The King who wouldn’t listen.

Homily 574 – Eve of Theophany
Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Church, Ames, Iowa
January 5, 2023

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

Note:  This homily was delivered extemporaneously, and is transcribed with light editing.

I’m struck by a couple of things in the Old Testament Readings.

Perhaps the most important one is the passage about the king who sought the will of God through the prophet, and then when the prophet told him what to do he said that can’t be right.

See, he wanted to do something else.  I think about that and I think about how often we are that king because it’s pride that gets in our way.  It’s pride that tells us don’t worry about this; do it the way you think makes sense

But that’s not right. God is mysterious in his ways because in certain cases He is simple in his ways.  He doesn’t demand much from us. He doesn’t demand much of us.

What he asks for first and foremost is to love Him.  Is that really too much to ask?

To love God, the one who created us, who created us simply to love Him. That was all that He had intended for us to do and to be in the garden of Eden when he created humanity. He placed them there and He said “be fruitful; multiply”.

In the garden he said come in with me and I will commune with you. That was the extent of life, and then we had to go and let our ego get in the way and let our pride get in the way.

As a result we find ourselves now separated from God not because God can’t do anything but because we chose it. That’s what we choose when we follow our ego, instead of setting it aside just simply to love God.

If we start with the love of God then everything else will follow.

If we start with the love of God then we will do everything to either follow his law, follow the commandments that he set out for us, and repent when we fail to do.

One of the verses says that Christ was baptized in order that humanity could receive forgiveness. As we look at that and as we hear these myriad of scriptures talking about the Jordan, talking about the power that water has, we realize that’s what Christ was doing in the baptism of Himself. He was restoring Water to its place of healing.

That healing is not for those who are full of pride. Those like Pharaoh’s soldiers, his cavalry, his chariots.

They were not Saved by the Water of The Red sea. They were drowned in it and it was because they did not recognize their place.

They did not recognize that God wanted and deserved their love.

So as we go forth from this place with the blessing of the water, with the blessing of Jordan, may we also find ourselves in the place where we love God, and we really focus our attention on that.

When we do that we will love everyone else, and we will be kind, and we will find ourselves obeying his commandment even without thinking about it.

Because we love

So with that I wish everyone a blessed feast – a glorious feast – of the water and that we find ourselves wrapped in our own baptism, which is the same as the baptism of Christ.

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