Friday, January 31, 2014
Okay, I made this commercial for Children's Bible Quizzing program in my protestant parish. I think it's pretty good. I mean, I can't quit my day job and make commercials for a living but I think it's a good amateur effort. Everyone had fun making the video at least! Enjoy and tell me what you think.
Sunday, January 19, 2014
I am easily Distracted; just like this man
photo by Michael Summers, used under the creative commons license.
check out more photos here:
The thought (just a passing thought) came to me last night in Vespers that I was just wasting my time. I suppose that Satan's team is trying to get me from attending to spiritual matters. This could easily happen if I let it. I could just seek comfort at home watching Netflix and I find that I don't really like to go out at night anymore. Thankfully, I remember (with the help of my guardian angel I am sure) that attending to Spiritual things is an important thing to do. So despite not really "feeling like it," I attended service.
Fr. Gary was away so Fr. Sergious was leading us. He has a nice, deep voice which I like to listen to. After the service everyone gathered in little circles to talk. I know I could have hung around and joined one of them but I decided to leave.
I highly recommend the book Sojourning with Angels but we warned, he uses profane language which comes from the mouths of people and demons alike in his book. I liked it because it added a realism that I think helpped me accept the truth of spiritual matters. If you end up reading, comment below and tell me what you think.
Blessings to you till next time!
Check out the trailer for the book below:
Sunday, January 5, 2014
|My Parish ☺|
The service began and I stood with the faithful, offering my worship and helping some, I hope, by my meager prayers. I was looking forward to the homily but I forgot that on the first Saturday of the month, Father Gary leads a General Confession and forgoes the homily. That is fine I suppose. Like many, I have sins to confess so I did. At the end of the General Confession, we all kiss the Cross that Father Gary holds before we leave the Nave. It was good to be active in worship by doing something as opposed to my protestant parish where really all we do is sing hymns and choruses and listen to spontaneous prayers from one of the Pastors. I especially like the mini-liturgies that happen in Orthodoxy. For example, as Father Gary held up the Cross for us to kiss, he'd say, "Christ is in our midst" and the response is "He is and always shall be." Besides being cool, things like that help me remember to include Christ in my entire life.
One act of kindness that caught my eye as we were worshiping tonight I noticed that Reader Tim, who leads the choir, suddenly left the Nave and I thought, "Where in the world is he going?" but he soon returned with a box of tissues and offered it to a girl in the choir who apparently was fighting a cold. If she was, it certainly didn't effect her voice, which sounded as beautiful as ever as she sang a solo psalm. I know that is a small thing but our lives are made up of small things which shape our character. Small acts of kindnesses help us achieve the Kingdom.
As I was walking out the door, the ever-cheerful Tami approached me and gave me a hug, glad to see me after such a long time. I talked a little bit about my job and she mentioned her new job which she is grateful is close to her house. She said she hoped she'd see me again soon and I said, I hope so, too.
And that is the truth; I hope I return again soon.
Glory to Jesus Christ; Glory forever!
Sunday, November 24, 2013
Saturday, November 16, 2013
When I was a teenager and very much a born-again, tongues-talking, charasmatic Christian, I remember when Billy Graham came out with the Book Angels: God's Secret Agents so I rushed to the huge Christian book store in Manhatten and was about to ask about the book when a very old lady came up to the counter and asked, "Do you have the book, Angels, Angels, Angels by Billy Graham?" Uh, lady, that's not what it's called but looking at the graphics on the book, I can see how this dear woman thought that was the title. In any event, the book by Billy Graham was a really interesting read and since it was so long ago I don't remember any details of the book, I can say that I remember that I really liked it. Angels, you see, are a fascinating subject.
And, of course, the Church holds angels in honor which is only appropriate since they look out for us and guide us to Christ. The Vespers service was inspiring, as always and it was a delight to behold the icons of Gabriel and Michael on the doors as we sang their hymns.
When I told my son that I was going to Vespers that evening, I told him we were commemorating St. Michael. He told me, that only humans can be Saints and not angels. I told him he was wrong since they are in heaven praying for us. Then when I got to Vespers I noticed that in the hymns Michael was referred to as archangel and not Saint Michael.
