Saturday, August 27, 2011

How to Share Christ

A smile can go a long way

About a year ago I was sitting in a Seattle coffee house, laptop open and working on correspondence. Two young college age men were sitting at a table about two feet away. One of them made a rude remark that was obviously meant for my ear. He suggested to his friend that only a stupid old man would believe in God. I smiled at them and continued to work on my laptop.

Before leaving the cafe I purchase two gift cards and asked the young woman to give it to the two young men sitting at the table next to mine, but only after I left. About two weeks later I again visited the cafe. There they were, the two young men. They both came to my table, asking if they could sit with me. I smiled broadly and said I would be delight to have them join me.

One of the young men then asked me why I'd purchased gift cards for them when I'd obviously heard their slam against me. I told them that God had told me to buy them the gift cards and that the gifts were from God. One of the young men teared up and asked for my forgiveness. I told him I'd forgiven him the very moment he'd uttered those words because Christ loved them. How could I not love them if God loved them, I asked.

God gives all of us chances to show His love for people. Sometimes the most unlovable are the very ones who need signs of love the most. Who knows the difference a kind word or a smile can have on the life of an individual who is rude, or who is abusive.

The most difficult people to deal with are often the very people who need our love and kindness the most. The angry neighbor or coworker can be turned around by being treated with respect and love, regardless of their behavior. They are the people who need our prayers. God can change any heart, turning around the lives of the very worst people because of our prayers. Who are we to judge them? If God has placed them in our lives we must look for the reason. Perhaps they are there because we need to learn the lesson of forgiveness and charity. Do we deserve God's love more than they? 

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Saturday August 27, 2011 / August 14, 2011
11th Week after Pentecost. Tone one.
Dormition. Food with Oil
Forefeast of the Dormition.

Prophet Micah (8th c. B.C.).
Translation of the relics of Venerable Theodosius of the Kiev Caves (1091).
New Hieromartyr Basil bishop of Chernigov and with him Hieromartyr Mathew and Martyr Alexis (1918).
New Hieromartyr Vladimir priest (1920).
New Hieromartyrs Vladimir and Nicholas priests, Hieromartyr Eleutherius, Virgin-Martyr Eudokia and Martyr Theodore (1937).
New Hieromartyr Schema-archimandrite Eleutherius of Chimkent (Kazakhstan) (1937).
Venerable Alexander confessor (1961).
Venerable Arcadius, monk, of Vyazma and New Torzhok (1077).
Hieromartyr Marcellus, bishop of Apamea (389).

1 Corinthians 1:3-9

3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Spiritual Gifts at Corinth
4 I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, 5 that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge, 6 even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, 7 so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Matthew 19:3-12

3 The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?”
4 And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
7 They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?”
8 He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”
10 His disciples said to Him, “If such is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry.”
Jesus Teaches on Celibacy
11 But He said to them, “All cannot accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given: 12 For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother’s womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it.”


  1. Not an easy notion to remember in the moment, but you are so right! Thanks for this story, and thanks for having done as you did on this occasion -- great example. As a woman, I would not have been able to offer such a gesture without its being taken in the wrong way; however, we all have the "weapon" of prayer for such persons, and who knows? A prayer for such persons could lead to an encounter with a monastic! God uses it all!

  2. Father bless. Thank you for this wise spiritual counsel. It's how I live, rarely what I say, that shows the light of Christ to others. I fall so far short every day. Please pray for me.

    In Christ,

  3. What a beautiful story. Thank you very much for sharing this, Father. Glory to God!