Set Free to Grow - THE APOSTLE PAUL

 What’s needed for a Church community to Grow?  In this series, SET FREE, we explore the life of St. Paul the Apostle and how his encounter with our Lord Jesus Christ set him free to live the life God wanted.  In the message on Sunday, Jun 26, 2016, Fr. Michael Sorial discussed 4 important aspects for any family, church, community, or friendship to grow.

Transcription

so this last week I a couple weeks oh I guess it's been now I die I was sitting in starbucks minding my own business one of my favorite spots to hang out and this guy comes up and sits down next to me and just and I've got my earbuds plugged in and I'm I'm just I'm working going away type in this guy comes and sits next to me just starts talking to me and and he's I didn't hear what he was saying at first at the unplugged I said excuse me whoa what'd you say and he says you're a boo no Michael aren't you and I was like who are you so do we after about 10 15 minutes he was just talking about how you know he was in the church at one point left the church then it came back to the church and and one of the things that he felt was so important for him to grow and to see the church grow the exact word that he said was access is everything access is everything so what do you mean by that is that it's all about access to liturgy to teaching to community to Christ and and I felt that that was so critical when we talk about growing it's having access to Christ to each other to him as experienced in worship to him as experience to teaching as spoken in the Word of God it's about having access it's the word that we would use is the churchy weird we would use this communion right it's it's about us having access or communing with God and that's what allows us to grow with him well I think one of the most beautiful things that he gives us is the opportunity to commune not only with him but with each other as well and so today I want to talk about two friends that serve together that minister together that communed together in their own community with Christ and those two people are Paul and Barnabas many of us have had the pleasure of being ministered with or by other people and most people can identify certain leaders in their lives at some point that stepped into their lives they fed their souls and they met a particular need at a certain point in their lives this is a picture of a man I and it's a little bit difficult to see but it's a picture of a man from a priest from Dallas his name his father Gabriel and he was a man who stepped into my life at a certain point and met a very important spiritual need that I had when I was at a very critical juncture in my own spiritual life and so I look at this man I say like how beautiful it is to be served by and to be able to serve with other people in the body of Christ and to understand that each one of us has an opportunity to fill and to meet a particular need within the body it's for that reason I believe that when Solomon in Ecclesiastes chapter 4 verse 9 to 12 he talks about the importance of being together and he says here specifically says two are better than one because they have a good reward for their labor for if they fall one will lift up his companion but woe to him was alone when he falls for he has no one to help him again if to let out together they will keep warm but how can one be warm alone though one may be overpowered by another two can withstand him and a three-fold cord is not quickly broken what he's saying here is that it is important that when when we're alone we feel that but when we're together as a body of Christ that we can help one another that we can warm one another spiritually that we can defend one another that we can protect one another and all this by the power of the Holy Spirit who himself is within us and between us and knitting us together I believe the greater the task the more help we need the bigger the problem the more help it is that we need the problem is that some of us have heard stories about adrenaline-filled mothers who have literally gone and picked up a car by themselves with a child underneath it right and what everyone says I want to be and listen tell me the truth you've done it at some point you've gone over and you were like in like you just felt the adrenaline pumping through and you said I can do it you win tried am I the only one who has done this kind of Gator is it and even no one else in this you try to pick up a car and you realize you just you can't do it problem is we've seen videos and pictures whether they're real or doctor I don't know I believe it's maybe it's happened I'm sure it's happened but truth be told if we want to move a car it's usually going to look like the picture on the right with a group of people going and this is a group of like eight or ten big men picking up a really small car the bigger the task the more help we need Philip Zambrano he was a psychologist at Sanford University he was I had written an article that was published in psychology today and he says the following he says I know no more potent killer than isolationism there's no more destructive influence on physical and mental health and the isolation of you from me and us from them has been shown to be a central agent in the etiology of depression paranoia murder schizophrenia rape suicide and a mass and a wide variety of diseases together it's for that reason that this last year our theme for the years of churches we truly are better together we are better together the body of Christ is stronger when we are together I'd like to speak to you about four important aspects because it's not just about being together it's about growing together right it's about us coming together and us not just growing in numbers let us growing together in maturity and spiritual maturity and i'm going to give you four aspects i believe are related to growth in church and family and community and in friendship and I think at certain points you're going to have weather regardless of the environment church family community friendship you're going to have some kind of need for each of these four things the first is the idea of collaboration you can call this communication you can talk call this talking together and then working together but the idea of collaboration I think