Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Visit #179 ~ Being Uplifted by the Faithful!

Marko, smoking a Cuban 
(Don't worry; he was in Canada at the time so it was legal)
I was in a bit of a funk when I entered into the Nave on Sunday morning.  You see, I was still reeling from an argument I had with a close family member on (of all things) the issue of the SCOTUS ruling on Same-sex marriage.  It got very personal and things could have come to a permanent break, but, it didn't, thank God. What helped me focus in what was good about the world was being with the people of God.  I was especially helped by the cheerful, friendly disposition of Marko.  He entered into the Nave with his wife Amanda and in between venerating Icons, he'd greet people, sometimes with a smile, most times with a hug.  How can anyone remain down when they see joy like that walking around?

Another blessing is having Tiffany and Andrew with their baby Payton stand next to me during the Liturgy.  At one point, Andrew let me hold Payton and, of course, she tried to grab my glasses.  I am not a "baby" person. Indeed, when I first became a father, my wife was worried that I wouldn't bond well with my children because I never liked to hold babies, but Payton, in my view, is such a cute and beautiful baby!  (Just so you know, I did like my own kids, even when they were babies.)  Tiffany gave me a Divine  Liturgy Service book that belonged to her father Jim.  I started to tear up when I received the book. Next week, I'll bring it with me to service. It will take some figuring out on how to navigate through it so as to follow the service.  The book has English on the left side and Church Slavonic (& Serbian) on the right side.

The Service book belonging to Jim

Speaking of Jim Martin, he was honored today (along with some other people) at his former Protestant parish. Right after Divine Liturgy, I rushed out of there so I could attend the Protestant Service with my wife.  (Yes, I hated missing the coffee hour and fellowshiping  with the Faithful but I am glad to be sitting next to my wife in church.)  The Nazarene denomination has what is called a Memorial Roll where you pay a certain amount of money and the name of deceased loved one is put on a plaque. (Sounds like selling indulgences to me....just joking :) )The money is used to help missionary's health care.  There was a four or five people being remembered, along with Jim and Pastor Del said some nice things about each of the loved ones.  Below is what he said about Jim. It begins with Pastor Del talking about a lady who, before she passed, said she was ready to meet God. The whole thing runs for about one minute:

No doubt the peace that Jim had in his life at the time that Pastor Del mentions, is due to the fact that he was now a faithful communicant within the Holy Orthodox Catholic Church.  Jim found the peace he was looking for by being united with Christ in His Church!  Glory to God! 

The Divine Liturgy that morning was refreshing! Fr Gary had returned from vacation. Now that he is back, I'll see about setting up an appointment with him to discuss fasting (and other issues.) My daughter gets married in two weeks so it'll have to be after that.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Visit 178 ~ Visiting Priests and on-going Improvements

The Nave look a little bit like a Construction Zone as we added new Icons

The Divine Liturgy was great, as usual.  One thing  I love about the Divine Liturgy is that, even though it is always at least an hour and half, it can "fly by" time-wise, if I pay attention and realize what is taking place.  By heeding the advice of Let us attend throughout the whole service, I find meaning in all that is going on and, thus, I am not "bored" even though basically the same thing happens every week.  I cannot say the same thing for some protestant services I attend.

Fr Gary is still on Vacation so we had a visiting priest, Fr. Volodomyr Chaikivsky who led us in Worship. His accent was very thick and during his very short homily (full of good content,) I couldn't get the notion out of my head that Vladimir Putin was talking to me.  Sorry about that.  I did manage to ignore the accent long enough to really listen, though.  Fr. Volodomry commented on how we are to seek the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness.  Great advice no matter what the accent.

A video posted by 15 Second Orthodoxy (@15secondorthodoxy) on
We are adding new icons and, as you can see from the short video above, it means the Nave looks a little like a construction zone.  I do know when it is all said and done that the resulting new Icons will be a blessing to behold.  In fact, at the end of the service, Deacon Alexander said, during the announcement time, that we have a reputation within the diocese as having the most beautiful Icons around.  That's kinda nice.

Sunday was Father's day. I was happy to be in the Service for Father's day and I was also happy that, later on, my wife and I went to see the 40th anniversary showing of JAWS! Best film ever!!!

It was a good day!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Visit #177 ~ The Synaxis of All Saints

I loved the homily today by Fr Gary about All Saints! He mentioned the reading from Hebrews which talked about how we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. As soon as he said that I glanced around and saw how, on the walls, there were indeed witnesses for us who were praying for us and rooting us on!

Coffee hour was very good. I caught up with Marko, Amanda and spoke with Tami for a bit.  They had a meeting for the Ethnic Fair towards the end of the coffee hour so, since I was not on any of the committees, I absented myself.  Later on that afternoon I had to take my wife to a "surprise party" in her honor because she just completed an intense phlebotomy course and all of her friends wanted to celebrate with her. Sadly, I did a horrible job of louring her into the place she had to do and ended up telling her she had to come with me because it was  a surprise party for her.  We all had a good time and I ended up taking a video of my friend's dog which, for fun, is right here:
A video posted by Jim Vivanco (@nawanda60) on

At Coffee hour, we talked a bit about the Apostle's Fast. I, myself, do not really fast but maybe I should consider adapting the practice, watcha think?

See you next time.