I am sorry I haven’t worked on articles about my trip to the St. Moses the Black (Ancient Faith Afro-American) Conference yet. Actually, I did type up a few rough drafts while in and on the road. I will get on it as soon as I have time and get better. Unfortunately, I haven’t been well and found out last Friday that my blood sugar level was 720. I was hospitalized over the weekend and just got home Monday afternoon. This morning, I tested out at 150. I feel dizzy. I’m ready for a morning nap.
I am grateful for the visits, prayers, and phone calls from my Trinity Baptist Church family and relatives on both sides of my family. Fr. James Purdie came with his eldest children. I kinda expected him to pray the Trisagion and offer up some other ancient prayers. He also gave me an icon of John the Baptist. This was no major surprise coming from an Orthodox priest. But, the more I sat and looked at the icon, the more I thought of how I need to make my patron saint a part of me.
John didn’t eat the most elaborate diet. I imagine locust and wild honey gets old kinda quick. Nor was he very fashionable (camel’s hair garment). I’m not much on clothes since I wear a uniform at work and a suit on Sundays. A couple of sport shirts, jeans, and khakis round out my wardrobe. I have to make a change in my eating and drinking. Deserts are not a big problem for me, except for holidays. I do okay on my weekly fast. But, I eat myself silly on non fast days. I don’t think there are too many juice-based drinks at the 7-11 that I have not tried and liked. Such beverages have been a major addiction of mine. On my trip to KC, I drank Hawaiian Punch like a comfort food. No wonder my blood sugar level was up to ridiculous. John and the later monastics had the right idea. We need only to eat and drink what is necessary for health.
Spiritually, John provides a role model of what is most important about the Christian faith. Repentance, giving to others, and living in expectation of seeing the Christ. Again, I am no fan of “get your praise on” worship. I don’t really get into buying stuff because I have little or no disposable income. I do worry that people see the Christian faith more as a “feel good, self help, get what you want in this world today” religion rather than the “deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Me” faith that Jesus calls us to. Could it be that we have spiritual diabetics who only want the sugar of earthly blessings and no balance of muscle building proteins of self sacrifice? Could it be that we have people with 720 blood glucose levels of praises instead of 60 to 100 of a prayer discipline? I think we all need to monitor our bodies and souls and the later is far more important.
Yeah, I honor the saints of Orthodox Christianity. Moses the Black, Cyprian of Carthage, Isaac the Syrian, Herman of Alaska, and others grace my icon corners. But, John was the true forerunner not only of our Lord. Except for the Theotokos (Virgin Mary), he was the role model for all saints. He is a role model for all Christians as well.