Sermon on New Year

31 December 1972


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

I want to say a few words about this new year which truly is the beginning of a new time and of a new era in the life of mankind.

We live now in a time when not only God has become man, has entered into the destiny of mankind, but when in the Resurrection and the glorious Ascension of God, the Son of God, our human flesh, and together with it all that is the matter of this world has been taken to the very heart of the divine mystery; and on earth we live in a time when the Holy Spirit that was given to the Church at the day of Pentecost is mighty at work, transforming the world into what it is called to be.

The Church is the place where this happens and the Christians are the people who have knowledge of it and experience of it, and every single Christian is a man to whom the Lord Jesus Christ has entrusted other men. We, Christians, in the midst of a world that seems to wax ever older, should be a revelation of newness of life, of a newness that brings forth, day after day, by the power of the Spirit of God within us and in our midst.

We have been praying that God would bless this coming year; the greatest blessing that we can bring to this world would be that we, Christians, should truly become Christ’s disciples and a revelation of the love of God. Let us en­ter this year aware of the fact that we alone are already now in possession, however incipiently, of the things to come, that for us the future is already part of the present, not only by faith, not only in hope, but in true and real experience.

And may God give us to bring into His world this certainty of faith, this (suspense) and exaltation of hope and this love which is such abundance of life that he who possesses it is prepared to pour it out, to lay it down that others may live. Then really, truly for all those who come to this church, for all those who will be in touch with us this new year will be a year of blessing.

Let us remember in our prayers those who will carry more that we do, the weight and the Cross of a year: our Patriarch, the Bishops, the priests, the monks, the believers of the Church of Russia and of all the persecuted and oppressed Churches.

Let us pray for them, but let us also humbly ask God to hear the prayers which they pray for us that we may be worthy of our calling together with them.

Let us have faith in those who fight the good fight under conditions of life which are beyond our strength.

Let us also remember those who have departed this life and whose life indeed is our life; those whose faith has given us our faith, those whose experience of God lives in the Church, those whose faithfulness has built the Society of God. Let us remember them. May God give them peace, rest and joy. And let us so live that at the day of Judgement our life should appear like a fruitful field on which we will have sown the word of truth, the example of a true and worthy life; a field from which a harvest will be taken which will be their glory and our gratitude.

Let us now sing for all those who are alive our (song) of many years and then let us end by proclaiming eternal memory for them who have departed this life and who live in our heart. Amen.

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