Friday, November 23, 2012

When an American Company becomes the Evil Empire

Like many Americans, I was angered to hear Walmart had made the decision to start their Black Friday sale early, moving it into the evening of Thanksgiving. This decision has deprived employees of one of the few national holidays that bring family together around the dinner table. That a mother would have to leave a family gathering, after slaving in the kitchen all morning, is deplorable. During such dire economic times when one can ill afford afford to take a chance they might lose their job, this decision by Walmart is, to my mind, a form of blackmail. Regardless of the bargains one might find in shopping on Thanksgiving evening, I find it to be a compromise of our values, as professing Christians, to encourage companies to force their employees to work on such an evening, by cooperating with their ad campaigns.

In times past, most of America had "blue laws", which were meant to keep Sundays sacred, and set apart for church and family. Stores were not open on Sunday, and in fact most businesses were closed, with the exception of services that were needed, such as gas stations and a few restaurants. As the blue laws were abandoned, we saw the beginning of mass secularization of our nation, with even youth sporting events moved to Sundays, and the nation's collective observance of "the Lord's Day", was forgotten completely.

Christmas and "Easter" are national holidays in the United States, yet many American companies have long since destroyed all remnants of sacred observance, replacing holy days for Christians, as days for profit. That many fellow Christians have been forced to chose a job over religious observance, is further proof that our country is becoming, increasingly, a hostile place for believers. Yet just because our neighbors allow for the  commercialization of these holy days, does not mean we should.

The American Thanksgiving observance was highly respected by none other than Saint Tikhon of Moscow, when he served as bishop in San Francisco. He encouraged it's adoption by Orthodox Americans, recognizing the value, as he did, of using American traditions to further the spread of Holy Orthodoxy in this land. Remaining aloof from our American culture and traditions, in no way promotes Orthodoxy among our neighbors, nor does it help our Orthodox youth to see the relevancy of our Faith in their lives. If we insist on separating our Orthodox Faith from the secular American scene, Orthodoxy will die.

If we allow companies like Walmart to erode family values and traditions by destroying family and religious observances, we will find it increasingly difficult to keep the next generation in our churches. If these few days of the year that are dedicated to family, and to religious observance, are allowed to be flushed down the toilet by the likes of Walmart, we will have lost out, and America will have changed irrevocably. Perhaps we should boycott Walmart, and any other company that would force their employees to leave family on Thanksgiving. Perhaps if we are willing to sacrifice that bargain, and let the CEO's of such companies know why we will not shop at their stores, we can make a difference.

With love in Christ, 

Abbot Tryphon

Saturday: The Planting of a Monastery (chapter 18) The Miracle

Friday November 23, 2012 / November 10, 2012
25th Week after Pentecost. Tone seven.
Fast. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)

Apostles Erastus, Olympas, Herodion, Sosipater, Quartus, and Tertius of the Seventy (1st c.).
New Hieromartyr Niphont and Martyr Alexander (1931).
New Hieromartyrs Prokopius (Titov) archbishop of Odessa, Dionisius, John and Peter priests (1937).
New Hieromartyrs Augustine (Belyaev), archbishop of Kaluga (1937) and with him John priest, New Hieromartyrs Ioanicius, Martyr Alexis, Appolon, Michael (1937).
Martyr Nicholas and Virgin-martyr Anna and St. Boris deacon confessor (1930-1940).
Virgin-martyrs Olga (1941) and Theoctista (1942).
Martyr Orestes of Cappadocia (304).
Hieromartyr Milos (Miles), bishop in Persia (341), and two disciples.
Venerable Theocteristus, abbot of Symbola on Mt. Olympus.
Martyr Constantine, grand prince of Kartli, Georgia (852).
Commemoration of the torture of Great-martyr George in 303. (Georgia).
St. Nonnus, bishop of Heliopolis (471).
Translation of the relics of St. Gregory, presbyter, in Assos of Lesbos (Greek).
St. Eucharius, first bishop of Trier (3rd c.).

You can read the life of the saint in green, by click on the name.

THANK YOU, to all of you who have been able to contribute towards the support of the monastery. These difficult times of economic hardship have impacted the monastery, and those of you who have been able to donate, have been our lifeline. May God bless you for your generosity, and kindness.
With love in Christ,  
Abbot Tryphon

Donations can be made directly to the monastery through PayPal, or you may send donations to:

All-Merciful Saviour Monastery
PO Box 2420
Vashon Island, WA 98070-2420 USA

2 Thessalonians 3:6-18

Warning Against Idleness

But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you; nor did we eat anyone’s bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us.
10 For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. 11 For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. 12 Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread.
13 But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good. 14 And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. 15 Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.


16 Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with you all.
17 The salutation of Paul with my own hand, which is a sign in every epistle; so I write.
18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Luke 13:31-35

31 On that very day some Pharisees came, saying to Him, “Get out and depart from here, for Herod wants to kill You.”
32 And He said to them, “Go, tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.’ 33 Nevertheless I must journey today, tomorrow, and the day following; for it cannot be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem.

Jesus Laments over Jerusalem

34 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing! 35 See! Your house is left to you desolate; and assuredly, I say to you, you shall not see Me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ”

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