2014-07-20 message

Post date: Jul 19, 2014 11:18:54 PM

There are many aspects of St. Elias’s life that are extraordinary: the causing of a drought, the calling down of the fire from God upon the offering, the encounter with God in the cave on Mount Horeb, and his being taken up in a chariot, to mention only a few. However, the one aspect of his life that most often comes to my mind is the fact, so beautifully presented in music by Mendelssohn, that St. Elias thought he was the last remaining person on earth who was faithful to God. I can hear the echoes of the musical line crashing down “And I, even I, only am left…” and the realization strikes me with intensity: he thought he was the only one.

This isolation, this solitude, was not an excuse for him to give up, to follow the rest of Israel into idolatry, or even to be quiet. His calling was that of a prophet and he was true to that calling. His life was threatened, he lived in the desert being fed by a raven, and all that while he was conscious that he was – in his mind – the only person left in the world who was faithful to God. In the end, God disclosed to him that there were seven thousand others who had remained faithful to Him, but for St. Elias – whether he was alone, one of a few, or one of many – the one thing that mattered above all others was that faithfulness.

For us, as Orthodox Christians in the United States, where we make up less than 1% of the population, the example of St. Elias is for each of us to follow. Our calling, like his, is to remain faithful to the God of mercy, compassion, and love for mankind. St. Elias proved himself worthy of his calling. By his prayers, may we prove worthy of ours.

With love in Christ,

+Fr. Peter