Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes - Spiritual Nourishment for the Soul - July 2004   Last Modified July 14th, 2004

Icon of Christ the Pantokrator (6th century) from St. Catherine's Monastery, Mt. Sinai
Icon of Christ the Pantokrator (6th century) from St. Catherine's Monastery, Mt. Sinai.

The Agape Of The Church
by Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes
Boise, Idaho, USA
July 2004

I am sure that most Christians know what it is like to reach a crisis in our lives. Something dramatic occurs - it could be an unexpected bereavement or the loss of a job - and we become worried and confused, and it seems like we are floundering about in a muddy pool, with no sense of direction. So many times it is a crisis because it has happened at the worst possible moment, when our physical and mental resources are unable to cope.

At times like these, there is no better place to be than in the Church. This is where we can find peace and help ourselves to the never-ending store of love and grace which our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has for us. The love we receive from the Church can help us deal with a crisis, because any crisis that we have to deal with can be healed.

Christ our Lord not only offers us help. He offers us the wonderful Christian virtue that is His love! We must not only receive that love with a grateful hearts, but also apply it as we face any crisis that might come our way. The love of Lord must be an essential part of our everyday life, enabling us to obey the commandments to love that He gave us - agape - and to live sacrificially, which is reflection of divine philanthropia - Christ our Lord as a friend of mankind.

It is for this reason that the Holy Orthodox faith expresses a great deal in its teaching on agape - love. The Church is new ark of salvation in which everyone can find assistance. So we can avoid falling into a state of despair, for the crisis we face will not be a crisis any longer! Our Lord and His church is constantly available with love for all of us now, today, and especially at times when we find people in despair, not knowing where to turn.

The Church is like a tender mother who invites all to come to her to receive spiritual strength for the great pilgrimage necessary for salvation. The Church itself is not like a museum, in which we wander around looking at the exhibits. Instead, it is a great heavenly hospital open to all in need of healing, with specialist departments for every condition, under the person direction of the greatest Healer of all!

The sacrifice of our Savior opened up to us the eternal Kingdom of God. We may freely enter! Within the Kingdom, all creation, in all its infinite diversity, becomes one in Him. Here on earth, His Kingdom is found in the ECCLESIA (the Church). All that has ever happened, every crisis that has ever been faced, is part of the accumulated experience of God's Church - past, present and future. The Church is the abundant storehouse of wisdom, love and compassion for every situation, every need, available to everyone. Within the Church are the ears that will listen and understand, those who have the words to meet your needs, the shoulders of compassion to cry on, the arms of love to uphold you. Seek the Church and you will find it!

How? When we first show our love for one another in this way. Then in return God will show His love for us through His Church. We cannot expect God to show His love for us, if we ourselves fail to love each other in the first place.

When a crisis comes our way, we can deal with it knowing that we are loved and cared for by God, and that the help we need is available to us through Him in the Church that is His Body here on earth! We must be ready and willing to turn to God, as He already knows our crisis. Once we have turned to Him and His Church with agape, we can be confident and expectant that His solution will appear!

Peace to your soul!

Humbly In The Love Of Christ Our Lord,

+Very Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes
Who prays for you!
Saints Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church
Boise, Idaho

Glory Be To God For All Things!
Content written/compiled by
(c)Reverend Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes