Thursday, May 19, 2011

May 19, 2011 / May 6, 2011

Fourth Week of Pascha. Tone three.
Righteous Job the Long-suffering.
Venerable Micah, disciple of St. Sergius of Radonezh (1385).
Venerable Job, abbot and wonderworker of Pochaev (1651).
Martyrs Barbarus the Soldier, Bacchus, Callimachus, and Dionysius, in Morea (362).
Martyr Barbarus the former robber in Epirus (9th c.).
Translation of the relics (1675) of Venerable Pachomius of Nerekhta (1384).
St. Edbert, bishop of Lindisfarne (698) (Celtic & British).
Venerable Seraphim of Mt. Domvu (Greek).
Translation of the relics (1238) of Venerable Sava I of Serbia (Greek).
Venerable Sinaites of Serbia: Romil of Ravanica, Romanos of Ravanica, Sisoje of Sinai and Sisojevac, Martirije of Rukumije, Grigorije of Gornjak, Zosim of Tuman and Gregory of Sinai.
Sts. Mamas, Pachomius and Hilarion, monks (Greek).
Martyrs Demetrius, Danax, Mesiurs, Therin, and Donatus (Greek).

A Word from the Abbot:

Rev. Erik Samuelson, chaplain for Trinity Lutheran College, in Everett, WA., made an interesting observation, following the chapel service I conducted, this past Monday. My readers will recount that I'd been invited to offer the chapel service for their college community, and speak about the Orthodox Faith.

I was raised Lutheran, and it has been particularly gratifying for me to have had so many opportunities, these past six, or so, years, to share my Orthodox Faith with Lutherans. Lutherans are, on the whole, very wholesome, quick to smile, and honest about their faith, morals, and work ethic. I like Lutherans.

Norwegians, like Russians, tend to be a hardy people, with a sort of earthiness about them, which is exactly why I chose the Russian Church when looking for an entrance into the Orthodox Church. Culturally, I had much more in common, as a Norwegian American, with Russians, than I did with Greeks or Arabs. People of the Far North, we are. Norwegians and Russians like vodka, and pickled fish, fog, rain, forests, and water. We're both people who've learned to paint our houses bright colors, both inside and out, just to get ourselves through the dark winters. We are also people who, traditionally, have loved to build churches out of wood. Northern Russian churches look very much like the stav kirkes of Norway. Thus, I chose the stav church design for our own monastery temple, as well as the architecture, and exterior and interior colors, for all our buildings.

Now, you may be wondering, what does any of this have to do with the "interesting observation" made by Pastor Samuelson? The pastor is a Norwegian, and a Lutheran. When I am confronted with this combination, any observations made, have to be meaningful, for, after all, how can one be both Norwegian, and Lutheran, and not have something of substance to say. I suspect it is directly related to all the jello we've been fed, growing up!

Pastor Samuelson commented, following the Orthodox service, that many Evangelical Christians would tend to think of Orthodox services in line with those of the Roman Catholic Church. Both churches are, to the average observer, highly liturgical, hierarchical, and dogmatic. The pastor then went on to say that he'd noticed something that reminded him of Charismatic and Evangelical praise services. Orthodox, he observed, chant (sing) our services, and use lots of repetitions, such as "Lord have mercy." The Charismatic and Evangelical churches, in their "praise services," sing, and use a lot of repetitions. So, he concluded, both the Orthodox, and these protestants, are really into "praise services," in their perspective worship.

I'd never before heard anyone make such an observation, yet, it resonated with me. If there is anything we do, as Orthodox Christians, it is worship. Our services are everything about praising God, and worshiping before His Throne.  Is it any wonder so many Charismatics and Evangelicals are finding their way into the Orthodox Church, as they seek Biblical, and ancient, Christianity?

Photos of the Day:

A beautiful Spring day at the monastery.

Scripture Readings for the Day:

Acts 10:34-43

Preaching to Cornelius’ Household

34 Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. 35 But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. 36 The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ—He is Lord of all— 37 that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. 39 And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree. 40 Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, 41 not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. 42 And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. 43 To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.”

John 8:12-20

12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
Jesus Defends His Self-Witness
13 The Pharisees therefore said to Him, “You bear witness of Yourself; Your witness is not true.”
14 Jesus answered and said to them, “Even if I bear witness of Myself, My witness is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going; but you do not know where I come from and where I am going. 15 You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. 16 And yet if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent Me. 17 It is also written in your law that the testimony of two men is true. 18 I am One who bears witness of Myself, and the Father who sent Me bears witness of Me.”
19 Then they said to Him, “Where is Your Father?”
Jesus answered, “You know neither Me nor My Father. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also.”
20 These words Jesus spoke in the treasury, as He taught in the temple; and no one laid hands on Him, for His hour had not yet come.

Click photo to enlarge.

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