Christ is Risen!
The Winner of the world, Christ Saviour, is celebrated today in the commemoration of the Holy Great-Martyr George, the Victory-Bearer!
Victory, the Lord’s – and all His faithful people’s – overcoming is a paradox in this world. The Saviour Himself warns His disciples that they shall have tribulation, that is, face grief and suffering, and nothing good is awaiting them in earthly life (John 16, 33).
If one wants to baptize, if one puts cross on his chest only to have good luck in life, only to overcome evil spells, to be happy in earthly life, to be loved by all, then he just opened the wrong door. He didn’t come to the right place, because Christ Himself says: “Yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service” (John 16, 2).
If one wants to be loved by the world, to be famous, popular, applauded, to be one of us through and through, a star, than he should be anything but Christian. To be licentious and delightful, in order to be wanted by women, to be a despotic killer, in order to inspire horror (and respect, in earthly terms) into crowds of slaves, to be a thief, in order to be glorified as a robin hood, to be a liar, in order to ascend into the top of politics, to be greedy (remarkable is the semantic change of this word’s synonym – avid with its initial meaning of greedy, and modern enthusiastic), in order to be filthy rich (or rich, but filthy and smelling). And if one wants to be a looser in this world, to be hated and spat by all people around, to be at the best considered insane, then he should become Christian. Lord Jesus said this openly: In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (John 16, 33).
Thus, anyone who witnesses that he is Christian, agrees automatically to be hated by people around. Taking up the name of Jesus Christ and calling ourselves Christians, witnessing Christian Faith, we accept to be persecuted, cast away, spat at, beaten, mocked, as Lord Jesus said: ”The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also..” (John 15, 20).
This is exactly why Christianity is seen as madness and foolishness by the entire “civilized” world. It is obvious, because, what “normal” person will keep virginity until marriage, if all boys and girls around already know everything, and are much experienced? What “reasonable” person will preach that he is created by the image and the like of God, if “scientists” and “science” long ago “demonstrated” that men evolved from goblins? What sensible person will refuse favours, profits, honours, benefits that modern, reasonable life brings along? Only a… Christian. However, Saint Paul the Apostle worded this better than anyone else: For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. (1 Corinthians 1, 18-19). And again: Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. (1 Corinthians 1, 25).
Christ is the same, yesterday, and today, and forever (Hebrew 13, 8). The same are also His disciples. And if Lord Jesus promised that He will never leave them, and will always be with them, through Holy Spirit, and talk to them through Holy Spirit (John 15, 26), then we have been given the same promise, as followers of His disciples.
Over 1700 years ago, in 303 AD, when Diocletian announced his perfidious edict about closing the churches and destroying Christians, a brave soldier from his guard, George (LINK: Saint George http://www.stgeorgecedarrapids.org/life.html), defied him, saying: “I am Christian! I am servant of Christ, Who is the Truth!” For these words he was exposed to inhumane tortures, but he prophesied to his torturer Diocletian: “You will first become tired, torturing me”, and gave victoriously his soul in the hands of the Lord.
Generally, Diocletian was not a bad person. He was loved by his soldiers and by the entire people. He managed to strengthen the empire in the context of very difficult economical conditions. One thing he missed – faith in Truth. Belonging to the world, and thinking in earthly terms, he failed to recognise the wisdom, and he was defeated. It is known that he ended his own life, taking poison, following the example of many of his predecessors. Tired and disappointed…
But Saint George even today continues to inspire us to Christian deeds, heroism, and victory. Indeed, strength of God is made perfect in weakness! (2 Corinthians 12, 9).
Pr. Constantin Cojocaru