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Sermon Study Notes
How do you see things? Life happens to us day by day. There are good days and bad days. So much depends on how we see things. In the liturgical hymns for today, the bling man says he cannot tell whether it is night or day. Outside, the sun was shining on him; but all he could see was darkness.
Many people experience life in a similar way. They may not be physically blind, but there is darkness in their heart. It makes no difference what is happening in their life or what God is doing. They are conditioned to the darkness so that is all they see.
There is another way, the way of the icon which is the way of light. Icons are carefully constructed to radiate light from within. This is not the light of our world which is dimmed by shadows and rises and falls with the sun. The icon shows us people and events from the perspective of Heaven where everything is full of the light of God.
If we are full of this light, then like the blind man, day and night are indistinguishable for us because there is no night in the Kingdom of God. Icons of evening events are just as bright as those portraying daytime events. Archimandrite Vasilieos says, “The icon neither needs the day nor fears the night. Night and day stand in need of the transfiguring power and grace of the icon.”
When we become transfigured by this grace, we are filled with a profound joy that gives us peace in any situation. Look at the serene confidence on the face of Christ in the icons. He does not cry out with pain when he is crucified. He does not taunt his enemies when he is raised from the dead. Life’s circumstances do not take away his peace because inside his soul is full of light.
- Be part of the transfiguring power of the light. The light/darkness within (character, attitude) is greater than the light/darkness without (circumstances of life). Bring the joy and gratitude of the gospel to each situation in life.
- Do not be angry or worried about life. Glory to God for all things.
- What stands out to you from the liturgical texts and why?
- In Fr.’s homily, he says the way of the Icon is the way of light, that it reveals what perspective to us?
- What did Fr. say we will experience when we are transfigured by God’s grace?
- What are some ways Fr. mentioned that we can be a part of the transfiguring power of Light?
- From “Meditations for Pascha”, Archimandrite Vassilios says we now see an emphasis on illumination, that the story of the blind man is not only a miracle of healing but a tale of what(also referenced in Vespers) as 2 kinds of illumination)?
- What does he say is the difference between the Pharisees and the blind man? From what 2 erroneous statements do we see this?
- Read: Psalm 118:105; 2 Cor 4:1-6; Ephesians 1:17-20; Matt. 5:14-16; Isa 42:16; John 12:46; Micah 7:8; Psalm 138:12-13. From these readings and interpretations of the Saints, what does this tell us about light and darkness, what is the key to overcoming the dark?
- St Jerome says: “Faith sees beyond what the physical eyes see”, on Ephesians 1:18.
- St Ephraim the Syrian says: The signs manifested to the external eyes of the Jews did them little good. But faith opened the eyes of the hearts of the Gentiles”, on John 16:1
- St Augustine of Hippo says: “For the Lord gives light to the blind. Therefore we, brethren, having the eye – salve of faith, are now enlightened. For His spittle did before mingle with the earth, by which the eyes of him who was born blind were anointed. We, too, have been born blind of Adam, and have need of Him to enlighten us.”
- Can you remember a time marked by the Light of Christ, where profound joy and peace were so prevalent in you (or others around you) despite the circumstances? Do you see how your thoughts and actions were a part in this? If so, please share in the comments below.
- If you shared last meeting and committed to one thing/step, how have you been doing with this? How can we support you going forward with this?
- What is 1 thing you can do (or refrain from) to intentionally walk in the light this week so that joy and peace may abound in every circumstance?