Tuesday, September 6, 2016


Having lived in and having studied some kingdoms around the world, I have come the conclusion that some kings find it very effective to keep their subjects in constant anxiety. The rule goes like this: if the people are anxious about their life, and worry about where their next meal is coming from, then maybe they will be more willing to do what the king wants. Anxiety keeps them in their place. Fear makes the monarchy firm. More people live in poverty, more people live on food stamps or are unemployed, more they will expect from the government and therefore they will be willing to do whatever the government wants them to do; They will vote for the candidate of the government; they will embrace and support the ideology promoted by those in charge of the government. Where is the freedom of someone who is unemployed and who is receiving subsidies from the government? Can someone who is receiving free stuff from the government vote for a candidate of his/her choice? History teaches us that a big government always produces dictatorship and suppression of freedom, therefore it is ineffective, intrusive, and even corrupt.

But one the greatest things about Jesus is that he does not want his people to be anxious. The main point of Matthew 6:24-34 is that God is King over everything and He does not secure his kingship by cultivating anxiety. God does not need to keep us anxious in order to establish his power and authority. Instead, he uses his power to take away our anxiety. All he is asking us to do is to seek the kingdom of heaven first.

To seek first the kingdom of God is not an easy command.

This is why we talk about “The life of prayer.” We cannot seek first the kingdom, unless prayer is the foundation of our lives; unless the ongoing conversation of prayer is part of everything we do; unless we live by some kind of rule of life that makes prayer, the reading of Scripture, praise, confession, supplication and thanksgiving part of the very fabric of our daily lives.

 When we commit ourselves to prayer, to seeking first the kingdom of God as a way of life over long seasons of time, a strange thing begins to happen. We experience a decrease in anxiety, and an increase in faith. We find ourselves worrying less and trusting God more. This is not because the future becomes any more certain; it is because we come to learn that God is good and trustworthy. We learn how to be faithful creatures, and we learn how to let God be God.

When our lives are governed by prayer and devotion to God we enter into the various circumstances of life filled with God’s Holy Spirit, who gives us the grace we need to do the will of God in each moment. The more we drift away from our prayer, the more we are governed in each moment by our disordered desires and we become dry spiritually.

When we pursue money or any temporal things as the goal of life; when we make compromises and take shortcuts in order to make it in the world, we are on our own. But when commit all of our life and money to God in prayer; when we commit ourselves to doing his will in every circumstance; we have the privilege of trusting him for the results. Then we come to a place where we truly understand the meaning of this Eucharistic words: “and here we offer and present unto thee O Lord, ourselves, our souls, and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice unto thee”.

And, as Jesus said, we discover that “All these things” are indeed, added unto us.

St. Paul sums it up in Philippians when he says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:6-7).

Peace and blessings!

Fr. Thierry

"For the vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; For it will certainly come, it will not delay. Habakkuk 2:3

Monday, September 5, 2016


The Bible is full of wondrous things some of which only become apparent with time. Have you ever read a passage and then reading it again after a time realized another aspect or dimensional quality? I’d like to offer an ancient perspective on a beloved parable we have all read and heard many sermons on Sundays past that might just have escaped notice. Blessed are the eyes that see.

The story of the Good Samaritan is about being a Good Sam, one who should help out his neighbor even when they are not like us, ethics, love, and of being a good steward. Is there anything else?

Prologue to the parable:

Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see. For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them ; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them. And behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the Law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? 

The Parable of the Good Samaritan
And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two shillings, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that showed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.  S. Luke 10. 23

Let us concern ourselves with who is being described as “Certain" and what we are being taught both literally and figuratively.

The Last Adam saves the First Adam and Eve.
Jesus picks words his carefully-- not any man, but a certain man; not just cities, but those that conveyed a message and it is so with each detail revealed. The certain man left the holy city of Jerusalem which is 2500’ above sea level and descended towards Jericho more than 800’ below sea level and outside of the safety of Jerusalem he fell among thieves. Do you suppose Jesus is illustrating something specific with these two cities? One is on high with a pleasant climate and the other down below, hostile and arid. Do  you see it? Jericho is the world and Jerusalem is the City of God.  And who first fell into the world producing such a sinful state? A world separate from God... a state brought onto all men by the disobedience of one. Was not Adam exiled from paradise because of sin and descended from eternal life into the lower world? If correct, Jesus would need to be making a point as we shall soon see.

