I was able to connect a couple of dots for myself recently. Dot one was the passage in the Lord's Prayer/Our Father in which we say "Thy will be done." (did you ever think deeply about that?) Then, rather recently, I noted St. Paul essentially saying in Scripture "not my will, but Thine, O Lord." I am afraid this is clearly a case of having read both the Biblical reference and saying "Our Father" many, many times without being impacted as I suspect God's intended.
Of course, I always agreed that the Lord's will should come to pass in our space and time but didn't really think too much about what the implications of that were to me. But wait a minute, I see this a little differently now. I believe what we are being told is that there is an unspoken addendum that is "Lord, what will you have me do? Oh my.
Yes, sure, the Lord God can accomplish anything and everything quite comfortably on His own, BUT it also seems he likes for us to engage ourselves to His ends. "What will you have ME do, O Lord?" to borrow from St. Paul. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only 'me' out there. The Lord God means all of us. ALL of us.
You knew I would get here, and this brings me to our Bookstore. We have a hit on our hands: Crazy John, by Dionysios Makris (2010). This has just been translated to English by the Sisters at St. John the Forerunner, in Goldendale. We had an initial order of four which sold out in a week. We've never sold four of anything in a week over the last two years that I have looked after the bookstore, and now four more are in-bound from Goldendale.
So who is Crazy John? Apparently quite a few of you know or have heard of him and this book (fiction-ish). Most simply, John is a Fool for Christ in more of less modern day Athens. As most of you know, we have had a fair number of Fools for Christ in the Orthodox Church, and several are counted among the Saints we recognize annually. The real power of John's story working with and among his neighbors and others in Athens is both its setting in our time and the holiness he projects to so many in the spiritually barren modern landscape.
But it is more than that. John is a do-er. He is (one of) God's right-hand men taking on most difficult human needs and corruptions (let's call that sin) and bringing about transformation in individuals, businesses, communities and beyond. This is a most engaging book. If you are an active Orthodox Christian you may well read this right through. It will grip your attention, lift your spirit and encourage you to some action . . . or greater action.
I do not exaggerate in saying you will easily believe yourself an onlooker to the activities of John. I believe both his actions and the response of others to him, both the inevitable negative and ultimately favorable reactions, will ring true to you as a citizen of THIS point in time.
I do not want to share the actual stories of this book. That is for your pleasure and possibly holy moments as you cruise through the 132 pages of Crazy John. But I can tell you this is a popular read, and should you wish to pick up a copy you should do so at your first opportunity. If we are out again in the Bookstore, be assured I will order more.
I found John, not so Crazy John, to be fulfilling St. Paul's question, "What will you have me do, O Lord?" John, I think, is doing what many could do . . . even should do, and his behavior is only crazy viewed from the point of view of secular society whether in contemporary Athens or 2012 western Oregon.
This book is selling itself, and it is the first volume of a promised series from author Makris. I hope he is at his computer station right now banging out Volume 2. I can't wait.