Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Living our Orthodoxy
 Living our Orthodox Faith in a Multi-Cultural Society

Orthodoxy by it's very nature is a demanding religion, one that requires her faithful to fully embrace a lifestyle that is in opposition to the world about us. The many periods of fasting and the practice of standing for our services are just two things that set Orthodoxy apart in our world. In an age when so many embrace religions that require little or no standard of belief, Orthodoxy is a faith that holds to ancient dogmas and ways of worship that are virtually unchanged in two thousand years.

Our multi-cultural societies have radically changed the face of many countries throughout the western world, with immigration introducing many foreign religions into societies that were previously monolithic in religious tradition. Many countries in Western Europe and North America are now seeing the spread of Orthodoxy as never before, along with the introduction of Islam. This, together with the spread of secularism and atheism, has changed the religious map of many countries.

These changes have made the practice of our faith more difficult since western societies no longer culturally support the open practice of Christianity. No longer do we see the expression of Christianity in the public forum, with the exception of Orthodox countries, prominently being a part of the societal fabric. Many people are even experiencing pressure to keep their faith a private affair, so as not to offend others by being "too religious". With pluralism dominant in the work place and social settings, any display of our faith can be frowned upon.

This may work for some, but for a serious Orthodox Christian this is problematic. How do we live Orthodoxy as our faith demands if we live it in a vacuum, shuttling it off as a private fare practice only on Sundays? If we are truly to "put on Christ" and be transformed by the healing resources that are available by living a committed Orthodox faith, we can not allow ourselves to live "Orthodoxy Lite".

Orthodoxy cries out to be lived, experienced, practiced! If we call ourselves Orthodox while rarely attending services, ignoring the fasting regulations, hiding our one icon in a bedroom, never making the sign of the cross in public, praying a blessing over our meal only when alone or with family, we are not practicing Orthodox Christians.

We must be bold in our faith. As a monk who wears my monastic garb everywhere, I can tell you it has a powerful impact on people. Even when sitting among friends who are not religious, I always bless my food. If I see a police car, fire truck or aid car pass by in downtown Seattle, I raise my hand in blessing, for I want my God to keep them safe, and I want whomever is in need of their help to receive it. I wear a cross around my neck not only because I am a priest, but because I am a Believer.

I am not afraid to be public about my faith in Jesus Christ, for my faith demands it of me. Christ told His disciples that if they denied Him before men, so too would He deny them before His Father in heaven. Orthodox Christianity cries out to be lived publicly. Our very salvation demands it!

Love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

click on photos to enlarge

Wednesday November 30, 2011 / November 17, 2011

25th Week after Pentecost. Tone seven.
Nativity Fast / Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)

St. Gregory the Wonderworker of Neo-Caesarea (266).
Venerable Nikon, abbot of Radonezh, disciple of St. Sergius (1426).
Venerable Lazarus the iconographer of Constantinople (857).
Martyr Gobron (Michael) and 133 soldiers of Georgia (914) (Georgia).
Venerable Longinus of Egypt (4th c.).
St. Maximus (Maximian), patriarch of Constantinople (434).
Venerable Gennadius, abbot of Vatopedi, Mt. Athos (14th c.).
St. Gregory, bishop of Tours, and with him Venerable Aredius, abbot of Limoges and Venerable Vulfolaic, stylite of Trier (Gaul).
Venerable Hilda, abbess of Whitby (680) (British).
Martyrs Zachariah the Cobbler and his wife, Mary (3rd c.) (Greek).
Hieromartyr Basil, bishop of Hamah (282).
Martyrs Gregory, Victor, and Geminus of Heracleon in Thrace (304).
150 philosophers converted by St. Catherine, and who suffered in Alexandria (305).
St. John the Cobbler of Olumba, Cairo, and Sinai (7th c.).

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PO Box 2420
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2 Thessalonians 2:1-12

The Great Apostasy
 1 Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, 2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. 3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? 6 And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Luke 15:1-10

The Parable of the Lost Sheep
 1 Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. 2 And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This Man receives sinners and eats with them.” 3 So He spoke this parable to them, saying:
4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ 7 I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.
The Parable of the Lost Coin
8 “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? 9 And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’ 10 Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
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1 comment:

  1. There is a popular song called Christmas with a Capital C by a Christian band called Go Fish that has been turned into a feature film that is currently showing in select cinemas.

    One of the movie reviewers from a Christian website made the comment: "That's the best point of this story. Don't look for a legal way to keep Christ in Christmas, do it through your own attitude and choices for celebrations."

    What are your thoughts on this? Should Christians fight to keep their legal right to display Christianity in public areas like town hall lawns or wear red & green to public schools in December (supposedly this was actually an issue in CA a while back).