On this sixth and last Sunday of Pascha, let us take stock of all that we have witnessed in this season of the Resurrection. We are presented in this morning’s Gospel with a most awesome miracle, the healing of a man blind from birth, and we are invited to behold the resurrected Christ in one last and final image, as the Light of the World.
St. John the Beloved begins his first epistle, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.” (I John 1:1) And this morning’s Gospel also from St. John confirms this verifying faith through the testimony of another apostle, Thomas...
Beloved in the Lord, As I was preparing this sermon for this wonderful Sunday in the 5th Week of Great Lent, I was reminded of an old negro spiritual: “Go down, Moses, way down in Egypt land. Tell ole’ Pharoah to let my people go.” The land of Egypt. In ancient times, this land served as a symbol of luxury and indulgence, even for the thousands of slaves she employed to make these rich services possible. When Moses and his brother Aaron (whose memory we commemorate today) sought at God’s command to deliver his people from their bondage to Pharaoh, they were reluctant, preferring the comfort of Egypt’s fleshpots to the freedom offered by Almighty God…
Good morning all. In her book, Who is God, Who am I, Who are you, Dee Pennock has a chapter called "Everybody plays God." Our teen group has been reading this book, but it is not just for young people. This is a book that every Orthodox Christian should read and re-read. Everybody plays God. Do you believe that? Do you know what she is talking about here? What does it mean for a person to "play God'? Is it really true that we all, even us good Orthodox Christians do this? Here at Mid-Lent I am hopeful that we have been spiritually strengthened enough to consider this as a real and recurring problem. A problem that we all must learn to deal with.
Today is the Second Sunday of our Lenten struggle. As many of you know, with all of the Sundays in Lent, we have the Epistle and Gospel readings along with a special commemoration. And just like last week, we celebrate another ‘triumph of Orthodoxy’ as the Church holds before us St. Gregory Palamas.
For over 1000 yrs. the Orthodox have celebrated the first Sunday of Great Lent as The Triumph of Orthodoxy, or just simply, The Sunday of Orthodoxy. When this celebration was first instituted in 878 AD. it marked the defeat of the iconoclastic movement within the Church and strongly affirmed the legitimacy of icon veneration as an important aspect of living and expressing the Orthodox Faith...
Beloved in the Lord, This sermon was not an easy one for me to write this week. This always happens to me as we approach the Doors of Repentance, Holy and Great Lent. I am filled with so many lofty ideas about what it would take to fix the world, but that isn’t the point, is it? Lent is an invitation to fix what’s inside of me, and I don’t know about you, but I would far rather be doing something else.
It is an easy, and common mistake, to find in our Gospel reading about the "sheep and the goats”, a rationale for a kind of works based salvation. Such works of "charity" as Jesus describes in this account can, and should, be the expected fruit of a living and active Faith. However, the whole point of these Pre-Lenten Sunday Gospel lessons is to focus our attention on, and hopefully awaken our awareness of, the condition and state of our hearts. As Fr Seraphim used to say, "Everything outward can be a counterfeit", even acts of charity.
St. Theophan the Recluse once wrote that; “People rarely speak like the Pharisee in words, but in the feeling of their heart they are rarely unlike him." The Scriptures tell us that Jesus told this Parable " to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others" Is this then really applicable to us? Yes it is. The desire to look good in our own eyes is common to everyone and people derive a dark pleasure from feeling themselves to be better than others.
Beloved in the Lord, “One Lord, one faith, and one Baptism,” has led us all to the, “… unity of faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God,” as it says in this morning’s epistle proscribed for the Sunday after Theophany, the Feast of Our Lord’s Baptism which we celebrated last Friday. Look around yourself this morning to behold the evidence of this unexpected unity.
O COME ALL YE FAITHFUL So says the beautiful Christmas carol - a call for us to gather at "Bethlehem", the place where Christ will appear. Our outer Bethlehem is the Temple where the faithful gather to worship Christ, to adore Him. Our inner Bethlehem is the human heart, where we encounter Him most vividly. Our Nativity Fast is a Spiritual journey whereby both the outer and the inner Bethlehem are brought together in the celebration of the Great Feast. That celebration now draws near and like lines converging on a central point we become more aware of all the others who are likewise gathering - all the faithful.