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!