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April 17, 2016

Easter 3 Sermon 2016

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In a recent book about his annual pilgrimage to Mount Athos (also called the Holy Mountain – the famous monastic settlement in Greece), the American poet Scott Cairns describes numerous conversations with the monks who make their home there. Among his many encounters, a conversation with Fr Iakovos is especially vivid.  In response to a question about prayer, Cairns writes (and I quote): “[Father Iakovos] placed a hand on his chest, just above his abdomen. ‘You have to hold on to Him,’ he said, ‘with all your strength…. You have to plead with Him to meet you here…. And when He arrives, you must hold on to Him and not let go. Like Jacob,’ he said, ‘you must hold on to Him…. And like Jacob,’ he met my eyes with new intensity, ‘you will be wounded. Like Jacob, you must say, “I will not let You go unless you bless me,” and then the wound, the tender hip thereafter, the blessing…. He is everything,’ Father Iakovos continued, ‘and ever-present. He is never not here,’ he said, touching his upper abdomen, ‘but when you plead to know He’s here, and when He answers you, and helps you to meet Him here, you will be wounded by that meeting. The wound will help you know, and that is the blessing.’” (136-137) You must plead, you must hold on, the wound is the blessing. ...

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