The Doulos podcast explores servant leadership in an Orthodox Christian context.
Who Is this King of Glory?
Who is this King of Glory? With the image of Jesus on the cross, recall Isaiah 53:3:
He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Fr. Timothy Lowe looks to the Gospel of Matthew as the climax to the biblical story in the people's search for a leader. The Son of Man is presented as an anti-king, securing no power in an army, palace, or wealth. As one who submits to the will of His Father, the Son of Man will come in glory to judge on that very basis, separating those who serve the will of the Father from those who do not. This is our hope, even as we are made to tremble.
He Leads Them In Repentance
King Josiah led his people in a magnificent building campaign to beautify their temple. But it all came to a screeching halt when the Book of the Law, neglected for generations by the Kings of Israel, was discovered and its words read aloud. King Josiah realized the Lord's judgment was at hand, and so he led his people in repentance. "There was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might." Still, the Lord declares to remove Judah and Israel from His sight, and casts off His chosen city.
Fr. Timothy Lowe, in reflecting on the "despair of the Lord," the very meaning of Josiah's name, reminds us there may be a time when repentance is no longer an option.
We had hoped the young King Solomon, in his request to the Lord for wisdom, would avoid the typical temptations that come with power and prestige. But the frailty of the human ego shows itself again in the wayward path Solomon takes in seeking not the Lord, but wealth and security in other gods and earthly alliances. In this line of biblical kings, is there any hope that one would lead according to the commandments of the Lord, and walk in His ways?
A Listening Heart
If you had only one wish, what would it be?
The young King Solomon asked not for long life, nor riches, nor victory over his enemies. We learn from the story in I Kings that the Lord was pleased that Solomon instead asked for a "listening heart," to govern and discern what is right. Fr. Timothy Lowe reminds us that the right beginning, the initial baptism and the right confession of faith doesn't necessarily secure God's favor. It's in the doing and walking in faithful obedience, ever mindful of the condition, "If you keep my commandments, then I will lengthen your days."
The Man's Choice
If we claim to live as a servant of God, a doulos tou theou, we must reckon with the daily choice: Do I serve and protect my own interests and my own life? Or serve the will of God, even at the cost of my own comfort and life?
Fr. Chris Salamy compares the story of the man, Adam, in the Garden of Eden with the story of the man, Jesus, in the Garden of Gethsemane. He reminds us that serving our own wills surely ends in death, while serving the will of our Heavenly Father opens unto life.
Fr. Chris Salamy is the author of The Way of the Warrior Saint: How to Live a Crucifixional Life. Learn more at https://www.warriorsaints.org/book/
A Complicated Character
Who is the real David? On the one hand, a humble shepherd boy who courageously obeys the Lord and is anointed king of Israel. On the other hand, adulterer and murderer in his dealings with Bathsheba and Uriah. On the first hand, sorrowfully repentant, and Psalmist. On the other hand, abandons his duty in providing justice for his daughter, Tamar, who is raped by David's firstborn. On the first hand, commissions his successor, Solomon, to keep the commandments of the Lord and to walk in faithfulness. On the other hand, in his final dying words, entrusts his personal vendettas to Solomon to carry out vengeance against those who humiliated him.
Fr. Timothy reminds us, "It's not how we begin life, but how we end it. No one is good, but God alone. Do not imagine otherwise. It is the only corrective to our egos."
Great Aide to Parish Spiritual Growth
The wonderful discussions on this podcast offer refreshing spiritual insights and enormous practical guidance for nurturing parish spiritual growth. Tremendous!