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Bumper Sticker

February 05, 2023

Bumper Sticker

For those of you who know me you can easily identify my truck by its bumper stickers! I normally have a “Honk 40 Times If You Are Orthodox” or some other type of Orthodox sticker attached to my bumper. This does two things, it brings awareness to the True Church, which is the best kept secret here in the bible-belt States, and it also hopefully keeps me aware of my walk with Christ. 

 

Here in my city and county of Rockingham, there are around 136,000 people and of that population, Orthodoxy only claims 250 or so, of which not all of them are active. Mathematically speaking, that’s some small potatoes! Most of these Rockingham residents have never heard, seen or dreamed of Orthodoxy! So that being said, my bumper sticker hopefully raises awareness and curiosity. And of course as I walk into stores with and restaurants my cassock on, I am also a “bumper sticker” for Orthodoxy. 
As for my personal walk with Christ, what do these people see when they see me? If I am in my truck I am focused on my next task and try to stay diligent in completing it, which at times causes me to fail as I place my to do list ahead of everyone else’s agenda. This is partly because I am driven to finish tasks or because sadly I don’t want to forget where I am going or what I was doing! Well anyway, Beep-Beep, get out of my way slow poke! Where did you get your driver’s license, Sears Roebuck, or Amazon? Woops, that Orthodox bumper sticker just left a bad impression on that slow poke or distracted driver, and doesn’t say much about my Christian love either! 
In the Gospel reading today, our Lord is telling us to be more than a bumper sticker! Quit just going through the motions if you do not find love for your fellow man. How to easy it is to even go home from church aggravated with someone, or go home and talk about what someone said or was wearing, or to go home and start the lawnmower as if the Sabbath was just another work day. Are we Christian 24/7 or just when it is convenient? Just what is expected of us? Christ said: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matt 5:17-19) 
Saint Anatoly of Optina enlightens us this way: “Are you fighting against your passions? Fight, fight, and be good soldiers of Christ! Do not give in to evil and do not be carried away by the weakness of the flesh. During the time of temptation, flee to the Physician, crying out with the Holy Church, our mother: “O God, number me with the thief, the harlot, and the publican (i.e., with the repentant), and save me!” (St. Anatoly of Optina, quoted from Living Without Hypocrisy: Spiritual Counsels of the Holy Elders of Optina)
If we continue to look inward and expose our pride and sinfulness by humbling ourselves through repentance and confession and truly learn to love each other as Christ does, we will become the best bumper sticker that our church greatly needs. And with that type of love, we will soon outgrow our new church even before me we move in!! 
Fr. Gabriel Weller 2-5-2023

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