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Veneration

January 17, 2013

In my parish, we just celebrated our Patronal Feast. Our Patron Saint is St Peter the Apostle and we commemorate the chains, which were removed by the angel when he was imprisoned by Herod (See Acts 12).

As the priest came out with the parish icon, in procession, and put it on display for public veneration, I was struck a thought that was a powerful reminder to me. As I approached to venerate the icon with my children and my parish, I was reminded that this veneration is an act of love. Love for who? Well, the most obvious answer is – Christ. But I am going to go out on a limb and say it’s “more” than that.

What do I mean by that? In 1 Corinthians 3:21-23 Paul tells us that all things are ours, that we are Christ’s and Christ is God’s. As an extension of my love for Christ, I love the saints. I love my parish and the brothers and sisters I worship with. I love my priest. While worship and adoration belong to Christ alone, I love and honor what He has given me in His Church. I know that I get into the rhythm of “doing the things Orthodox Christians are supposed to do” and mechanically venerate an icon, or make the sign of the cross, or say the prayers. But the sense of love that I had as I watched my priest hold that icon of St Peter’s Chains aloft, was a good refresher for me.

In fact, it was a great topic to bring up to my daughters, who just started their catechism in preparation for Holy Baptism on Great and Holy Saturday of this year (God willing). I had a great time sharing the love we express through veneration with them. I need to remember that their experiences of the faith are just being formed. They don’t need to just know “what we do,”  but also, why we do it. It’s a joy to see the lights click on during our talks.

Heck, it’s nice when my own lights click on. Thanks be to God for the “all things” we have in His Church and in His Saints, for they and we consist in Him, who is our Life.

Joyful Exiles

September 13, 2012

Below is a link to a blog with a very painful story. The title of the blog is the title of my post. It initially looks short, but scroll down farther and click on the link. The letter written by the blogger’s wife is long and painful, but beautifully redemptive. However, the need for exposure of this kind of abuse is all too real. While I know the Orthodox Church has many, many issues among leaders, I am grateful for the hierarchical structure that allows this kind of abuse to be rooted out (though it doesn’t always get done).
Share this with anyone you think may benefit from it. 

http://joyfulexiles.com/?blogsub=confirming#subscribe-blog

 

The World Below

July 31, 2012

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My good friend and Orthodox brother Christian Gonzales put together this short seminar for youth workers, parents and clergy. The World Below is a term used to describe a life that kids lead “below the radar” of their family, clergy and church family. I found the talks eye-opening and disturbing, yet not without hope. The life in Christ as found in the Orthodox Church can reach these kids, but only if we are living the life in Christ ourselves. Here is the link to that seminar on AFR: http://ancientfaith.com/specials/the_world_below

 

What are your thoughts on what the speakers have to say?

If An Aborted Child Could Speak

July 13, 2012

This is an amazing testimony. If we view life as a Holy Mystery, then we should never try to argue when exactly a life is a human life. That is like trying to say when exactly bread and wine become the Body and Blood. There’s just no point.
I know that I normally don’t share “controversial” stuff on this blog, but I was too amazed by this woman to not share.

June 20, 2012

In connection with his last blog post on the lives of the saints, as it relates to the general communal nature of salvation and even our identity as humans, this post talks about life as more than knowledge and concepts. His final couple of sentences hit me the most. There is enough in these two posts to keep me occupied for some time.

Glory to God for All Things

Some questions are so obvious we fail to ask them.

Is it all in the head?

The question is whether the sense of spiritual, refers to anything other than ourselves. Is there any connection between myself and others, between myself and God, between myself and nature, or is such a perception only a set of ideas in my head?

In classical theological/philosophical language, the question is between realism and nominalism. Nominalism, a philosophy that generally dates back to William of Ockham (1288-1348), holds that universals (ideas, concepts, etc.) only exist in the mind. Realism holds that universals have an existence outside the mind. These divisions, inside/outside, may be increasingly problematic in a post-Newtonian world.

For Christians this question is more than “angels dancing on the head of a pin.” At its heart, the question asks about the nature of sacraments and relationships. For many Protestant Christians, nominalism…

View original post 1,019 more words

June 18, 2012

This is a wonderful reflection about the way we participate in the sacramental life, and by extension, one another. This is our life in Christ!

Glory to God for All Things

Biblical interpretation and doctrine based on Scripture have certain parameters that anyone rightly handling the word of truth must observe. The particular rule that I have in mind in this posting is the simple avoidance of anachronisms. That is, if an idea did not exist at the time of the New Testament, or shortly thereafter, but is, in fact, a modern development, then, whatever the writer might have meant, he could not have meant something that wasn’t an idea until the modern period. This is a fairly simple rule. If it can be shown that an idea is uniquely modern, then, if it is used as an interpretation of Scripture, we can be sure that the interpreter is reading back into Scripture something that is not there nor can be there.

In no case is this sort of anachronism more flagrant nor more distorting of Christian doctrine, than the notion…

View original post 1,354 more words

The Great River Anduin

June 8, 2012

I have been an Orthodox Christian for about six months now. Well, I have been able to receive the Holy Mysteries for about that long. It has been a great source of strength and joy in my life. But like anything, when life becomes full of distractions, the spiritual life can be put on cruise control, so to speak. I got to thinking of it as being analogous to the Fellowship’s ride down the River Anduin. Having just come through the Lenten period and the fifty days of Paschal joy, the Ascension and Pentecost, it feels like the flow of life is “back to normal”. And while there is nothing wrong with that, to me, there is a great cause for concern.

As with any river, one’s senses are heightened  when there are rapids, rocks, or battle. Once the intensity is over, and the course of the river returns to its regular flow, there is a letting down of the guard. One begins to lose track of the passing of time, as it did with those in the boats of Lorien, on Anduin. For myself, the intensity of Lent and the season of Pascha that followed was a time of spiritual intensity, which heightened my senses and helped me focus. It was like a ride down the rapids. Dangerous, but enlivening. With the return to “everyday life”, I can sense myself “losing track of time”.

It was at these points in the journey of the Fellowship that they were in the most danger. In fact, it was during a slow drift downstream that one of the attacks came from shore. I need to keep my own guard up, and be ready for the “night attack”. It’s times like these that the words of Ephesians about the armor of God become more than just verses to memorize, or help our kids memorize for their Sunday School classes.

One of the things I am grateful for, is that our Orthodox faith is not just intellectual or ethereal. It involves our bodies, it calls us back to attention when we start to “chase butterflies”. I am always glad to have my attention snapped back when I drift during the Liturgy, Vespers or Matins. Just like the morning prayers, I ask God to help me to be diligent and faithful. Lord, keep me from slipping.