Dear Friends

Our world encourages us to set goals for our lives—family goals, professional goals, academic goals, etc. We think on what we want to achieve and then on how to get there: “I want that job, so I need those qualifications, so I will study these courses.” Being goal-orientated allows us to focus in on what is essential, what is necessary, to reach our desired outcomes.

What are the goals in your lives and in mine? Are we working towards them or are we sitting back too much? What are we doing now to achieve our desires?

Our having a goal is a good thing; for anything, however, to be described as Christian—a Christian community, a Christian Church, a Christian family, a Christian believer—the goal, though, must be Christ. The Apostle Paul puts it like this,

And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

1 Corinthians 2:1–5

The Apostle determined that the only thing he brought was Christ, his goal was Christ, and Christ crucified, “to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness.” (1 Corinthians 1:23)

And I, if I am to be a Christian in deed as well as in word, must regularly ask myself the question, “Is my goal Christ?” And as a community, we must ask ourselves, “Is our goal Christ?” Have we kept our purpose on following Christ, uniting ourselves to Christ, being witnesses of Christ? Or have I, have we, moved him to the periphery of our lives and set something earthly, something worldly, something leading to death, as our goal.

Because if Christ is our goal, then it is no longer we who live, but Christ lives in us (Galatians 2:20), if Christ is our goal then we are not satisfied with a minimal Christianity but in living the fulness of the Christian life, if Christ is our goal then we desire all to receive the fullness of blessings we have received.

My dear brothers and sisters, let us set Christ as our goal, let us live up to our calling that we,

preach the saving death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and invite all to come to greater knowledge of the Father through Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.

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In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, one God, Amen.

“Why marvelest thou?” calleth out the Lord, “When, O Forerunner of Salvation, I come to be baptised of thee. From our very first encounter thou didst leap in thy mother’s womb. (Luke 1:41–45) Thy preaching cometh to an end and I shall take up the refrain, ‘Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.’” (Matthew 3:2, 4:17)

The most honoured of prophets replieth, “Thou art my cousin yet the cause of my marvel cometh not from our kinship but from hearing the Word of ‘the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.’ (John 1:29) By thy Word thou hast created the Heavens and the Earth, by thy Word thou hast wrought mighty works, by thy Word thou hast saved thy people subjected to slavery in Egypt and, oh the greatest of marvels, by thy Word thou didst become incarnate of a Virgin. And now stand I, trembling before my Creator, hear thy Word and consent to baptise thee, that thou shouldst take up my refrain, ‘Repent,’ and I should complete my work.”

“Behold,” replyeth he, “thy work is yet incomplete. I shall send thee on ahead of me to prison and to death, that thou mayest preach even in the realm of Hades the end of his dominion. I am coming and his armies cannot overcome me nor his bonds ensnare me. I am coming and his unjust hold over my creatures shall come to an end. I am coming and with me I shall raise thee up and all the dead that ye may all be ‘the children of light, and the children of the day,’ (1 Thessalonians 5:5) and receive eternal life.”

At these words the greatest among all the prophets fulfilled all righteousness and consented to baptise the Master. “And behold, the heavens,” which had been shut through disobedience, “were opened,” through obedience, “and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him; and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.’”

O Lord, who wast baptised by John in the Jordan for our sake, glory to thee!

Read last Sunday’s Sermon, Why marvelest thou?
Archive of Past Sermons.

Services this week

Friday 13th January
Discussion on the Book of Numbers, 8 pm
Online only

Saturday 14th January
Vespers, 6.30 pm
At St Francis’ Hall, Eastleigh

Sunday 15th January
Divine Liturgy, 9.30 am
At St Francis’ Hall, Eastleigh

Online session is via Google Meet: please get in contact for the details.

Please join us: all are welcome, come and see.

Attending Church

We meet at St Francis’ Hall, Nightingale Avenue, Eastleigh, SO50 9JA. Come and See.

Can I help you?

I am here for you, you need only ask. Is there a way I can support your life of faith? Get in touch.

Can you help the community?

Yes, absolutely. Offer yourselves to the Lord: pray! Make available to him all your talents and ask him how he would like you to use them — listen for his reply.

Your prayers!

With love in Christ

Fr Alexander
[email protected]