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Δευτέρα, 3 Φεβρουαρίου 2020

Today’s Sermon in a Nutshell:






Today’s Sermon in a Nutshell:

Today we celebrate the Feast of our Lord’s Presentation into the Temple. According to Scripture, every child was to be brought to the Temple on the 40th day after birth to be “dedicated” to God. Prayers and blessings were said over the child as the family made a sacrificial offering. Prayers were also said for the mother and healing of her womb. Thus, this historic biblical custom carries over from the Old Testament into the New via the Sacrament of Baptism.

Besides the tri-fold immersion into water and anointings, another interesting aspect of the Christening is that the child receives and is dressed in a new garment (baptismal gown) symbolizing the “Robe of Righteousness” and the “putting on” of the Christian Faith: “For as many as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ.” (Galatians 3:27) Thus, in the Early Church, it was commonplace for all Christians to wear their clean, white, baptismal garment to services. And although through time that changed, the tradition of dressing-up for church has remained. People may have grown out of their baptismal wear, but they still wore their “Sunday best” when attending church.

Whenever Jesus entered or taught in the synagogues, he also observed the rules and decorum of being in God’s house. Thus, His beckoning us to “come and see” did not mean “come as you are” (i.e. attending services in casual clothing and/or sloppy attire). The Jews normally wore better robes when attending services than while working in the fields and, also underwent bathing and purification rituals before they could even enter the Temple. Therefore, dressing-up for church was not only the normal routine but helped to set the tone for worship. In addition, it set the Sabbath apart from every other day; putting one in the mindset to worship God with the dignity and respect He is due.

Someone once joked, “Don’t you just hate it when you can’t find something at Walmart, so you have to go home, get out of your pajamas. shower, and dress up to go to Target.” Although humorous, it’s also sadly true. Our society has become so lax, so casual, and so pervasive that we no longer even care about how we look in public. This is a vast departure from another era when people normally wore suits, dresses, and gloves whenever they went out. People not only “dressed-up” for church, but to go to restaurants, movie theaters, traveling by plain or train, and even when visiting relatives.

Now it’s obvious that clothes don’t make the man – for when man was created, he was naked. Only after man sinned did he realize his nakedness and begin covering himself. Therefore, especially when we come to church, we should desire to cloth ourselves modestly and with dignity so as to please God by showing Him the importance we place upon being in His House worshiping Him. Thus, dressing up for church should be a joy and not an obligation.

Fr. John

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