Friday, January 31, 2014

Don't mean to brag, but....


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

Vespers # 124 ~ Ordinary Struggles

I am easily Distracted; just like this man
photo by Michael Summers, used under the creative commons license.
check out more photos here:

I don't know about you but it seems that whenever I am at prayer time, whether at home or at a Divine Service, I have trouble concentrating. All good intentions of expressing piety and devotions can easily get swallowed up in distracted thoughts and plans for the future.   I recently reread a book by R. Leo Olson called Sojourning with Angels which is a novel that talks about angelic and demonic activities in a person's life. (and after death in the Aerial  toll houses) I love the way Olson depicts a Divine Service where the Faithful are gathered. Angels are there as well, praising God along with those who bear the Image of God, i.e., us people. Demons were there too trying to distract so perhaps that is what is happening to me.

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

Vespers # 123 ~ A New Year....and I"m back!

My Parish
Because of my work schedule and other things in my life, Vespers has been very hard to go to. Thankfully, I was able to attend last night and the first thing I noticed as I entered into the Narthex- after being absent since late November - is the smell. Incense has a very distinct odor which I only associate with Church.  That is one thing I like about Orthodoxy; it assaults the senses. And why not? Why shouldn't God use taste, touch, smell and sight to help us enter into His Kingdom? After I venerated the Icons in the Narthex, Daria noticed me and greeted me in the Narthex, wishing me a happy new year. We couldn't chat long because she had to return to her place in the choir and service was about to begin. I was glad she came to say hello. Even though I was there to worship God, it is nice to be remembered by His people.

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!