This certain man falls among robbers who inflict mortal wounds. Because he turned away from God Adam has lost divine protection and is exposed to sin. His protection, his garment, which is his faith is easily torn away and his soul is wounded and near death. These robbers are the very same angel(s) of darkness (who can appear as an angel of light long enough to deceive) that stripped Adam of faith in Eden through temptation who seek to strip all men of their spiritual armor and inflict deadly wounds to prevent the journey back to the City of God.

Jesus uses the same word again- a “certain” Samaritan who descends (John 3:13) from the Holy City and come upon the injured man, and unlike the Levite and the priest, who are figures of the Law, has compassion on him. Christ is the "certain" Samaritan and the last Adam. Such a read is in harmony with the rest of scripture. The first Adam falls from grace, his race comes under the Law and the last Adam is a man of the Spirit who saves. We do not have space here to cover the whole economy of fall and salvation but you get the point. "And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.. 1 Cor 15:45

The Samaritan (meaning defender) comes down to relieve (Psalm 116:6) and restore Adam and with him all of mankind to the City of God. The great Physician comes as a neighbor to share our suffering and bind up our wounds. His words are our medicine. “Speak the word only and my servant shall be healed” Matt 8:8. Words that forgive, heal, save, and warn us to prepare for coming judgment. We are defended from death.

The Samaritan puts the man on his own beast. We are raised up and borne with Adam. Our sins- our wounds are borne by the Samaritan and he suffers for them. He carries the lost sheep on His shoulders for otherwise we could not bear our own burdens for we are beasts to weak for the task.

We who are heavily laden are brought to an inn and given rest (Matt 11:28) from a long journey. Lifted up out of the dust and given care so that we may be become well enough to keep the precepts we are given. (Ps 113:7) The inn is the Church- the Ark of Salvation where we find help to overcome our wounds- our hospital for sinners. (Acts 2:47)

On the morrow, to use the language of the King James, he departs. The Samaritan was here for a season and then he returned from where he had come. What is the ‘morrow’ if not the Resurrection? This is the day which the Lord hath made (Ps. cxvii. 24)! The two Denarii are possibly the Old and New Testaments which carry the image of our Lord throughout and our guide back to the Holy City. The innkeeper is he that preaches the Gospel (1 Cor. 1:17). Those given the command to “Go ye into the whole world and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved (Mk. 16:15-16). Saved from the robber’s attack and blows. The innkeeper is blessed with the gifts of healing and tends those in his care just as the Samaritan on the wayside.

I will repay thee. Blessed is he who gives freely as does God. Such a person no longer needs the law but lives by the Spirit and desires to be a good steward of God’s bounty. The Apostle Paul lived and preached far above that which he received in body and soul so that he could relieve others of their physical and spiritual sicknesses. The innkeeper of the inn is good and gives comfort and rest and protection from the ravenous wolves preying on weary travelers and earns blessings and gratitude of the Lord who promises payment on his return. When should He return but on the day of Judgment? How will He repay but with the reward of heaven! Well done, good and faithful servant; because thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will place thee over many things. Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord (Matt 5:12; 25:21).

Who could be more our neighbor than the One who has healed our wounds? And who should we imitate but Jesus Christ, who is the Head of the Body and closest to it’s all it’s members? If we love the Lord, who is the head of the Body, we will love all his members with His same compassion. It is mercy that makes us neighbors and it is through mercy that the Last Adam comes down from heaven and suffers greatly to restore the first Adam and thus mankind to the Kingdom of God.

So there we are. In a short parable Jesus testifies to his authority as being the Last Adam by recounting the biblical narrative from fall through restoration and His place in it, all the while teaching a more basic lesson of unquestioning love of one's neighbor which is necessary for us to find our way back to the City of God.

I hope you enjoyed and gained something from this presentation. If you interested in going deeper into the scriptures please join us this Sunday at 9:30am at St. Athanasius Anglican Church.  We worship in a house, just as the early Church.

Peace of Christ,

John Dixon
Warden, St. Athanasius Parish

ps If you are wondering about Eve in all of this she is figured in the New Testament as well but that's a story for another day.

Source: Ambrose; On the Good Samaritan, 4th century

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