So my question is for those of you who are more knowledgeable than I: Are angels ever called Saints or is that just reserved for those people on earth who have struggled toward Salvation? I think the Roman Catholics call Angels, Saints and perhaps that is what I was thinking about when I referred to Michael as St. Michael. So, please, enlighten me! ☺
Fr. Gary's homily was a short teaching on Angels, their ranks and how they act on our behalf. Some "modern" Christians don't believe in Angels but I am glad that the Orthodox hold them in high regard. I do know that I shall have to thank my Guardian Angel when I see him and apologize for messing up so much. But maybe I have an angel that likes to keep busy so, perhaps, he doesn't mind me messing up so much. After all, I wonder how much work angels have if their charges happen to be Saints already.
Holy Angels, pray for us!
Sunday, November 3, 2013
When I walked into the Church two Saturdays ago (October 20th would be #119), I went up the side steps to the Church, as I normally do but I won't be doing that anymore (more on that later.) I was happy to be in Church early and I said a prayer for my wife's two uncles, both of whom were in the hospital that very week. It was comforting to be in the presence of Saints, whose prayers I "felt" and it seemed easy to offer my own prayers, knowing those in Heaven are helping me through. I know people say they feel God everywhere, especially in nature (or on a golf course Sunday morning) but to be in a Church that has been set apart for Worship and consecrated by a Bishop is something that should not be downplayed. In Church, you can get close to God. Yes, God is everywhere but there are places on earth where God can be more easily sensed. I was glad to be in Church and pray for my family.
Father Deacon Alexander, newly assigned to our parish, led an Adult education class on Thursday. I was able to attend and there I was happy to see Jim Martin and Tiffany. Deacon Alexander was talking about the structure of the Church (the physical building) and said that always in an Orthodox Church, there are steps leading up to the front doors. In this way, the faithful can remember that they are ascending to the Kingdom. Now I always liked to come in through the side doors (which took me to the Narthex) and even though they too have stairs, I think that I am missing the teaching point for myself if I don't come in through the front doors. Every time I ascend the steps in order to attend a divine service, I am reminding myself how I am connecting with the Kingdom of God. So for now on, it's the front doors for me.
Last night, (#120), I put Father Deacon Alexander's lesson to heart and walked through the front doors. On the way up the stairs, I uttered a short pray. I came early so I didn't feel rushed as I venerated the icons. That's a good thing. I need to work on being less "self conscious" and more "God conscious." Fr. Gary was not there last night and Father Sergious filled in while Deacon Alexander sang in the choir. Fr Sergious has a deep voice which is very pleasant to listen to.
Today, (Sunday) is my last day of my online class. (Yay!) After I post this entry, I am going to take a final exam which is almost three hours long. I woke up early so I can finish in time to attend church with my wife and son at my protestant parish.
Thanks again for all your prayers and comments!
Sunday, October 13, 2013
|It's hard to stay angry, if you want to be obedient to the Scriptures|
photo by Dave Appleby, used under the creative commons license.
check out more photos at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dave_apple/
Enter Sacred Scripture: While sitting listening to the Old Testament readings being chanted at Vespers last night, I heard a passage from Deuteronomy:
Therefore, circumcise your heart and stop being stubborn.
Now, I have been accused by my family members in the past of being stubborn and they may be right so when I heard the command in Deuteronomy, it did get my attention. So, the first chance I got, when I got home from Vespers, I went into my son's room and apologized. He seemed grateful to hear it. I guess when Fr. Gary says, "Let us be attentive" right before the readings, he does so for a good reason!
I have a question: There was someone else with Fr. Gary, leading in most of the prayers. I think he was a Deacon but I was not sure. Are Deacons ever allowed to go through the Royal Doors or is that only for Priests? I saw this man the last time I was here and I couldn't figure out if he was a Priest or not. He did incense the Icons during part of the service. Is that only for Priests to do? Last night, at the beginning of Vespers, he said to something to the effect of "Arise and worship" and in doing so, he called Fr. Gary Master instead of Father. I meant to ask Tammi about it last night we got to talking about other things and I forgot.
Speaking of Tammi, she was all excited to tell me about an interview on Ancient Faith Radio of Rick Warren, the Southern Baptist Mega church Pastor. It was a great interview and I was impressed by his humility and willingness to reach out to all Christians! You can listen here if you like
Thanks for reading!