St. Seraphim of Sarov Orthodox Church
872 N. 29th St. Boise, ID
an American parish of the Russian Orthodox Church
Homily on the First and the Last, the Living One - St. Nicholai (Velimirovic) of Ochrid

“Fear not; I am the first and the last; I am He that liveth and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore. Amen.” (Rev. 1:17-18)

Thus said the Lord Jesus to His beloved disciple John in a vision on the island of Patmos. Fear not – what? Fear not the persecution of the Church by the pagans. Fear not the torturers who martyr My faithful on all sides. Fear not kings who raise up persecution against the Christians. Fear not the successors of the chief men of this world, who ridicule My humiliation and My death. Fear not the demons, who blind men by the passions so that they do not see the truth that I brought on earth. Fear nothing!

Lord how do I not fear? When the whole world gathers to ridicule us to our faces, small in number and unretaliating as we are, how can we not fear?

Fear not, for I am the first and the last, Alpha and Omega, and all those armies of mockers against you are nothing but a transient whirlwind of corpses.  I am from before time began, and I am after time ends; before the beginning of all and after the fulfillment of all things created, I am. And they are all shut up in the one span of time which I have measured out to every creature, and beyond that span they cannot extend. 

Fear not, for “I was dead; and behold, I am alive”. Do not even fear death. I am before death and after death. Death is My servant and I sent death into the world to serve Me. I gave Myself into My servant’s hands for three days, and then commanded him to let Me go – and behold, I am alive. I am the ruler of death as of life. I am the ruler of time as of eternity. Fear not! I am alive for evermore and you will be alive in Me; you and all who remain faithful to me and are unafraid will be alive with Me. I am Alpha and Omega.

O eternal and immortal Lord, grant that these Thy words may ever sound in the souls of Thy faithful people whenever persecution rises up against Thy holy Church. Let us not fear, being held by Thy right hand. To Thee be glory and praise for ever. Amen.