Sunday, November 27, 2011

42 ~ The Meaning of life and also the number of Services I've attended.

Life, the Universe, and Everything Texture... or in other words, 42
photo by Patrick Hoesly, used under the creative commons license.
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Yes, I liked Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe and one of my favorite parts is when the Super computer spends millions of years figuring out the answer to life, universe and everything. And the Answer, according to Douglas Adams, is.....42!

Well, 42 is also the number of times I have been to the Orthodox Church. It was good to be in a place where Worship is taken so seriously! Fr Ken was leading us in Vespers with no Fr Gary in sight. This is the first time I have seen Fr Ken lead Vespers as a priest, although he did assist as a Deacon. Also, serving with him was his son, Bill. Since I am the eternal observer, even when I am "lost" in worship, I did notice that Bill, who was the lone altar server that evening, wasn't kidding when he told me, "I'm not going to kiss his hand." When he took the censor out of his father's hand, he just took it~ no kiss. Hey, that's okay! I bet it has to be a little weird for him.

That is one thing I like about Orthodoxy~ it's not about the rules, even though they are very strict.

Fr Ken gave a very short homily and it is the first I ever heard from him. He preached on the Gospel reading to be read the next morning but I was very familiar with the story. An old lady hunched over for 18 years and Jesus heals her but the pharisees are upset, of course, because the healing was done on the Sabbath.

I guess, in Pharisaical Judaism it is about the rules...and nothing else!

I liked that the homily was very short. In my protestant parish, although they do spend time in singing songs and their is a spirit of Worship, the main focus is the sermon! And although my pastor is very good, there are times when the illustration/story he tells becomes the centerpiece of his sermon, instead of just a simple explanation of the Bible. But, on this point, I will not judge. Others seemed to be very moved by his sermon and for that I am glad.

I had to rush out of there to get my son who was waiting to be picked up from work so I scooted right out of there. Next week, my wife and I are visiting relatives up north so no Vespers for me. I have been in contact with my pastor regarding Vespers and he said he hopes to go with me on "Orthodox Christmas". I think he is going by what he knows and he thinks that all Orthodox celebrate Christmas in January. That's old calendar, right?

Anyway, keep me in prayer this advent season, as I keep all of you!


  1. You are right -- it is only those on the Old Calendar who celebrate January 7. Those using the Revised Julian Calendar (including the big three in the U.S., the Greeks, Antiochians and OCA) celebrate on December 25.

  2. Moses,
    I wasn't sure which Jurisdiction used which calendar...thanks. I only knew about the OCA since my parish is OCA. I imagine ROCOR and Moscow are old calender?

  3. "I guess, in Pharisaical Judaism it is about the rules...and nothing else!"

    The nothing else is "love". We have to realize that God has given us rules - or ways to live - out of His infinite love for us. It is then incumbent upon us, if we choose to follow Him and His prescriptions for us, that we do so in love for Him. Following the form without the love is what Jesus accused the Pharisees of doing. Doing profound works of love that necessarily yet temporarily violate the form are not condemned by God as evidenced by Jesus' healing of the woman on the Sabbath.

  4. Wonderful post and a great conversation!

  5. The Russian Orthodox Church is on the Old, there are also some Old-calendar Greeks. The ACROD's older parishes are on the Old and the newer parishes - on the New Calendar.

  6. frgjb,
    You are right! Love makes all the difference...I seem to remember hearing about a saint/monk who was at first rebuked because he was feasting with strangers who needed food and it was supposed to be a fasting time. The monk responded something to the effect of the stranger being Christ....that story seems to fit here!...does anyone know which saint I am talking about? or did I remember the story incorrectly?

  7. zooboing,
    thanks for the kind words...

  8. Maria,
    Is there a lot of "fighting" and controversy among the Orthodox regarding the calendar? I can see that being a sticky point between juristictions