must be for serving the Lord in the beauty of Holiness.
The old monks of the Catholic used to hide away in deserts and mountains and in monastery cells, as far as possible from human sin and need, and thought that was the kind of service Christ wanted. Sometimes they would torture themselves, lacerate their bodies, fast, live in the cold and storms. Some of them dwelt for years on tops of pillars and monuments, exposed to rain and snow, to heat and tempest—and thought that they were offering most acceptable sacrifices to God. Yes that was their understanding of making sacrifices unto God but it was far from what God intended in His words. That was their interpretation on the word. Are we any different from them today? We ma behave differently but the intentions are the same misguided understanding of what Jesus taught us in the work or the Holy Writ.
But they were not. They were only wasting, in idle day-dreams, useless sacrifice, unavailing suffering and hideous self-torture—the glorious gifts which God had bestowed upon them to be used in serving others. Only the living sacrifice is pleasing to God. We bring our natural endowments, our acquired powers or gains, our gifts and blessings, to his feet; and, touching them with his blessing, he gives them back to us and says, “Take these back again—and use them for me in bearing joy, help, comfort, cheer or inspiration—to those around you and in life’s paths—who need your ministries.”
Your servant and brother,
+ Sir Godfrey Gregg
Archbishop and Presiding Prelate
Administrator and Apostolic Head
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