Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh

Follow Me

30 January 1983
Theme: Gospel parables, Spiritual life   Place: London Parish   Period: 1981-1985   Genre: Sermon

In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

Addressing the youth who wanted to attain perfection, the Saviour said, “Follow me.” These words were simple: at that time they meant leave all your cares, your family, your work, your calling, your habits and go with Christ along the roads of the Holy Land witnessing His miracles, listening to His words, becoming one of His disciples to your very depths; and awaiting that which was yet in the future and was known only to the Son of God who had come into the world in order to give His life for this world.

But when these words are addressed to us, what do they mean? They cannot mean the physical following of Christ along the highways and byways; but Christ calls us to follow Him into eternal life. When the disciples of John the Baptist asked Christ where He lived, He answered, “Come and see.” In the earthly sense He was living in a hut not far from Jordan, but in another sense, in a sense that captivated the disciples once and for all, and is mentioned in the Old and the New Testaments, He lived in the unapproachable light, in the depths of the Godhead, in that light which illumines every man who comes into the world.

And so the Lord calls us to come after Him into the depths of the knowledge of God, the depths of eternity and life. He Himself said that eternal life consisted in knowing God and His Son Jesus Christ; that eternal life was uniting ourselves with God so inseparably, to grow together with Him so deeply, to become one, that we should be able to say, “My life is Christ; His teaching, His ways, His thoughts and feelings, His will, and indeed His destiny — are mine; I take them on myself as the Cross, as the Resurrection, as death and life, and as the way.

This is what it means to follow Christ now; it means to listen attentively to His divine word which outlines, which points the way of life, and on this path to be Christ’s disciples to the limits of our strength, with all our might. To achieve this, now as in the old days, we must free ourselves of everything that would otherwise enslave us, bind us, keep us out of eternal life. We must each one of us consider this for ourselves, because each one of us has something, maybe unexpressed in words, maybe unconscious, that he prefers to God.

To find out we must look deeply into ourselves, and put this question: if the Saviour were to appear before us at this moment and say, “Leave that, it is the only barrier between you and eternal life,” what would we answer? Would we leave it or would we say, “I can’t, Lord, I’m sorry.” This is what we must ponder over, because we are all called to follow Christ into the glory of eternal life; that is our vocation, to come to life in the spirit before we are, in due time, raised in the body, and to enter into the mystery of the God-Head, to know God, as St. Paul says, as we are known by Him, to worship Him with our whole life and spirit, with all truth. Amen.

Published: Newsletter N. 155, July/August 1983

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