this is a no-brainer and it's important that we start here because last time we left st. Paul we see st. Paul being sent to Tarsus in the year 40 ad and we find Barnabas working all is he's big name people Barnabas is by himself at this point okay part of the problem that we oftentimes find is that people are together but they're not working together right i mean people might be in the same space think about any of those environments i've talked about church family community friendship place a business people might be in the same space occupying the same air using up the same resources but not necessarily working collaboratively not necessarily working together for the greater good Acts chapter 9 verse 29 to this is what's going on right after st. Paul ascent to Tarsus and you spoke boldly in the name of the Lord if you have your Bibles please open up I know I've asked you I'll remind you all to please bring your bibles but if you don't have your physical Bibles please open up your iphones or your smartphones to Acts chapter 9 all right Acts chapter 9 verse 29 30 says and he spoke boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus and disputed against the helmets but they attempted to kill him when they had brought they when the Brethren found out they brought him down to assessoria and sent him to Tarsus this is the last time we saw st. Paul two weeks ago when we were in the midst of our study so they sent st. Paul away this is around the Year 40 ad and then about six years later we haven't heard anything from Paul but it's literally a couple chapters later in the Bible which is about six years time that's not a good way to generally guesstimate okay time in the Bible not every couple not every chapters three years but in this case it's about six years later you're 46 ad we pick up in Acts chapter 11 that's we're going to be spending quite a bit of time in Acts chapter 11 verse 21 please and the hand of the Lord who's with them and a great number believed and turned to the Lord that news of these things came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem so we find that the church is thriving it is growing with and without soul with and without Paul the Apostle the message to paul is i can do this without you but there was an important thing that Saul needed to do and was told and commission that he would do but he needed to be prepared for that the news of these things came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem they sent Barnabas to go as far as Antioch when he came and it seemed the grace of God he was glad and encouraged that word encourage keeps popping up because that is the name of Barnabas he's the Sun bar being son of encouragement he is an encouraged and so he goes and he was in current he encouraged them all with purpose of heart that they should continue with the Lord for he was a good man for the holy spirit of faith and a great many people were added to the Lord the church continues to grow but he needs help Barnabas did what he could do and he was a great man and he encouraged a lot of people and it was done without soul it was all done by the power of the Holy Spirit working the Apostles and he knew where you could find his number one guy that could help him so he goes he departs for Tarsus and verse 25 Barnabas departs for Tarsus he goes where he knows Saul is at to seek Saul and when he found him he brought him to Antioch so it was for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many and the disciples were first called Christians and Antioch you need to underline that verse I mean there's so much going on those two verses Barnabas goes to Saul where we just saw him two chapters later or earlier six years earlier he goes to find him he brings him back and it says they spent an entire year together assembled that word assembled is the word ecclesia where we get the word church they come together they assemble together and the two now are working together and what happens their first called Christians at that time and that is an important change because up until this point the people that follow Jesus Christ at his teachings were people that were called the followers of hville way but at this point there's a transition and that transition is important key principle here is that differences worked for them not against them you have Saul and Barnabas two very very different people you have Barnabas who is an encourage her he was flowing with love and compassion who's probably a jovial jolly person he was happy was a smiley guy he was that's Barnabas he encouraged people he had compassion someone's broken hearted he went for them Paul gifted preacher he was a spiritual scholar you look at his writings he wrote half the new tests you look at some of his writings its profound at one point st. Peter says now some of y'all don't understand his writings and what he was trying to say is that Paul is a really smart guy he was a scholar he's a bright guy he had unwavering determination he was willing to fight and to fight in to fight and he had grit one point gets abandoned how many times I mean you read second Timothy and he says man everyone's left me and he just keeps on keeping on he heaps on present and whereas Barnabas is drawn to the downtrodden and the needy soul or Paul the Apostle is drawn to be intellectually curious type you have two types working together complementing each other their differences worked for them not against them and I think this idea of collaboration is so key because we think people that are different than us that operate differently that think a little bit differently that that's problematic and i would say that God needs those differences within the body of Christ in order to complete in order to connect differently with different kinds of people in order to communicate differently to different kinds of people that's one of the reasons by the way I'm excited about this new series that's coming up because you have four different people that you've been having to listen to me every week god help you and bless you okay you now or get you four different people God's going to use each of those people differently to communicate to you differently and this is what happens with Paul and Barnabas Paul and Barnabas approach the same Christ with the same understanding