Pope Shenouda III of the Coptic Orthodox Church was known as the ‘teacher of generations.’ I had the privilege of attending the beloved 87-year-old deliver one of his Wednesday weekly sermons back in 2010.
Five years later, in post-revolutionary Egypt, I watched his successor Pope Tawadros continue the tradition. He preached on Esther, and for unrelated reasons, a mini-protest broke out.
Now in 2018, for the first time I have noticed the weekly sermon translated into English, provided by the Coptic Media Center.
I am not certain if this will become a new tradition, but if so it will be fitting. The Coptic Orthodox Church is international, with many English-speaking congregations in the US and Canada (and the UK).
For those interested in the spirituality of the Coptic pope, here is an excerpt from his text. Pope Tawadros spoke on Mark 10:46-52, the story of blind Bartimaeus.
It is entitled: What Do You Want Me to Do for You?
Lessons we can learn from the story of the blind man for our spiritual journey:
1. Be persistent in prayer: don’t stop asking God for help, with patience & confident faith. Continuous crying out (praying) demonstrates a strong need for help.
2. Jesus hears your prayer from amongst the crowds: your short & simple prayers are heard by Christ and He responds to them.
3. The #1 goal of Satan is to prevent you from reaching Christ: just as the people tried to prevent/discourage the blind man from reaching Christ, Satan does with us when we are praying. FOCUS on the goal: to reach Christ, & do not listen to thoughts of doubt – your own or others’.
a. Remember the miracle of the demon-possessed man who was also blind and mute? (Matthew 12:22) It reveals that sin denies a person 3 things: thinking about Christ, talking to Christ, and seeing Christ.
4. Throw away anything that stands between you and God: be ready to QUICKLY detach from things, habits, etc. God reveals to you to let go of.
5. The importance of your will: “What do you want Me to do for you?” shows that God not only respects your will, but that your CONSENT IS NECESSARY to allow God to work in your situation.
6. You are a partner with God: God will give you the ability to do what is needed to do, but you must participate with your faith, your repentance, your prayers, your persistence, and your will.
7. Be definitive in your prayer request to Christ: Imagine if the blind man’s response to Christ had been, “I want some money,” or “I don’t know what I want,” that would have been a wasted opportunity. Go to Christ prepared, knowing what it is you want Him to do for you.
8. Follow Jesus after He heals you: after Jesus heals/helps you, will you follow Him?
Click here for the full sermon on the Coptic Spokesman’s Facebook page.