MESSAGE TO SERVANTS OF THE WORD
Father Matta El-Meskeen (Matthew the Poor)
SERVANT OF THE WORD is considered by Christ a branch in the vine, and to
the degree he remains in the vine he bears fruit. Christ says, “Remain in me, and I
will remain in you.”1 Remaining in the vine includes the arrival of the vine’s sap to the
branches, and remaining in Christ insures the arrival of the spoken word and even
insures it will be influential and productive.
What binds the vine with the branches is the living Word. To a servant of the Word
the Gospel is his life, which he draws each day from the Gospel. To the degree a servant
lives by the Gospel, from it will come words of life which bring life to souls whose
purpose in hearing them is to live by them.
The word of life in the Gospel is what is meant by Christ when he said, “I am the
living water,” “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in
me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”2 The
word of the Gospel is an impact thrust by the servant into an emaciated man about to die
in his sins so that he rises to life and glorifies the living God who saved him from such a
death. Driven by the power of the Lord of the Word and the Lord of life, the Gospel
raises to life those dead in their sin, through the living Word that comes from the mouth
of the servant. In the voice of the servant Christ calls, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come
to me and drink,’ and he will become a spring of living water.
To the thirsty man Christ is a mysterious call to the captives of sin that has sucked
their blood and left them hanging between life and death. A servant of the Word is the
horn of the Lord calling to those who thirst for righteousness and truth to repent and to
become a source of life after having walked the path of hell. The servant who is faithful
with sinful souls calls and never stops calling, in the hope that those at the brink of death
will hear and their spirits will turn back and rise up like the younger son who came to
The relationship between the branches and the vine is existential in the sense that
when there is a vine there are branches. To the heavenly Father the branch is priceless
because he is the vine keeper who grows the branches and makes them increase on the
vine so that the vine becomes as the vine keeper desires, and he comes at the right time
to harvest its fruit.
Servants of the Word also are branches in the vine, and for the Father they bear fruit.
They are precious to the vine keeper, meaning they are called by him to enter eternal
life. By their fruit they stand before the vine keeper as heirs of the vine, possessors of
the kingdom of heaven. So the invitation to eternal life is one of the most important
elements of ministry. Though the gate to which they are called is narrow and the path they walk troublesome, the kingdom of heaven presented to them and their disciples is
abundant.3 Though they, and we with them, are not of this world,4 ‘we have a building
from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands,’5 but built by the
heavenly Father and the Son, in which he gives life to his guests, and all of them are
‘members of God’s household.’6
In the end, servants of the Word are servants of eternal life.
August 5, 2005
1 John 15:4.
2 John 7:37-38.
3 2 Peter 1:11.
4 John 17:16.
5 2 Cor. 5:1.
6 Eph. 2:19
Father Matta El-Meskeen
The Incarnation Song of the Apostle Paul
Phil 2:11 “And every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
“That Jesus Christ is Lord” KÚrioj 'Ihsoàj
This was revealed and proclaimed on the Day of Pentecost by the Holy Spirit: “let all the house
of Israel therefore know assuredly that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus
whom you crucified” (Acts 2:36). The juxtaposition of “Lord and Christ” gives the word ‘Lord’
its divine quality. Consequently, what the Holy Spirit proclaimed has entered into the core of
the Christian faith: “because, if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in
your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom 10:9). To confess Jesus
is Lord is to confess his divinity, in the sense that [the title] “Lord” in the Old Testament came
to replace [the name] “Yahweh”. The church thus confirms that no one can proclaim that Jesus
is the Lord except through the Holy Spirit. The Spirit alone reveals it, to pure and faithful hearts.
“No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor 12:3).
Excerpt from St Mark, Monthly Review, June 1997.
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