|Table of Contents | Words: Alphabetical - Frequency - Inverse - Length - Statistics | Help | IntraText Library|
|Fr. Vitali Borovoi, Archimandrite Sergi (Saveliev) and Fr. Georgi Kochetkov|
IntraText CT - Text
You know that the current week is called the week of the Samaritan woman. And today you have heard the appropriate singings. But it is amazing that they, in a purely elinistic or elin spirit, are mostly concentrated upon the conception of water, which obviously is being perceived by the Christian consciousness as "the living water". "Come and drink of the living water", - this is an idea that appears to be the main here.
But something has changed for the last few centuries, or perhaps we simply live now on a different spiritual and cultural soil, but for you and me, when we read the Lord's conversation with the Samaritan woman in the 4-th chapter of the Gospel according to St. John, other words always appear to be more important, - the words that by some astonishing reason were not even mentioned in those wonderful old Byzantian hymns dedicated to the feast. Most important to us have become the following words that Jesus says to the Samaritan woman: "Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:21-24). It may be that as a reaction on the unworthiness of the Christian life, which is manifest to anyone and to you and me also, whether we're looking into ourselves or around, these fundamental words of Christ that "those who worship God must worship in spirit and truth and God is seeking such to worship Him" have become so important to us.
What Christ said seems to be obvious and in some sense even mere. But behind the simplicity of the outward form frequently something very deep and significant can be found. What is new for us in the fact that God is Spirit? We know it from the very first moment of our Christian life. What is new in God's seeking worshipers that are similar to Himself? It also seems to be obvious. And, nevertheless, why don't these words of Christ cool down, nor does their significance grow scarce?
One can see these words variously. They can be seen dogmatically, and then we may come up with a very interesting trinitarian formulae: "we must worship God the Father in the Holy Spirit and Truth, i.e. in Christ, Who said: 'I am the Truth'." This is as though an enciphered trinitarian formulae of the New Testament's ecclesiastical Christian life: learn to worship the Heavenly Father in the Holy Spirit and in Christ, for God is seeking such to worship Him! This is correct. And we know very well how frequently we cannot fit this dogmatical truth of Orthodoxy, the truth of the dogmatical Orthodoxy.
But one can see in the same words of Gospel other things as well. I have to repeat that in this Christ's call there are many different senses. There is such, you know: do not return to the old, do not return to the old pagan life, but do not also return to the Old Testament's life when those who worshipped God did it only ritually, only according to the Law, when only those things were considered a worthy God's worship which were canonical and following the rules of the Law! And very frequently we forget what Christ revealed to us and what He called us to. We are always being drawn, attracted as by a magnet to a well-defined order, a well-defined daily routine, that everything would be legally determined, checked up, and clarified, that we had been established the exact boundaries: we can do this, but can't do that, that we had had less freedom, because it is, as we know, such a heavy burden! We constantly move away from the spirit of Freedom, we cannot fit the spirit of Love. But the Christ's Love is free! And the Christ's Freedom - in Love!
And so, dear brothers and sisters, Christ talked with the Samaritan woman by the well about the Spirit, about the fact that we must worship God in Spirit and Truth beginning already with our life here, with our life in flesh. We can see not only the heavenly liturgy where hosts of angels and men, all spirits and souls are worshiping before the throne of God. No. We can also see the earthly forms of worshiping God that come from fulfilling our hearts with the spirit of Love and Truth already here.
We, dear brothers and sisters, have to be reminded about these things, and reminded constantly. Thank God there is a reason for that every year as every year the words of worshiping God in Spirit and Truth sound in the temples. But one can only be amazed how it might happen that Bizantian hymnographers forgot about it. But most of all one can be amazed how it didn't become part of our traditional Christian consciousness. When reading books dedicated to our history one cannot find those words. As though they were crossed out from the Gospel by somebody, or as if they for ages were read by us not in the more or less intelligible church Slavonic, but in some Chinese.
It is startling that we in our past did not perceive the most important thing: historically we did not perceive the revelation given in the Gospel of St. John as well as we did not perceive the Baptism as "the birth from above", as the revival of the human life. But this is what the same Gospel says in the previous, - the third chapter of St. John's Gospel, in the conversation of the Lord with Nicodimos. Christ clearly speaks there about "a birth from above", without which no worthy worshiping God can ever be in the New Testament! Because if Christ had ever had anything new to bring into the world, by His Blood concluded the New Testament, it was exactly that opportunity of revival, that opportunity of "birth from above brought about by water and the Spirit" along with the opportunity to worship God in Spirit and Truth.
Why then do we flee from this truth? Why do we flee from the Gospel's word? Why are we so scared by it? We as if consciously harden our hearts that nothing could come inside them, nothing that might seem to somebody too mystical, too uncertain, too much lacking capability to be organized by Law. But one cannot organize spirit by Law, truth by Law, the freedom of man by Law.
How can we deliver ourselves from the slavery to Law, dear brothers and sisters? From the slavery of our spirit, of our soul, of our body? We constantly "put our hand on the plough and look back" and therefore don't reach the goal. We as if lose its sight before ourselves. And it is not chance that the Scripture warns us that we should not do it, that "no one, looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God" (Luke 9:62). But we are still sleeping, sleeping, and sleeping! We cannot fit so simple, as it may seem, things. Only when grace is within our hearts, only when there is room for Love, Spirit, and Truth in them, only then are we a people of God that has concluded with God a New Testament through Christ and in the Holy Spirit, only then are we worshiping God in Spirit and Truth.
We should not be surprised by the fact that Christ could see the life of the Samaritan woman. Well, what so interesting was there in that private life? It was not so hard to see it, no need to be Christ for it. But what Christ had said to us about worshiping God, those things no one else could say the way He did. And it is not chance that the Samaritan woman, having felt it, immediately started speaking about the Messiah, and said: "I know the Messiah is coming (who is called Christ)".
So, dear brothers and sisters, even a simple half-pagan and very sinful woman by her not too much revived heart could perceive the words of Christ deeper and fuller than frequently we do. Because in order to prove the opposite one has to live differently. None of words will be sufficient here. Therefore, celebrating the feast of Easter, the feast bright and joyful, let us recall what Christ said to us in His conversation with Nicodemos, and even more, - in His conversation with the Samaritan woman. Let the words of that conversation will be for us a guiding call for all our life that we did not slip off the way of Truth and did not lose the Spirit!
Table of Contents | Words: Alphabetical - Frequency - Inverse - Length - Statistics | Help | IntraText Library
Best viewed with any browser at 800x600 or 768x1024 on Tablet PC
IntraText® (V89) - Some rights reserved by Èulogos SpA - 1996-2007. Content in this page is licensed under a Creative Commons License