By Fr. Stephen Powley

During my years of being a prison chaplain I met many, many men who had mocked God. At that time they seemed to take delight in making fun of anything Holy. But God is not mocked (Galatians 6:7) and He too has a sense of humor. He seemed to take great pleasure in seeing some of these mockers commit their whole lives to Christ. He did this in many ways, even over the centuries.

Today, September 15th, we Orthodox remember the Holy Martyr Porphyrius. As an actor and comedian, he made jests about Christians for the Emperor Julian the Apostate. On one occasion, while mocking the Christian Mystery of Baptism, he immersed himself in water, pronouncing the words: “In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit!” When he emerged from the water he cried out: “Now I am a Christian!” Everyone thought that this was just another jest, but he remained steadfast. His spirit was suddenly changed and he had become a true Christian. Instead of mocking the Christian Faith, he began to denounce the emperor for his impure idolatry, for which he was tortured and beheaded in the year 361.

Many of the men I served as a chaplain can relate to St. Porphyrius. He took their mockery and incredibly transformed them into men of God. Oh my… I too can relate to St. Porphyrius. Back in my college days I denied the existence of God and became a huge mocker of Christ and Christianity. For those who know me now, that might be hard to believe. But the truth is, I would often pretend to preach to my partying friends total nonsense. One friend and I called people at random pretending to be a local preacher…all for laughs. Well, God too it seems has a sense of humor and He brought me to my knees in the Pacific Ocean while crewing on a sailboat (that’s another story). By God’s great mercy and love, he took this unworthy mocker and totally turned my life around…eventually calling me to become a prison chaplain and a priest in the Holy Orthodox Church. “To whom much is forgiven…much is expected” became my life story throughout this past 41+ years of serving the Lord. Truly God is not mocked!!

If you have a loved one who has wandered far from the Christ, becoming a mocker of Christ, and perhaps even landing in prison…please, pray for them! That is exactly what my Mom did for me! And the rest as they say is history!!!

Have a blessed week in our Lord Jesus Christ!!