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“The Same, Yesterday, Today, and Forever” – Hebrews: 13-8

January 6, 2022
By Archbishop Sotirios of Canada

Homes, avenues, clothing, furniture, all wear out and grow old. All perish. All show the traces of passing time. They bear witness to continuous degeneration. Yesterday they were new; today, used; tomorrow, old.

The young boy becomes a mature man with grey temples. The mature woman of yesterday today is a respected elderly lady. To the ruthless action of time, everything succumbs. Our Earth grows old. Even the Universe steadily ages. One alone remains “yesterday, today, and forever the same.” He is the Creator of Time and all things and it is He alone Who rules over Time. He is God, “incorruptible, unaltered, eternal, and always the same.” As years, centuries, and millennia pass, He remains forever powerful. Untouched by decay. Ever young.

O earthly man, you see everything being destroyed and you lament. Your years go by and your melancholy grows. The strength of your body is dissipated and this is painful to you. Your friends and relatives depart from this world and you are discouraged. You count your own years. You observe yourself in the mirror. You see your hair thinned out or turning grey, wrinkles setting in irrevocably on your face. You regret it all. Going up the stairs, you run out of breath. Your legs ache. A variety of feelings overwhelm your heart. You are filled with gloom and sorrow.

Judged by the standards of this world alone, all of these things are only natural. But for the Christian they have no meaning. The Christian knows that he is not subject either to Time, or to decay. His flesh, yes. But not his soul. His youth “is renewed like the eagle’s.” Even his body in the Second Coming of Christ will be beyond decay and death.

Close to God there is no one young or old, strong or weak. There is only the person himself. The person who is created to live forever. The passing years are not merely years that lead to decay. They are steps bringing one closer to the Eternal. They shorten the distance to the meeting with Him. They bring nearer the time of His triumphant return to raise us up. To make us imperishable. To bring us to the true joy of His Kingdom.

Christians, let us not be childish. Let us not expect that Time will bring us riches and happiness. Positions and titles. Worldly glory and brilliance. Time has no life to it. It is blind. It has nothing in its hands. Everything is held only by God and by us. It is we who will bring something to ourselves and to Time. And it is God Who has plenty to offer us.

The decay that comes with Time should not worry us. But the destruction that we are capable of bringing about is catastrophic, either through our actions or our failure to act. The criminal destroys through his actions; but those who do nothing are also destructive through their inaction. Only persons taking action can accomplish anything, can improve things, can create and not destroy. Or destroy evil to establish good.

“Everything changes.” One and only One is unaltered and imperishable. God “the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Since the origin of man is heavenly – divine – we are created close to God and we, too, are eternal. Time only apparently subdues us.

We all need to think very carefully as we enter the Νew Υear 2022. The coronavirus is not a game. Let us not act arrogantly. We need to follow the instructions of government authorities, as long as this does not contradict the dogma of our Church. Let us follow the example of our Patriarch. Let us comply with the decisions of the Holy Synod. Let us all act in harmony “like strings on a guitar.” The Church is One. We are one family, all of us standing together with our Patriarch and the Holy Synod.

Eternal and Unaltered God, Whose “years have no end,” as You grant us the New Year grant us also the wisdom to understand that we cannot expect riches from Time, but rather we must ourselves create true riches in Time. Grant us peace and serenity of heart. Give us the strength to defeat the evil in ourselves. Grant that we may not surrender ourselves to sin. Grant us to do good, to love both our friends and our enemies, to be forgiving to all. “Year after year abide in us.” Draw us nearer to Yourself. With fatherly love and blessings in the Newborn Christ.

 

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