From Father Andrew Bahhi: Remembering Priests who Departed
Today on the church calendar calls on us to remember those priests who have departed, those who have served on the altar of the Lord during their lives. Especially the ones that we know, the living ones and the departed ones. Patriarchs and bishops, too.
We talk about a very high, and very blessed sacrament of the priesthood. How high it is and how blessed they are in serving.
The writer of a hymn says “I was amazed. How elevated is the priest’s reign? A priest is higher than an angel and his reign is higher than the seraphim,” which is one of the angel’s rank.
Isaiah 6:1, it says, “In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple.” Isaiah was not able to see the glory of God until the King died.
Similarly, as long as there is a King in your heart, God will never appear. But when you confess, and when you ask God to give you strength, all the bad things – all the kings, and things that control your life – you will give it away and make it dead, and then the glory of God will appear in your life.
And then in Isaiah 6:2, it says “Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying.”
This brings up the censer, which we use in church. People ask me “what is the meaning of censer?”
It has to do with the clergy. And why do the clergy get to break the chain of the censer, and the deacon does not? The top of the censer represents heaven, and the bottom is earth. And when you pray, the charcoal and incense cause smoke, like your prayers go up to heaven.
The three chains refer to the three rings of Angels, and each ring has three levels, so a total of 9 bells. And when we shake the censer’s chains, the bells ring as the angels are praising the Lord. And when the priest holds the chain in the middle, this means “I, as the priest, have more authority than the angels.”
How come it is like that? Because, as demonstrated in Isaiah, the priest does not cover his body or eyes.
The Angels praise the Lord always, but they cannot see the glory of God like the priest can. And that’s why the priest can break the communion and share it with the church.
Finally, the bottom of the censer represents the Virgin Mary as well as it refers to the earth. And when we put the incense to burn, the Angels take our prayers up to the heavenly Father.
We see in the book of Isaiah how the angels were praising the Lord. And we say it before we receive the communion. Everyone of us is called to serve God.
Come to the church and serve God.
There are two types of talents: The gift of time and the gift of health. We all generally have both. How much of this do we invest in the glory of God. Just come to the church and you will find a lot of things. Then angels in the book of Isaiah serve God, and you can also serve God in many ways.
There are three lessons to learn:
- You each have a talent.
- The master will one day come and ask what you have done with your talent.
- The heavenly father will come back and reward those who are faithful with their talent, and be put in charge more and more.
If you don’t know, pray to find your talent, and God will open your eyes.
May God bless you all, and pray for all the priests, including the living ones. And remember, when the evil one attacks the priest, he will attack the whole church. So, they need your prayers, I need your prayers, everyone serving in the church need your prayers, each community in the church needs your prayers. Pray for these people and ourselves.
Learn more in Father Andrew’s sermon video here.
May 21, 2023