of Christ let's let's be clear when it's all my differences here we're not talking about they had a completely polar opposite understanding of who Jesus Christ is and what he's done what he's accomplished and what he wants for the church no no no they weren't on the same page but the way they approached it the way they communicated it was different sometimes people take this and they say oh well that's just the same for all different Christian traditions or all different religions in the world that's not what this is saying at all that's not what I'm saying saying within the body of Christ then our own even our own local community here our differences are okay they're good we need to be willing to take those differences think in your families the differences are healthy if we can figure out that God has painted each one of us just a little bit differently with this broad stroke the fruit of collaboration their combined leadership leads to two things the first thing we find in acts 11 26 is that passage and the disciples were first called Christians and Antioch you have a witness of Christ that matured in the believers it got to a point now where you have Barnabas and Paul working together and a result of their combination people looked and they said that's what a Christian is that's what a follower of Jesus Christ now looks like we have maturity up until this way there was a way was maybe a bit esoteric people didn't understand maybe there was some conversation maybe they're so they didn't know what it was but at this point the two working together brought a maturity the world could now look and say oh now we've seen Jesus Christ now we know what a follower of Jesus Christ is it was the two of them together folks there was no one-man show it's one of the things that I would say here a church like there is no like the community should never rely on one person when I was leaving queens I told them if the ministry in Queens falls apart which praise God it didn't then y'all have a really like I have ruined you by giving you a wrong understanding of what the body of Christ is because if I get hit by a bus tomorrow god forbid said do I mean the church never lies on one person or personality for it to be truly fruitful and mature and that's what we find in Barnabas and Paul is at this point that God working between them brings maturity in the believers it was the theological rigor of Paul and the pastoral care of Barnabas working together people oftentimes excuse one or the other so I'm going to start drawn to one side together some people love the theology stuff and some people love the practical like pastoral stuff I'm saying the two working together were important number two is there was a witness of Christ that was that was shown to the world through a life of service in Acts chapter 11 verse 27 to 29 read what it says and in these days prophets came from Jerusalem to Antioch then one of them named agathis stood up and showed by the spirit that there was going to be a great famine throughout all the world which also happened in the days of Claudius Caesar so the man shows up in verse 27 this prophet he says listen famine is coming verse 29 then the disciples each according to his ability determined to send relief and understand underlying that word relief there the word there is di KO n'ya which is where we get the word Deacon from its service they offered relief they offered loving service which is what a deacon is or a Deaconess is one who offers loving service one who offers relief to those who are in need so they send relief to the Brethren dwelling in Judea this they also did and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul so you find a witness of Christ through a mature believer who also shows through a life of service to the greater body of Christ they sent it not to the people who were right in front of them a lot of communities are just saying well this is what we need and they said we're sending it to the people over there who have nothing who we don't see who can't return the favor back to us who can't say thank you to us when we do something for them in Galatians chapter 2 verse 10 st. Paul's talking about the same idea that he's described in Acts chapter 11 he said they desired they being the apostles here desired only that we should remember the poor the very thing which I also was eager to do saying Paul saying like my life is about serving and and I'm eager I'm xels and passionate about helping those who are in the most amount of these acts chapter 12 verse 25 so we leave them at this place in Acts chapter 11 and then we pick up in the end of Acts chapter 12 Barnabas and Saul returned so this whole time by the way they've gone and they it says now they returned from Jerusalem so from acts 11 verse 29 to Acts chapter 12 verse 25 this center section here where st. Peter kind of makes small interjection I believe it is they are spending this time in Jerusalem it says it may had fulfilled their ministry and they took with them John whose surname was mark okay now remember this name John Mark because there's going to be a problem a little bit later Acts chapter 13 verse 1 2 3 continues now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers Barnabas simian he was called Niger Lucius of Cyrene mannion who administered brought up with Herod who had rather sorry who had been brought up with hair the Tetrarch and Saul as they ministered and that word minister there is the Greek word liturgy as they litter gize folks as they were in worship together they weren't sit around having like a committee meeting they were having liturgy they were it was their work their divine work to come together into worship God and it's in that moment as they minister to the Lord and fasted the Holy Spirit says now pay attention is this important Holy Spirit says excuse me I need you to do something for me and they said no come on we've already got this figured out all right they've already talked about in their subcommittee meeting we're going to come back together we we're going to talk about in the other subcommittee meeting they're going to come together the heads are going to come together we're to talk about it together and we enter fit we got it all figured out right here says no no the Holy Spirit spoke to them they were