Word Magazine February 1978 Page 16
“OFF YOUR SEAT AND ON YOUR FEET”
Homily by Father James C. Meena
We’re living in a bottom heavy society. We spend much of our time sitting. To go to work we sit in our car or on the bus. Many of us have jobs where we sit for several hours a day. At home we sit in front of the television, sit for dinner, sit to read. We take our children to school where they are conditioned to understand that in order to learn and to grow they must sit. Children spend something like fifteen hundred more hours sitting on their “cans” watching television than they do sitting in classrooms. Most adults are as bad or worse. We sit in front of the TV, we sit in the theater, we come to Church and sit (we used to stand for worship) and we expect always to sit and to receive. It’s no wonder that society is bottom-heavy.
Before every reading of the Epistle Lesson in our Church we hear a statement from the Psalms called a “Prokeimenon” such as: “Sing Praises to God, Sing Praises to our King, Clap your hands all ye nations”. This is a call to action! Scripture does not excuse us to sit to the point where we become inundated by our own weight and paralyzed by our own inaction.
It’s time for Orthodox Christians to realize that salvation is not automatic, guaranteed to us because Christ died on the Cross. Commitment, dedication, ministry. . . and declaring for Christ, are required. These are processes of action, of doing, not of sitting. “Do you realize, you senseless man, that faith without deeds is useless?” (St. James 2:20) If faith without deeds is useless what good is it for us to say; “I believe”, but not do anything about it?
Abraham was called by God out of a relatively comfortable existence and he became a gypsy for God’s sake. Abraham went and did according to God’s Commandment. He didn’t sit and wait. “Abraham put his faith in God. . . Because of his action he was called, the friend of God”. (St. James 2:21-23)
IT’S TIME FOR US, AS ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS, TO GET OFF OUR SEAT AND ON OUR FEET, TO GET OFF OUR ETHNIC “RUMPS” AND MAN THE SPIRITUAL “PUMPS”, to do something deliberate and concrete, every day, for God. . . studying His Scriptures. . . giving an hour, five minutes, fifteen minutes to doing something specific for the sake of Christ.
He created us out of love and after we sinned and sinned again, He forgave us and forgave us and forgave us again. He died on the Cross for us. He rose on the third day for us. He promised us everlasting life. He has done all things for us yet most of us do not take the trouble to set aside even a moment a day to think about God. What kind of Christians are we if we just “sit on our cans” and expect God to spoon feed us?
It’s time that we band together in a common ministry, working individually and collectively for the Glory of God. I challenge the members of His Church to stand up and declare for Christ, to bear witness by deeds, not by words alone, and to decide to put our faith to work. The Church needs active ministers in every parish who have the courage to bear exemplary witness for Christ, go into the homes of the apathetic and inspire them to come to the House of God’s Family where they will share in the message of hope and salvation; people who are going to shake themselves loose from the shackles of complacency and shake up others in order that they also might get off their “rumps” and man the “pumps” and work for God, to bring forth that everlasting water that He promised, “to a people that were athirst, as it was written”.
You can help to fulfill the mission of the Church to a sinful, suffering, world. The hungry need to be fed, the poor need to be cared for and the naked need to be clothed; even more than this, in your own parish you have those who are hungry and naked in spirit and who must be fed and clothed spiritually. That must be done by you, the faithful.
“You see now”, says St. James, “that it is by doing something good, and not only by believing that man is justified”. (2:24) Call your Priest . . . he’ll be happy to hear that you want to get off your seat and stand on your feet. . . and be a minister to God’s people.