The Apostles Peter & Paul: Sent Out to Save the World!
Deacon Constantine Lazarakis
By a show of hands, who here has been sent out on a mission?
Allow the youth of parish to raise their hands.
How many out there have jobs?
Allow the youth of the parish to raise their hands indicating their employment status.
OK, some of us have jobs.
How many of you have played sports, on a team with a coach?
Allow them to raise their hands again.
OK, good. How many of us have parents and teachers who give us things to do, assignments or errands, chores?
Again, allow them to raise their hands. At this point, everyone should have his or her hands up.
That pretty much makes everybody. So each and every one of us has been given an assignment, or a task to complete by someone in authority. Right? That means that each of us has been given a mission.
This month, the Church takes time to remember the Saints, Peter and Paul. We call Peter and Paul, the first called of the Apostles. Now a lot of us have heard about Saints Peter and Paul. We may even know something about their lives, and a lot of us have heard the word Apostle before. But the question is weather or not we know what the word Apostle means. Who were the Apostles? What does it mean to be an Apostle? And the biggest question of the day: What does apostleship have to do with GOYA and JOY members at the Church of ( Church Name) in ( City Name).
First, what does it mean to be an Apostle? What does the word mean? Any Ideas? (Allow answers to come from the young people listening) Jesus had twelve Apostles. They went around with Jesus. They followed him as he preached in Synagogues, healed the sick, and taught people to love God and one another. They followed him until he was arrested and killed. And then when Christ had risen from the dead, He gave them a mission. He sent them out on a task. He said to them, “Go therefore making disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.” (Matt 28:19-20) That is what it is to be an Apostle. From the Greek word that means to be sent, an Apostle is someone God has sent out to spread the word of God.
That is a tough mission. Think about the hardship that characters in the movies go through when they are sent on missions. Think about Frodo nearly being killed on his quest to destroy the evil ring of power. Think about the hardship that coach in Remember the Titans. He was on a mission to find equality, and think of all the went through.
The Apostles were persecuted for their mission too. They were laughed at, beat up, kicked out of towns, arrested, had rocks thrown at them, all because they wouldn’t give up on the mission Christ had given them. But the reward for the mission was huge. The Apostles healed the sick, made the blind see, became saints, and now live in Heaven with God.
So now that we know what it means to be an Apostle, what does it mean for you? The fact is that God has called you to be an apostle. If you are believer, if you have been baptized and want to be a Christian, if you want to follow Christ, then Christ is calling you to go out and teach people the word of God.
You’re an apostle, and you have to big responsibilities. Just like the Apostles followed Christ and listened to his teaching, you need to learn the teachings of Christ. Wipe the dust off of your bible and start reading. Ask your priest questions about the faith. Pray everyday for guidance.
And as you are learning about Christ, take the opportunity to let others know what you are learning. When a friend asks you what your church believes, take the time to carefully tell them what you have learned. Invite them to come to Divine Liturgy with you one Sunday.
importantly, let your actions reflect your faith. When someone is
always being picked on, show that person kindness. When others are
drinking or doing drugs, don’t participate. When you have a chance to
help, do it. People will notice your Christian Character, and
in that way, you will be spreading Christ’s teaching, fulfilling your
role as an Apostle.
Department of Outreach & Evangelism • June 2004Deacon Constantine Lazarakis is a graduate of Hellenic College and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, and currently serves as Associate Director of the Department of Youth & Young Adult Ministries and Ionian Village Camp Director. He and his wife Anastasia live in New York.
Visit the Ionian Village web site at www.ionianvillage.org