Loving the Temple, consumed by God.

Homily 242 –The Circumcision of Christ, Twenty-eighth Sunday after Pentecost
St. John the Theologian Orthodox Church, Rapid City, South Dakota
January 1, 2017

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, One God.

Obviously, our Lord loved the Temple.

So much so that as a lad of only twelve years old, after the Passover, he stayed in Jerusalem, in the Temple, discussing with the elders and teachers the Law of Moses.

Even at this early age, Jesus was consumed with the things of His Father. And, of course, His Father is understood to also be our Father.

The people of that day did not know of the Son of God – the Logos, the Word. The God called Father was the Creator of everything – particularly the creator of humanity, and the particular tribe of humanity known in that time as “Jews.”

Life for the Jews revolved around the Temple. The great feasts meant a pilgrimage to the Temple. Otherwise, the Sabbath was spent in the Synagogue, with the leader reading and teaching from Moses Law and the Prophets and the books of Wisdom.

This was the precursor of what we know today as a Rabbi.

But if you wanted to speak with the experts in the Law, as well as the priests, you needed to go to the Temple in Jerusalem. The only spot in creation where the worship of God was to be offered.

But Mary and Joseph perhaps didn’t know that this child was special. At least, they didn’t understand how special He was.

They knew he was born under truly unthinkable circumstances. No human man involved. Visits from angels, warnings to leave the country.

And perhaps a greater irony. This child, worshipped by the Magi and hunted by Herod, was now in the Temple of God built by Herod.

In that Temple, the one who gave the Law to Moses received it from Him. The one who gave the instructions on the building of the Ark, the Holy of Holies, the Temple itself – received it.

It is the same that we experience in the Eucharist. God give us growth – grapes and wheat. We add ourselves, our work, to them and offer wine and bread. And God accepts that, and returns it as the Body and Blood of this small boy, lost but completely at home.

We are the inheritors of this legacy. We are the ones who now dare to call upon the Heavenly God as Father.

Are we also, as was Christ, about our Father’s business? Are we also learning of the Kingdom which is ours?

Because God has given this Kingdom to us, but like children that we are, we need to grow into our rightful place in that Kingdom.

From the moment of the Annunciation Christ was the Incarnate God. But he had to come into that knowledge in time. He had to come to the realization of that truth, that fact about Himself.

And we must do the same.

Because we are also already rulers with Christ in the Kingdom which is now in our midst. But we don’t necessarily understand the significance or meaning of that fact.

We have much to learn – the example of Christ, the example of the Saints, of the Elders and the monastics and the poor and the oppressed.

Because this child, left behind at the Temple in Jerusalem, is the Creator of the cosmos. He grew into not an earthly power broker – but a servant. He came not to rule, but to serve, and ultimately to die, so that our nature might be united to His nature.

We are to follow His example, and the example of those who also followed His example.

He did not pursue power, nor wealth, nor status. Neither should we.

He never concerned Himself with food, or clothing, or shelter. Neither should we.

He did focus on serving – as should we.

He focused on giving – as should we.

He always gave – as should we.

Not because that’s what he commands, even though he did command us to do these things. But rather because at our core, within our redemption, that is who we are.

Created to serve, created to give. Created to focus outside ourselves.

That is where Adam, and Eve, went wrong. They placed themselves in the place of God, judging for themselves what was right, and what was wrong.

Not their role to assume – that was God’s sole prerogative.

So, we spend our lives, each day, each very moment, in the effort to re-orient ourselves to our true selves. Who we were created to be.

We were created to be what Christ is – giving, serving, loving.

And we will not find happiness or joy or fulfillment until we become that. Like Christ.

Christian.

And that, dear Brothers and Sisters, is the significance of being, as the gospel said, being about our Father’s business.

And becoming who we already are, in our Lord Jesus Christ.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, One God.

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