The festal troparion of Great and Holy Pentecost blesses and glorifies Christ for revealing fishermen as most wise by sending down upon them the Holy Spirit, and for drawing the whole world through them into His net.
What did Christ’s “net” look like from the moment the Holy Spirit descended in tongues of fire, and the Church—His body and bride, possessing His mind—came to birth in time and space? Holy Scripture answers this question for us:
And fear came upon every soul; and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common; and they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need. (Acts 2:43-45)
Thus the world’s first Orthodox Christian community distinguished itself on the very day of Pentecost, not for how many saplings they could uproot to decorate their church, but for the utmost seriousness, indeed the radicalism, with which they obeyed Christ’s most fundamental commandment:
You shall love your neighbour as yourself. (Mt 22:39)
There was a rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazaus, full of sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table; moreover the dog came and licked his sores. (Lk 16:19-21)
For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me. (Mt 25:35-36)
If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? (Jas 2:15-16)
The Lord allows no room for misunderstanding here: I must love my neighbour as if he or she and I were a single person. I must attend to his or her needs no less than I attend to my own.
We have a brother, an Orthodox priest in the US named Father John, who finds himself at a juncture of near despair. He needs medical care, housing, even basic safety: he was recently assaulted, resulting in injuries possibly requiring neurosurgery.
The institutional church is not taking care of him.
Can we, his brothers and sisters in Christ, come together to love him as ourselves?
Send your gift of love in any amount to firstname.lastname@example.org via PayPal or (if you reside in Canada) interac e-Transfer. We will transfer your gift immediately to Father John’s PayPal account, and send him your first name so he can pray for you and your family.