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2013-09-22 message

posted Oct 19, 2013, 7:33 PM by St. John's Webmaster   [ updated Oct 19, 2013, 7:33 PM ]

Love does not rejoice in evil/unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth. I think it is interesting that in this description of love, truth is contrasted not specifically to lying or deceit but to evil or unrighteousness. The Greek word poneros, which is most commonly translated in the Lord’s prayer as ‘evil’ – the evil one, has among its meanings that of ‘treacherous, deceitful.’ A variant Romanian translation of the Lord’s prayer has the final line of the prayer as “deliver us from the deceitful one.”

Deceit is something that introduces mistrust into a relationship; it brings in something which cannot be trusted. Truth, on the other hand, has been understood in the Judeo-Christian tradition as that which is unchanging, which can be trusted, upon which a foundation can be build. Deceit separates us from the God who is truth. The root of the word devil – diavolos – means one who divides and separates. Thus, in the Lord’s prayer, we pray to be delivered from the evil and deceitful one in order to remain in God’s truth, to be united with Him.

In this perspective, it is becomes natural to say that love does not rejoice in evil. God Himself is a communion of love between three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Love, therefore, is a force of true communion. The most deceit can achieve is an anti-communion in the same sense as I mentioned in last week’s sermon that anti-Christ is someone or something that tries to take the place of Christ. Thus, when speaking of anti-communion, we are speaking of a group in which the connections among members are based on vices and passions, of which pride, anger, and lust are but three common examples.

Of course, the divine love with which we are called to love cannot rejoice in something that replaces true communion rooted in the divine communion. The divine love rejoices in the truths we find around us every day and in which the Truth and Logos of the entire universe is present. May our Lord grant us the wisdom to find these truths and see His presence around us at all times.

With love in Christ,
+Fr. Peter