“The 27th day of January, being a Saturday in Epiphany.”
WHAT!?!? I had worked so hard to get into my bishop’s calendar to have my ordination on a specific day – the 27th of January – the Feast of St. John Chrysostom, the greatest preacher of all time. Yet, here is was, memorialized on my ordination certificate as just another Saturday in Epiphany. ARRRGH!
It was supposed to be the things that set me on the path to being a great preacher, too. Having the intercession of the likes of Chrysostom is, superstitiously, a veritable talisman that ensures that every word spoken from the pulpit reflects the “Golden Tongue” (Chrysostom means ‘Golden Tongue’). But I guess my bishop, or his secretary had other plans. Maybe God had other plans, too. For as you can see, the 27th of January is no longer the Feast of JohnChrysostom (September 13th is) – now it’s just another day in Epiphany.
This, along with over a decade of ministry as a ‘real’ religious professional, has caused me to rethink the importance of golden-tongued preaching to my ministry. It has also caused me to rethink John Chrysostom. I’m no longer convinced that eloquent oratory is the most effective way to bring people (back) to faith. Anymore, I enjoy writing 500-1000 blog posts in that effort. Neither am I convinced that St. John saw it any other way. Drawing people’s attention to the presence of God already in their midst seemed to be one of his passions as well. As the prayer in the prayer book attributed to him suggests:
A Prayer of St. Chrysostom
Almighty God, you have given us grace at this time with one
accord to make our common supplication to you; and you
have promised through your well-beloved Son that when two
or three are gathered together in his Name you will be in the
midst of them: Fulfill now, O Lord, our desires and petitions
as may be best for us; granting us in this world knowledge of
your truth, and in the age to come life everlasting. Amen.