sensitive they were not only collaborative with each other but they were collaborating with the Holy Spirit Himself Holy Spirit saying listen up separate to me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I called them than having fasted and prayed and laid hands on them they sent him away st. Paul here is set free through ministering to the Lord and he spends one year now on a missionary journey what we're going to talk about next week okay we're going to talk when a skip over the missionary journey but just know st. Paul goes all over all over Asia Minor he's preaching makes a bunch of stops we're gonna look at that next week but when he comes back there's a little problem and that's what brings us point number two the biggest one was collaboration because I think it is the most it's it's necessary for us to come together and say what can we do with our differences and put them together but number two we're going to come together we're going to have some conflict folks if we want to grow we got to grow through conflict I can't tell you the people that I'm closest to our people that at some point in my life I've had conflict with if we're not willing to have conflict of people and do it right and learn to fight to learn to fight like in a godly way growth will never come growth won't come I think conflict is essential for growth in the church in the family I'm not talking about fighting just for the sake of fighting here either something real like man I'd love to fight like i love i look forward to not talking about that talking about having conflict for the sake of resolving and moving forward for the sake of healy for the sake of growth itself Galatians chapter 2 verse 11 26 now on Peter Peter Peter is the big one right st. Peter he's the big one he is like the one that everyone when he talks of what kind of gets quite right now how I'm Peter come to Antioch we just said everyone gets quiet listen with st. Paul says I would stood him to his face because he was to be blamed conflicts growth conflicts he comes he sees Peter he says I was stood him to his face because he was to be blamed he was wrong for what he did and not only does he do it one on one he then writes about it and sends it all over the church heey posted on facebook people but this was the love that they had this tells you that their conflict didn't end in just they were upset we talked about it fine everything fine and they walked away in there like fine no they probably hugged and embraced and loved each other he wrote about it and when they got together they said you remember that one time we had that argument you remember that one time we almost went to blows you remember that one time and they remembered as a growth time a time where they grew in their love and their respecting their appreciation for each other and what God was doing in the church for before verse 12 it says for before certain men came from James he would sit and eat with the Gentiles but when they came he was drew he saying Peter was being a hypocrite before James the Apostle in Jerusalem sends people Peter used to sit me with the Gentiles but now that these other big guys have showed up he withdraws he's like no no I'm sitting would not the Gentile Christians but the Jewish Christians he would ruin separated himself fearing those who were of the circumcision and the rest of the Jews in verse 13 played the hypocrite with him he man he is throwing everyone under the bus right here there's no one safe and Barnabas Barnabas his boy right Barnabas borders who brings him and says let me introduce you to all the Apostles young we talked about that last week no one Paul's a leper no one wants to touch him Barnabas has come come with me come with me come on I'll I'll I'll navigate the water show I'll I'll connect you there one and just earlier we saw st. Paul sitting for 60 years by himself in Tarsus thank God like what do you want free what am I gonna do and Barnabas shows up brings them back and brings in Antioch even Barnabas he says was kid he throws everyone under the bus but when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel I said to Peter before them all if you being a Jew leave in the manner of Gentiles and not as Jews why do you compel Gentiles to live his juice he says why are you requiring them to follow the law when you yourself don't do it this is why you found this hypocrisy why are you requiring more from them than you yourself are willing to do then what Christ has done away with this why are you requiring it for them let me give you a very simple modern to example why is it if a convert comes into the church today they're expected to learn a language that most of us don't know does it make sense Paul saying listen you're getting carried away with hypocrisy you don't know what you're doing you're not doing yourself what are you doing like why are you imposing this on people new person enters the church they're like 260 s something days of fasting people like listen there's a lot of fast you have to start fasting meanwhile man of these people like they may be them they might fast like the last week of they might fast pesca week right but they have sup they're not fasting saying why are you laying burdens on other people that you yourself are not caring it's exactly what Christ said to the Pharisees I'm not dismissing the importance of fasting I'm not dismissing the beauty of other people using languages as they will I'm simply saying that we need to be very careful and this is what Paul is saying he withstood people for their hypocrisy and saying you are expecting them to do things that is not theirs that doesn't belong to them that is not leading to their salvation that yourself wouldn't even do because it's not leading to your salvation he conflicted with him he stood with me and picked a fight with him Acts chapter 15 verse 1 and 2 and certain men came down from Judea and taught the brother unless you are circumcised according to the custom Moses you cannot be saved that's the passage we just looked at unless if you do these ritual things you can't be saved unless if you get circumcised door you wash your hands a certain way or you do whatever you cannot be saved therefore verse to Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them they didn't argue them about