The Meaning of the Cross

September 12, 2010 Leave a comment

Today, being the Sunday before the Elevation of the Cross, Fr Gregory’s homily was about the Cross – and its meaning for us. I hope you can 1) access the link successfully, and 2) hear it – you may have to adjust volume at times. We record using a digital voice recorder, *without* a mic, so sound quality isn’t the best around.

Find the audio here….

Categories: Uncategorized

It’s Been a While

July 2, 2010 Leave a comment

Last night, we attended a visitation and service for the father of one of our fellow parishioners who passed last week. Neither Judy or I knew him personally, yet we were blessed to have learned a little about him, courtesy of the family members who had the courage to speak. In this regard, thank you Charles and Cheryl, Greg and the others, especially the grandsons.

Our priest, Fr. Gregory, presided over the service. We and others from our parish also had the privilege to participate in the service, singing and reading. For Judy & myself, it was the first such service as Orthodox Christians.

This morning, Fr. Stephen at ‘Glory to God for All Things‘ posted a blog titled “Envy and the Fullness of God“.  Since it begins by talking about a funeral, it seems appropriate to introduce it here.

We stand mournfully around the grave, letting the strains of the hymn find their resolution in the final chord. The priest approaches the coffin, now closed and ready for lowering into the grave. The closing of the grave begins with a single handful of dirt. The priest tosses the dirt with the words: “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.”

Dirt. Fullness. Less. More.

Fullness seems strangely contradictory to the mood of a funeral. The pain of loss and the emptiness of a life that seems to have gone from the midst of us speak not of fullness but of scarcity. I will not hear that voice, hold you close to me or listen carefully for your footsteps.

No setting could be more stark in which to proclaim “fullness.”

But it is at the grave that we are perhaps most clearly confronted with the claims of our faith. For it is here at the grave that God made His own final assault on the myths and fears of a world dominated by death. This world of death always proclaimed the sovereignty of sorrow, the ascendancy of scarcity.

From the abundance of Paradise man falls into a world in which thorns and thistles dominate:

Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground (Genesis 3:17-19).

But now, standing at this funeral, the priest proclaims, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.”

What fullness? Again it is the assault of God on the world man has made. The earth is not the kingdom of scarcity, but now the Kingdom of God. The grave is not the gate of Hades, but the gate of Paradise. Fullness can again be proclaimed for the grave has been ruptured and cannot hold its prey.

[…]

The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. The emptiness of death has been filled with such an abundance of life that it has been trampled beneath the feet of those who walk the way of Christ. In this fullness we can do more than give – we can love even to the excess of forgiveness. My enemy has stolen nothing from the abundance that fills my life.

[…]

Envy is perhaps the most subtle of sins. Even in the desert where no one possesses anything, there is always something about another that we can find to envy. Our adversary, himself dominated by his envy of God, will always have envious suggestions to make to us.

To combat envy several things are necessary:

We must believe that God is good.

We must believe that God’s will for us in particular is good.

We must believe that God’s goodness is without limit.

We must believe that God’s goodness, shed upon someone else, does not come at our expense.

And finally, it closes with this:

Envy has no place within the Christian life. It belongs to those who drive nails into the flesh of God and taunt Him with their perceived victory. When all is said, they will stand as mute as fish, unable to cry, “Alleluia.”

Ouch.

Lots more stuff in the post – go see it in its entirety.

Here’s to You Kid….

April 15, 2010 2 comments

I am always amazed at our friend over at the Scrap Heap. He has a gift for writing; he is also able to write honestly about the most difficult of topics – self, and all the while making us laugh. I have admired his willingness to share so openly those things many of us feel but are either unable, or unwilling, to put into words. And then to share those words with others, wow.

But the Scrap Heap, in hindsight so prophetically named, has been tossed into the land ‘o blogs landfill, and is no more.

Thank you my friend. Perhaps you will resurface under another identity, to share your gift with all of us who have come to eagerly anticipate the next offering.

Love you, buddy

Categories: Uncategorized

A Possible Manuever by the Dems in the Senate?

March 25, 2010 Leave a comment
From a post on USA Today:
 
 “As Senate Republicans try to force changes to the health care bill, Vice President Joe Biden stands ready to race to Capitol Hill if necessary to break any ties.”
The story continues on with, and is mostly about, Joe Biden’s public language transgression. However, this makes me wonder if this is a tactic the Democratic party may employ in the Senate. If the Dems find they cannot muster the 60 votes necessary to pass a new bill (should the Republicans be successful in their bid to force another vote in the Senate), they could very well manipulate the voting such as to intentionally create a tie, thereby allowing ‘Uh-Oh, here’s Joe’ to break the manufactured tie. Sure, it would be a risky manuever, but if they don’t the votes on a new bill, then why not take the chance?
 
Whatever happened to “representative republic”?

Why We Fast

February 15, 2010 Leave a comment

People are often intrigued by, or some may be wary of, the fasting that takes place in the Orthodox Church when they become aware of the practice. There is much that can be said about fasting, and plenty has been said by many. But as today marks the beginning of the Great Fast (Lent), Fr. Stephen has a post that talks about why we fast. When all is said and done, this post may leave one asking oneself “Why don’t we fast”? Enjoy.

Perseverance – What Does It Look Like?

December 19, 2009 2 comments

Well, this is one example:

Calvin and Hobbes

Source:

A Hymn of Thanksgiving

November 25, 2009 Leave a comment

The following Akathist Hymn, while not written for our annual Thanksgiving holiday in the United States, nonetheless is timely for the season as well as timeless in that every day is a ‘season’ for Thanksgiving. Enjoy.

Akathist of Thanksgiving

“Glory to God for All Things”

Kontakion 1

Everlasting King, Thy will for our salvation is full of power. Thy right arm controls the whole course of human life. We give Thee thanks for all Thy mercies, seen and unseen. For eternal life, for the heavenly joys of the Kingdom which is to be. Grant mercy to us who sing Thy praise, both Read more…

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