Gleam of the Kingdom of God
Congratulations to the staff and readers of the Kommersant newspaper on the occasion of the Ascension of the Lord! Life is continuously renewed, as evidenced by the change of seasons, stages of human life, phases of historical development. The events of the church calendar also remind of this. It seems that quite recently we entered the new year, Orthodox Christians glorified the born Christ, then prepared for the Easter holiday, and hearts filled with joy hearing the words “Christ is Risen!” And today we remember how the God-man, having fulfilled all the prophecies, ascends to the Throne of the Father.
As it is sung in one of the hymns of the holiday, all the followers of the Savior are called to the rapture. The Lord works continuously. He can suddenly touch the soul of a person and change his life, as happened with the fishermen – the future apostles. God by grace supports man, does not allow him to fall, but it is important that the Christian himself strives with all his heart towards his Creator. According to Konstantin Nikolaevich Leontiev, a religious thinker born in Kaluga province, “love, and disgust, joy, grief, and strong sudden shocks can lead to faith.”
The first step in establishing a hesitant person is to allow the mind to seek faith and believe. The second is the acquisition of the fear of God, and the third is the habit of forcing oneself. This must be done in spite of one’s own laziness and desire to have fun, too impudent hope for God’s forgiveness, false fear of “losing” a lot of precious time for prayer and good deeds, calculated for endless everyday affairs.
The ability to give up your desires for the sake of God is the wings that lift a person to Heaven. A meek and humble Christian, working for the sake of the Lord, can be completely renewed by the grace of the Holy Spirit and still on earth become a partaker of the Kingdom of God. The Lord Jesus Christ says about this: “The Kingdom of God will not come in a perceptible way, and they will not say: behold, it is here, or: behold, there. For behold, the Kingdom of God is within you ”(Luke 17: 20-21). His gleam is visible in the faces of the saints depicted on the icons. Those who are pleasing to God are people who have endured sorrows, followed the example of the Savior and found the rest of Christ (cf. Matt. 11:29).
The apostle and evangelist John the Theologian is a lofty example of humility and meekness, love for God and neighbor. He, who clung to the heart of Jesus Christ during the Last Supper, found God’s peace on earth. This apostle was with the Lord both at Tabor and at Calvary. It was to him that God entrusted the secrets of the future, which were recorded in the book of the Apocalypse. The Apostle said that only by showing love for others and keeping the commandments, a person shows true love for the Lord and draws closer to Him (see 1 John 3: 16-18, 23-24). John the Theologian himself followed this path and reached the highest spiritual measure. The doors of the Kingdom of God are open to all who truly believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. If only we do not weaken the spiritual feat accomplished for the sake of God! A person has been given time for repentance and fulfillment of the Gospel commandments, but earthly life is short. According to the apostle, while there is still an opportunity to enter the rest of the Lord, let us be afraid that one of us might be late (see Heb. 4: 1).