buildings about positions about titles they argued with them they had a huge fight about salvation they said man the most important thing is our union with God don't get caught up and fight and bicker about this temporal stuff don't bicker about well but the building community said this and know this person this I know this person was serving in this classy I know I want and that's my seat in church I've been sitting there for I'm telling you man I've seen crazy things some walked in one time no joke that's my seat I've been sitting there for 20 years another person said I don't see your name written on it I was like oh boy oh lord give me out of this place yeah if they want to fight about silly things like that Paul and then Barnabas with him picks a fight about their salvation says listen let's get ourselves focused on our union with God God became man so that we would be safe so that we might become like him so we have collaboration we have conflict let me go through the last two very very very quickly number three is Council Acts chapter 15 is a verse council in the church you've heard about the other three councils I see a constantinople EPS is I mean there's there's a bunch of councils in the early church with a very very earliest one where the leaders of the church come together in Jerusalem and they discussed and they people always say well Nicaea that's man well what was Jerusalem Jerusalem was holy spirit coming together amongst these people and they pray together they litter gize they fascinate and then they spoke there was a council Holy Spirit didn't stop at the end of the book of Acts he continues to work in the church if you know this in the book of Acts it's one of the only couple of books that the word a man is not written at the end because the Acts of the Apostles acts of the Holy Spirit and the life of the church continues to this day and so they come together they have a council it says they determine that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go to Jerusalem to the Apostles about this question look at the maturity of the church in Antioch the church they decided to resolve through a third party they said listen you to argue let's get together let's talk this out go up to the Apostles go to this godly third party and let them help you out listen to their counsel go up you're saying this you're saying this some people say listen we can't agree we'll go our separate ways they say no no come together it with a third party and have a council have a council along their journey they got a little bit of encouragement along the way in verse 3 and then verse 4 they show up and they begin to report the facts one side said this the other side said this verse 5 shows there was some disagreement along the way but some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up saying it is necessary to circumcise them to command them to keep the law of Moses so you have this council people come together they talk one side says the other side says they have a disagreement this is normal folks disagreements going to happen conflict is going to happen and without that conflicts there's not going to be growth but the way we deal with it is by coming together and having a discussion maybe as a less Christian ease word of for council we talk about it for the sake of reconciling and unifying and working things out final point is consensus so because we're dealing with a spiritually mature group of people here you're gonna say well sometimes we come to talk and there's no like there's no reconciliation right I mean it happens right people will sit down they talk and then it just becomes even more explosive true/false happens we have a spiritually mature group of people here both sides are all three sides have to be spiritually mature enough to listen to submit and what we find here is the result of that discussion of godly counsel was consensus Acts chapter 15 verse 6 235 it's putting their hands together they came to something called consensus verse 6 tells us now the Apostles and elders the word elders there's the Greek word press potatoes where we get the word priest or press better they came together to consider this matter the idea of consensus i think is critical i just want to spend a minute on on this paragraph for you right here all right this little sentence actually because we there's importance of apostolic consensus what did the apostles come together and discuss and pray about and decide and communicate consensus patrin is an is a layer within that or on top of that if you won't it's what the church has always kept and preached this is from the year for 34 it's called the vincentian canon paragraph 3 now in the church catholic or the catholic church itself we take and the Catholic you mean the universal Church the church all over the world the one church itself we take the greatest care to hold that which has been believed everywhere always and by all that which has been believed everywhere always by all and so for us we say like one of the one of the key tenants in orthodoxy is the idea of consensus I don't just say well we decided in the year 2016 in Princeton New Jersey we had a council and we descended upon the great city of Princeton at Princeton day school and we decided this we decided that to enter the kingdom of heaven just clap for a boo no Michael every Sunday and you'll enter the kingdom of heaven and we all agree and say Amen and that's it and the rest of the world would say you guys are a bunch of lunatics and heretics were following this crazy idea and I might agree I would agree with them all right the idea of consensus is saying we keep we take the greatest care to all that which has been believed everywhere always and by all what's been preaching Alexandrian and antioch and jerusalem soon preacher all over the world in every generation and by all people okay and that idea of consensus patran we have 2,000 years where we look back and we see what the church has witnessed people oftentimes say well if it's not in the Bible and I would tell you that the church has continued the church birth thus the Bible and the church has continued to preach and witness and minister to the Word of God through every generation and all places and so we look for the consensus of the church through every generation