Deisis (Novogorod)

Everyone You Meet is Christ

Christ Knocks at the DoorDo you remember Martin Avedeitch? He was the cobbler who lived in a room in a basement in a small town in Russia. He lived and worked in Russia in a small basement room that had only one window that looked up onto the street, from which he saw the feet of people walking by. Martin had always been a good man, and as he grew older he thought more about his soul and drew nearer to God. One night, in studying the Gospel of Luke, he read about turning the other cheek, the centurion, the widow's son. And then he came to the part about the sinful woman who anointed the feet of Jesus, and washed them with her tears as the Pharisee sat and condemned her with his thoughts. Martin condemned himself as the Pharisee who really cared nothing about his guest. He then fell asleep, and was startled awake hearing a voice: "Martin, Martin! Look out into the street tomorrow, for I shall come!" Was this the Lord speaking?

 

Can you remember - or predict - the rest of the story? The next day Martin prepared to receive an important guest. And he watched. Old Stepanitch came by clearing the snow and Martin invited him to come inside and warm himself with some tea. A peasant woman stopped to rest outside his window - a stranger, poorly dressed and carrying a baby wrapped only in a summer cloth. He warmed them with soup and bread, and gave her an old cloak to wrap the baby in. And so did his day go - watching and waiting for the Visitor!

That night as Martin reached for the Book of Gospels he heard a voice whisper in his ear: "Martin, Martin, don't you know me?" And out of the dark corner stepped Stepanitch, the woman with the baby and the others he had helped that day. They smiled at him and vanished. Then Martin opened the Gospel, and his eyes fell instantly on the words: "I was hungry and ye gave me meat. I was thirsty and ye gave me drink. I was a stranger, and ye took me in.... Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of these my brethren, even these least, ye did it unto me." Martin understood that his dream had come true, that the Savior Himself had visited him, and that he had welcomed Him.

Everyone you meet is Christ. He is your aunt in the nursing home you haven't seen for six months. He is the solider at the local Veterans Hospital that has no family and no one to visit him. He is the homeless guy who begs on the street corner that you turn your eyes from as you pass him by. He is the woman at work or church that you don't really get along with. He is the kid down the block who is always fighting with his parents.

Yes, you cannot solve every problem in the world. But you can treat everyone you encounter as if he was Christ. And you can do a bit more to help those in need. Visit that lonely aunt in the nursing home, and then the soldier. Give the homeless guy a gift certificate for food. Compliment the lady that does not like you. Invite someone who will be alone on Thanksgiving or Christmas to share your table. As we celebrate this time of Nativity Fast (Advent) it is always easy to remember extra prayers and fasting. But almsgiving is equally important. Don't forget. Do a bit more. You see the Lord countless times each day. Treat Him well.

The full story "Where Love Is, God Is" was written down by Leo Tolstoy.


Teachings of Christ

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." (Matthew 5:9 ESV)

Exaltation of the Cross

Save Your people, O Lord, and bless Your inheritance; * grant victory to Your Church over her enemies * and protect Your commonwealth by Your Cross. (Troparion - Tone 1)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Willingly lifted up on the Cross, O Christ God, * bestow Your compassions upon the new commonwealth that bears Your name. * By your power grant joy to Your Church, * granting her victory over her enemies. * May she have your Cross as the weapon of peace * and the invincible ensign of victory. (Kontakion - Tone 4)

The Church celebrates the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross on September 14th.

Random Proverb

"He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself." (Proverbs 6:32 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

It was said about John the Little that one day he said to his older brother: "I want to be free from care and not to work but to worship God without interruption." And he took his robe off, and went into the desert. After staying there one week, he returned to his brother. And when he knocked at the door, his brother asked without opening it: "Who is it?" He replied: "It's John, your brother." The brother said: "John has become an angel and is not among people anymore." Then he begged and said: "It's me!" But his brother did not open the door and left him there in distress until the next morning. And he finally opened the door and said: "If you are a human being, you have to work again in order to live." Then John repented, saying: "Forgive me, brother, for I was wrong."

Sayings of the Desert Fathers