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Lessons by our Holy Fathers

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Orthodox Destinations

[Orthodox Destinations] [bleft]

Unworthy Seraphim: This week at the Bridegroom Matins we have repeatedly sung -Let me not be shut out of Thy Kingdom...-

This week at the Bridegroom Matins we have repeatedly sung "Let me not be shut out of Thy Kingdom". As we contemplate this prayer, I present a brief meditation on the Kingdom of God - the Kingdom of which we long to be a member.

On one level, the Kingdom of God simply refers to the reign of God. It is the doing of God’s will - and it occurs whenever God’s will is done. Whenever truth is spoken, whenever good deeds are done, whenever a person is transformed by their perception of beauty, in these things the Kingdom of God is being manifested. Why? Because God is the source of all these things. All goodness comes from God. All truth is God’s truth. Nothing lives except by the life-giving breath of God. So in this sense, the Kingdom of God is being manifested around us in countless ways at all times.

On another level, the Kingdom of God is the Church. It is the place where we fulfill all ultimate human vocation in worship. It is the place where the saving acts of Christ are taught and proclaimed. It is the place where the grace of the sacraments are poured out by the Holy Spirit. It is a place of deliberate and intentional service. Where people come together in unity to say “I am here to my part in healing the world in the name of Christ”. And when this happens, the Church as an institution uniquely manifests the mystical body of Christ.

And likewise the Kingdom of God is within us (Luke 17:21). The doing of God’s will in the world and the worship of God in the Church must spring from the heart. It is of no value, or rather deeply hypocritical, if I seek to change the world without changing myself. And indeed, there is a world within each of us. A world full of light and darkness, of noble and devious motives, of desire and fear, and even love and hate. It is a world full our thoughts of feelings and intentions of the will. But it is also the world of the heart. That deep center of our truest selves that can only be touched by God. It is the throne of Christ where He brings all of the above into order. When Christ is the King of our own inner universe He creates a transcendent harmony that transfigures the whole of our lives. It is a slow and subtle process where often the most dramatic changes escape our attention.

And finally, the Kingdom of God belongs to the age to come. Everything that we have stated above is still in progress. And yet, one day, it will be completely fulfilled. God’s glory will be fully manifested in us and the world. There will be a new heaven and a new earth - joined together - when God’s good will is completely manifested. Everything will be restored, resurrected and recapitulated. Prayer will be the breath of all creation and doxology the only language spoken. Love will be the way we live and move and have our being because the light of Christ penetrates the cosmos.

God be with you

- Unworthy Seraphim

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