let me give you four principles of consensus forward to be consensus and then we'll close up here the first one we've already mentioned his discussion discussion right and we find that in verse 7 to 12 they meet they deliberate and that meeting deliberation needs to be guided by the Holy Spirit number two is there was a decision that was made in verse 13 to 21 the Christian faith in this case was apostolic and its patristic it's what the church has the ancient faith is number three there was a decision to distribute to send out they wrote it down on paper in order to be distributed and fourth and final it needed to be delivered which means it needed to be affirmed by the local church the local church had to say and yes we agree amen so what happened is it would be taken it would be read and the local church would say Amen or no we don't believe that's consensus it wasn't just something written down sent out it was written it was discussed it was decided after much praying and fasting usually dealing with problems the first one being circumcision and Judy izing but other issues about who is Jesus Christ who is God what about the scripture what do we make of the scripture and they would write it down they would send it out and they would read it and the people would say yes amen we accept that's consensus folks and you look through Christian history and you find that in the early years all right final thoughts final thoughts three essentials three essentials for ministering together three essentials for the body to grow together to minister together number one is an acceptance that God's will will be accomplished through each of us working together this is about purpose it's about it's coming together and saying we put our hands together and understand our differences work together collaboratively number two it's understanding and believing that whomever God chooses he uses if the first one is about purpose the second one is about the people and this is an acceptance that with our imperfections and all that God uses he calls and he uses number three purpose people place whoever God selects he sends two years ago two years ago I guess been almost three years ago but two years ago my then 77 year old father asked me a question he says when will people in the Coptic Church begin to understand that goddess has brought us to this country to serve this great land on which we live God has selected us he has called us if you will to bring us to a country to a place in which we now live and which is our home when will people in the Coptic Church under and embrace that that's what the church is always done talk about a man dropping some wisdom I said preach on dad you go you go he sent us regardless of your from Central Jersey North Jersey South Jersey Pennsylvania from wherever you're at in America I believe God has called us and brought us to this place wherever rat in order to be a source of his presence to use us where we're at I think it's it's time that we embrace that call each one of us with our unique gifts and talents and experiences our hurts our pain the conflict that we've had the growth that we've experienced and to use all of those things where were ads for the sake of the kingdom of God let's just get the light real quick I want to describe these two icons to you and then we're going to close in prayer all right last Sunday we celebrated the feast of Pentecost in the Orthodox Church and there's two icons here the first one on the left is an icon can you all see okay from this putting okay the first one on the left it's the icon it's the Coptic icon of the the Pentecost and the one on the right it's from the Greek Orthodox Church and reason I want to show you the two these is they're they're a bit different and there's a little bit of a different emphasis the one on the left and the one on the right they both have the apostles but each one of them has a different person in the middle okay one left who's this person right here st. Mary and st. Mary and iconography always represents the church okay so what this is telling us here is that the church represented by st. Mary when we say st. Mary sits at the right hand of the Sun right this is right hand ova this is talking about the church the church in an Orthodox liturgy or liturgical language does a reminder that st. Mary what's true for hair is true for the Body of Christ the church okay so when we speak about her we're actually also speaking about the church she carried the word we carry the word true in a slightly different way yes not in a slightly in a very different way but she carried the word she was the first of the redeemed we also are redeemed she sits at the right hand we also are called to sit at the right hand of God okay so st. Mary the church in the midst of the Apostles with the Holy Spirit descends and works amongst the church today this is what this icon is here for us to remember okay you have here st. Mary clothed differently than the other apostles and the idea of the blue is the idea of heavenly inheritance so our witness to the world is of our own heavenly inheritance by the work of the Holy Spirit and by keeping the teaching of the Apostles that the fathers have kept and transmitted to us the one on the right there's another person down there this is a it's not a it's a it's a fictional character semi fictional character this person is called King cosmos okay or Prince cosmos which is basically the world it's supposed to reset represent all humanity and what this is basically this icon is describing to us is that the prince or the world or cosmos the whole world if you will is about to receive the message of the gospel from the church that's transmitted out and that's what our call is as Christians we have been set free to work together all the Apostles coming together to work together in order to communicate the gospel to the world represented by that person down there and the reason I think it's important that they refer to as prince or King cosmos I can't remember is because they deal with him with dignity and respect you deal with royalty and respectfully you don't talk down to royalty right when the church communicates to the world it's never in a demonstrative disrespectful way it's always showing love and respect as if they are royalty okay let's bring