Passages: Is. 17:7-14; 2 Corinth. 13:5-13; Mark 11:27-33
Ընթերցուածքներ՝ Եսայ. ԺԷ 7-14; Բ Կորնթ. ԺԳ 5-13; Մարկ. ԺԱ 27-33
In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen!
Almost everyone today, living in modernity, boasts about one thing over all else: our right to do blank. The current political and social climate has created a polarizing atmosphere, where we feel our rights, our freedom and the authority by which we enjoy those freedom’s is daily being questioned or at times offended. We speak out about our rights as humans, as citizens of this country, as Christian’s, as men and women who live in a free society to defend those rights and especially the authority by which we enjoy those rights.
After all, we have the authority to speak out about our rights through the laws that govern this land, whether it is the Constitution of America, the Bill of Rights in Canada, the Miranda rights for the police, or any other legal documents, these serve as the authoritative base by which we are allowed and able to speak out, share or even complain when we feel hurt, offended, or limited. The authority which we have been given through those documents clearly tell us – that we have the right to blank.
As Christian’s, we know however, that the ultimate authority over us is God because God is the judge; God is the Creator; God is All Powerful and Man loving. And through that love and power, God created us and has given us free will and certain authority. This Divine authority is the same authority by which Christ Jesus spoke and performed his miracles as we read in the Gospel, “…the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to him, and they said to him, ‘By what authority are you doing these things, or who gave you this authority to do them?’” (vv.27-28) Jesus Christ does not reveal to the scribes at that time by whose authority He ministered, because he knew the reasons why they are asking. However, we know that Christ’s authority comes from God the Father, as we read later on after Christ’s Resurrection at the Holy Ascension – “all authority on Heaven and on Earth has been given to me…” Yet, the passage does not end there and we see that that authority which he has been given, he gives to us. A divine authority which we need to truly reflect on daily in our Christian lives.
What does God’s given authority allow us to do? As the children of God what does that authority allow and/or require of me? As the Proverbial saying goes, “with great power comes great responsibility.” St. Paul teaches us, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are holding to your faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you?” (v.5) We have authority my dears but what is it that we do with such power? Do we have the right to speak up? Yes. Do we have the right to fight? Yes. Do we have authority to demand justice? Absolutely. Do we have the right to self determination and identity? Yes. If we have the right and the authority to do all this and more, why is it that when we choose to speak up, we rarely speak up for the oppressed, the hurt and broken but instead speak up against God, or against one another by trying to justify our own sinfulness and wrongdoings? Instead of using our authority to fight for those who are defenseless or powerless, why do we fight each other, we fill our homes, Church, communities with hatred and arrogance? With the power to demand justice, why do we look for revenge, for spite, and demand personal retribution in place of demanding justice for the falsely accused and those who are drowning under their self-imposed chains? We have the authority to choose who we are and yet, how often do we choose to identify and learn to be Christ Jesus to the world?
My dears, yes, we have authority, we have rights, we have privilege and the truth is even though God has equally created and given us all the same free will there are some who have more rights than others depending on where in this world they live. However, the authority that we have been given by God is not merely one we use to shout slogans with or to demand personal agenda’s with in society or from our governments – it is much more powerful, for it is authority to drive out demons, heal the sick and bring light to the world around us. During our baptism, the priest prays “Redeemed by the blood of Christ from servitude to sin, he/she receives adoption as a child of the heavenly Father to be a joint-heir with Christ and a temple of the Holy Spirit.” In other words by the same authority that Christ lived, ministered, healed, died and was resurrected – we too have that same authority through our baptism. “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father. (John 14:12) The authority by which Christ Jesus ministered and which was given onto us is to go forth, teach, and baptize. In others words our authority gives us not just the rights but the responsibility to bring others to God through the life we live, through our actions, our words, and our identity. To do greater works that that which we have read and see about in the Holy Scriptures. Therefore, the proverbial teaching is not correct that with great power comes great responsibility, because as Christian’s we know that with great power comes a greater and divine responsibility.
What we do as Christian’s, as those who have Christ in us, we must leave this world better than what we have found it and this was our charge from the very beginning of time. When God created Adam and Eve, the very first commandment, the very first task God ever gave humanity was what? “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over [it].” (Gen. 1:26) God gave us authority over His creation to us as caretakers, as Stewards, as gardeners and keepers, to continue to build up, strengthen and fill.
As St. Paul continues today in verse 10 – “…in order that when I come I may [not have to be severe in my] use (of) the authority which the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down.” We must build up, but how are we building up? How are we building up this Church, our homes, ourselves, our children and families? How are we building up with the authority we have been given?
Yes, my dear brothers and sisters, we have rights, and we have authority to demand rights in this life. We should respect those rights and the rights of others yet as children of God, who have been baptized and anointed, we have a divine authority and responsibility to love, hope, heal, care and build up God’s presence in this world through the life we live – To be a light for those in darkness by taking the light which has been given to us here through Christ Jesus. As St. Paul teaches us, “Mend your ways, heed my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you.” (Vv. 11-13) And doing so, we shall go forth teaching who God is with true authority and thereby bring Him, our Heavenly Father, along with the Son and Holy Spirit, true glory, Amen!