Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh

Seek the Kingdom of Heaven

4 July 1976
Theme: Spiritual life, Human values   Place: London Parish   Period: 1976-1980   Genre: Sermon

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

When we read the words of the Saviour which speak of the simple and carefree way in which we could live, not considering about food and drink, not bothering about how to clothe our bodies — we are filled with two conflicting feelings. On the one hand we think: yes, how simple that would be, and why not live like that? Why not cast off responsi­bility, why not cast off worry which constantly torment us? On the other hand, the opposite view: but that is impossible! Them we are faced with the question: can something that Christ says really be impossible? Surely His commandments are a way of life?

It seems to me that we can reconcile the opposing reactions in our souls by taking account of the stringent conditions that this freedom imposes. If we want to live as Christ says, seeking only the Kingdom of Heaven and its righteousness in the hope that everything else will be added thereto, we must radically change our whole attitude to life, and stop living in the way we do. The righteousness of the Kingdom of Heaven consists in loving God with our whole heart, with all our mind, with all our strength, and our neighbour as ourselves. That means that nothing, absolutely nothing, must remain in our lives that cannot be called love of God and love of our neighbour. It means that all our thoughts, all our powers, our whole heart must be devoted not to ourselves but to another — to God and to our neighbour. It means that everything that we possess, which gives us comfort and joy, belongs to God and our neighbour; it means that whatever we make use of over and above strict necessity, we are taking away from God and our neighbour.

Nothing that we have belongs to us; whatever we make use of, beyond bare necessity, we have stolen from someone else; whatever we do not part with of our free will, lovingly, we are seizing away from the miracle of God’s kingdom of love. If this were to become our atti­tude, it would be easy to live by faith in God and the mercifulness of one’s neighbour, for it would mean living in spiritual poverty and physically in such uncovetousness as we cannot conceive of.

Here we see what lies behind the easy words of Christ: forget everything, the Father will look after you. They mean: have only the cares which are God’s, the crucified care of the living God on Golgotha, and then you will enter that Kingdom, where you need nothing, and God will indeed provide everything.

Published: Newsletter N. 84, March 1977

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