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Two sermons and one lecture that helped me take a fresh look at the feast of the Entry of the Lord into Jerusalem

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Two sermons and one lecture that helped me take a fresh look at the feast of the Entry of the Lord into Jerusalem

I rarely listen to a sermon in the church — it happens that you leave early with your child or come to the service on a weekday when there are not enough flocks, and the priest does not consider it necessary to give instructions … Probably, for those like me, the Tradition portal’s media library contains Audio and video related to each important church day. And the entry of the Lord into Jerusalem is no exception.

Find out "time to visit your"

Archpriest Alexander Men

The most moving of the sermons on Palm Sunday seemed to me the first on the list. This is a sermon by Archpriest Alexander Me. It’s not at all long, and I’ve already heard or read its main point, but it was still important to think about it again. The Lord, entering Jerusalem, cries for the inhabitants of this city, because they did not know the “time of his visit.” What is the visit of the Lord to us? How does the Lord visit us? Here, an association with some kind of grief, misfortune, illness could arise. But father Alexander talks about an elderly man who was once shown a miracle in his youth: he walked along the street and suddenly saw the world around him, all illuminated by God's presence. Then this impression was forgotten, and he lived a gray, boring, dull life. He did not kindle the fire that the Lord gave him, did not know the time of his personal Visit.

But not always this event occurs so clearly.

Most of all I was impressed that Father Alexander considers visiting God as any moment of moral choice, when we can get closer to God, and we can stay in place, wallowing in our laziness and inertness.

For example, the time of prayer, the morning or evening rule, the time allotted by us for reading the Gospel … I think this awareness increases the measure of our responsibility, but also fills us with joy that the Lord is always there.

Father Alexander gives examples of saints who always listened to the Gospel and once heard it in a new way, which led to important changes in their lives and subsequently to holiness. I feel that I also need to read the Word of God, hear in it the “living voice of the Living Christ." Then I will not miss a visit to the Lord, and there will be no place in my heart for gloom and gloom.

Winter that can be overcome

Another, third on the list, the sermon of Archpriest Alexander Me is actually a “general confession”, and this is a special genre when the goal is to set up repentance and list the most common sins in which all parishioners should repent before the Communion.

I cannot but notice that Father Alexander, known in certain circles as a liberal priest, here exposes himself and others very severely. What is the comparison of the soul with the "monster zoo"! I caught myself that I had not heard this for a long time, now today it has generally become “unfashionable” to talk about sins. "Fashionable" – about depression, obsession, bulimia … It makes you think. Maybe we are doing something wrong?

Father Alexander has an amazing voice. Even harsh words are heard with softness and love. He says that willow is a symbol of spring coming after winter, a symbol of life conquering death. Our personal winter is inertness, coldness for all that is good, sleep and oblivion.

But if we don’t feel anything, can we be blamed? It turns out that feelings can be cultivated in yourself. This is how artists and representatives of other creative professions develop their taste. And, if we learn this, we will no longer lose heart and waste our life in vain, but we will live it as a gift and as a holiday.

Palm Sunday: six months before Easter?

The lecture of priest George Chistyakov will probably captivate even those who are not very interested in biblical studies and gospel history. Father George infects with his love for the Holy Scriptures. He shares knowledge, assumptions, conclusions. For him, the Gospel and Christ are life, in his words – reverence for a miracle and boldness … He goes to new readings of the well-known text. The father has not been with us for almost 12 years, but this voice, similar to the voice of a good wizard, lives in the recordings and does not leave anyone indifferent.

Archpriest George Chistyakov

Maybe you watched the feature film "Ushpizin" ("Guests") about modern Jews (by the way, I highly recommend it!). At the beginning of the film, the main character is looking for a good etrog (a fruit like a lemon) in the shop, as it is included in the set of four plants necessary for the Sukkot festival (known to us as the feast of tabernacles). This set is called Lulab, and Father George mentions it in his lecture. Myrtle, palm and … willow also enter it. The branches of a willow growing near the water symbolize a request for rain, for "the comfort of the air." Maybe the willow in the Orthodox tradition is not just a replacement for palm trees, but really a plant whose branches met the Lord, along with palm trees? Also, the words “Hosanna, blessed is He who Comes in the Name of the Lord”, which for us are associated with the Lord’s entrance to Jerusalem, are quotes from the 117th psalm that sounds like a refrain during the Sukkot festival. Father George concludes that the event, which is usually attributed to Sunday a week before Easter, actually happened earlier – during the feast of tabernacles, in the fall! Accordingly, everything that came next, before Good Friday, happened not in four days, but in six months. I do not know if Father George is right in this bold assumption, but it seems to me that the lecture deserves attention – let everyone draw their own conclusions.

Much is said about the witness role of the apostles, about their care for every smallest detail that creates an atmosphere, emphasizes the reality of the gospel narrative. For example, three of the four evangelists in detail, but each in their own way, talk about how they searched and untied a young donkey to enter Jerusalem.

In conclusion, Father George explains why the Pharisees did not accept Christ.

Ritual observance for them is more important than the kind attitude to people that Christ preaches. It is much more convenient to build a system of prohibitions and permissions than to do the will of the Living God and love your neighbors, often so uncomfortable. Therefore, Pharisaism is not a thing of the past and has manifested itself in history. I think it is in each of us, and this is something that we must overcome so that our inner fire does not go out, so that spiritual winter does not come again.

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