CHRISTIAN NEWS MAGAZINE FOR KERALA MALAYALEE CHRISTIANS FROM INDIA AROUND THE WORLD
FEBRUARY 2007 SERMON
VOL:6 ISSUE:02

HUMILITY AND GRATITUDE
By MATHEWS MAR BARNABAS

The first Church at the time of the Acts of Apostles was one and united. They all worshipped and prayed in one church. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication. They all had one heart and one mind. Day by day they continued with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart. And all that believed were together, and had all things common. The church had feeling and experience as if they were living in one house under one roof. They very well enjoyed the love of fellowship and cooperation between each other. This is what Lord expects from our congregation. If anything contrary to this, our Lord will be grieved. The name of Lord should not be despised by the act of us. So it is very important and strategic that how behaves in the congregation.

Holy Eucharist is an important occasion in Christian fellowship and in the believerís life. Eucharist is the sacrifice for our thanksgiving to God for His benevolence and providence. It is a time that we humble ourself to God as living sacrifice to Him. The parable of Pharisee and the other a tax collector is very relevant in this context. They both went to the Temple of God to pray. The Pharisee stood and was praying for himself. He distinguished himself from others. He was leading a good life and he wanted to project it in front of God. Majority of his prayer was the praise of himself. He was quite self-centered and he could not perceive at all the world around him. He did not bother to know that God is one who discerns our hearts. Eventually he went out of the Church as he came without gaining anything.

Tax collector was despised by the society. He was considered as a heinous man who collects over tax for the foreign government. So society and he himself considered him as a sinner. He repented of his sins and opened his heart to Lord. He stood far away from the Church as his mind was pricking him of his sins. But our Lord told that this man was justified and went back to his house and Lord teach us the substance that for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.

Our humble mind makes us to thank God for his benevolence. A humble heart only can discern the goodness of God. When Jesus passed through the Samaritan village he healed ten lepers. There was one Samaritan among them. Samaritans were considered as outcaste and downtrodden. But only that Samaritan leper came back to our Lord to express his thanks. He did not have anything to be proud of himself. So he felt gratitude to Lord who healed him.

Our life is a living sacrifice. It is our duty to thank God for all his blessings and humble ourself in front of Him, as our existence itself is the mere mercy of the Lord. We had many instances in our life when we enjoyed the great mercy of God. These should not be forgotten through out our life.

[Devotional Message delivered at St. John's Orthodox Church, Upper Darby during first Congregational Service]
Reported By: Tom Chacko & Biju Mathew, Philadelphia
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