Changing the Pattern of Reality

Reality manifests itself in repeated patterns. Some have called these fractal patterns [1]. A fractal is a shape that repeats itself as you zoom in on it. So, when you look at the little parts that make up the whole, you realize they are the same or similar to the whole image.

The Old Testament of the Bible gives us the fractal pattern of reality. That pattern is roughly the following: humanity forgets or rejects God, we try to elevate ourselves, and consequently, we endure suffering and death.

We see it begin in Adam and Eve, the first humans. The serpent tempted Eve by telling her the forbidden fruit would make her divine. Rather than divinity, however, she and Adam received suffering and death.

We see it in Adam and Eve’s sons, Cain and Abel. Abel offered pleasing sacrifices to God, while Cain’s were rejected. Cain perhaps thought that by killing Abel, the divinity would have no choice but to accept his sacrifices. He was wrong. He could not force God into his plans, and he suffered greatly for his sin.

Noah and his family were the last righteous ones on earth. The world forgot God and fell into murderous chaos around them. God sent a flood, destroying everyone except the one family.

Abraham received an amazing promise from God. He waited many years, and when the promise was not fulfilled in what he believed was a reasonable amount of time, he tried to fulfill the promise through human effort with Hagar. Suffering and difficulties ensued.

The whole story of Israel is one of a nation turning away from God, trying to attain pleasure or significance on their own, God lifting his hand of protection, and enemy forces bringing devastation upon the people.

Even the End Times are a repetition of this story. There will arise a man whom we call the Antichrist, who will lead people away from God. He will exalt himself over God, displaying himself as the epitome of human power, success, wealth, and knowledge. The Antichrist’s number is the Mark of the Beast, that is 666. Six is the number of man, for we were created on the sixth day. The Antichrist is six, but so emphatically so, that it is six repeated thrice.

Seven, on the other hand, is the number of God; it is the number of completion and perfection. A title for God is KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS (Rev. 19:16), which has the numerical value of 777. God is so emphatically perfect and complete, that He is seven thrice. Our Lord Jesus’ name in Greek is 888 (see the article on the Mark of the Beast for more on ancient gematria).

Today[2], the Church draws our attention to the Tower of Babel. The world’s great leaders thought they could build a tower into the heavens. By doing so, they could assert greater influence – perhaps complete control – over the deities in the heavens. But God interferes. He confuses their language. Then, the people – once united against God – are divided against each other.

That division of nation against nation, people against people, continues to the present day. It seems we can’t get past it.

However, we have come to a new day: the 50th day of Paschaltide. Again, the number of God is seven, and seven times seven gives us 49. This 7×7 denotes fullness, perfection, and completeness like nothing else.

When we add one, we get to 50, which represents that fullness and completion stretching into eternity. It is like Pascha, which is considered the eighth day, the day that breaks outside of the cycle of weeks, the day outside of time and space, the eternal day that never ends.

Pentecost is the beginning of the Church and the eschaton, the end of all things.

Pentecost is the reversal of the Tower of Babel, and thereby, the reversal of this entire fractal pattern of death. It changes reality. Today on Pentecost, tongues of fire issue forth from the heavens, uniting all of humanity in praise of God. The Tower of Babel has fallen but a new tower, the Church, has been constructed by God.

Humanity was estranged from God, at enmity with Him. But our Lord took upon Himself our humanity, bridging the chasm between the wasteland of death we created and the heavenly paradise to which we are called. Now, on Pentecost, the Holy Spirit is sent among us – God dwelling with us and within us to bring to completion the divine work started by the Son of God.

Now, in the words of St. Seraphim of Sarov, we are to orient our entire purpose and existence toward one thing: the acquisition of the Holy Spirit. That acquisition means a new Pentecost within every person who believes.

No longer are we estranged from God; no longer are we estranged from one another. We now have Pentecost forming within us – the beginning and end of all things. We can now be at peace with God, with each other, and with ourselves.

No longer do we have to settle with fractal patterns of brokenness and death due to the fractured spirit within us. A new Spirit has been given to us, as the Lord prophesied through Ezekiel in last night’s Vespers, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” (Ez. 36:26).

Our Lord ascended into heaven and sent us the Holy Spirit to transform us into little Christs. But we must make ourselves ready vessels to receive this Holy Spirit. We do so through obedience to God’s commands and repentance when we fall. We accept that we have a lot of work to do inside, and that our transformation will likely be slow and even painful at times.

Today we are faced with a choice: will we continue building the Tower of Babel within us — a life dominated by self-will, selfishness, and a desire to control? Or will we allow Pentecost to begin?

There are many things to distract us from beginning our journey toward an inward Pentecost – including the turmoil that the world is currently in. There is much talk about the end times and the Antichrist today. But if you were paying attention, you’ll already know that the Antichrist is defeated. Pentecost has happened. Yes, he’ll arise one of these days, he’ll bring suffering and devastation for a time, he’ll kill Christians and blaspheme God.

But then he loses. He cannot win because God has already declared through Pascha and Pentecost that the fractal pattern of humanity’s Fall into sin and death is to be broken forever.

So, what is stopping us, my brothers and sisters? There will always be temptations, scandals, trials, persecutions, and sorrows going on outside of us. But inwardly, we can ascend into the Upper Room. It was in an Upper Room that our Lord first gave us His precious Body and Blood; and it was in an Upper Room that humanity received the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost [3].

God is calling us to that Upper Room of the heart, to ascend to Him through love, the virtues, and asceticism. There in that Upper Chamber, we receive our Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Kingdom of Heaven, and everything that is eternal.

[1] Jonathan Pageau is the one who brought this to my attention.

[2] This homily was delivered on Pentecost

[3] Cf. St. Gregory the Theologian, Oration 41 on Pentecost.

3 thoughts on “Changing the Pattern of Reality

  1. Apples Nicolle🍎 June 17, 2022 — 8:41 pm

    Beautiful post Fr Jeremy & good for you becoming Orthodox Christian & a Priest servant of God

  2. Adrienne Irene De Forrest June 18, 2022 — 3:49 am

    Thank you for another oration, Fr. Jeremy. I feel your peace, and also your appreciation of the sense of apprehension we feel we face in the world today. Thank you for this oration! and also for another beautiful icon. I am about to begin icon painting, myself. Dear Lord, may it be so.

    1. May the Lord bless your education in iconography! The icon in this article comes from a German Psalter that dates to the mid-1200s.

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