Sunday, December 30, 2012


The Transitory Nature of this Life

The summer before last I responded to a house fire on Vashon Island on a late Monday afternoon. The home was in a remote location and the fire fighters were hard pressed to get to the house in time to save it. They arrived to find a locked gate with a high fence, delaying even further their arrival. One corner of the house was already fully engulfed.

I'd been working on correspondence in my study when I heard the first siren, and the moment I heard the fire truck I also smelled smoke. Stepping out on the porch I could see a large plume of smoke southeast of the monastery. Before my pager went off I was in my vehicle, camera in hand. Fire chaplains often take on the role of station photographer, documenting fires for their departments.

When you live in the heart of a forest, a fire can easily consume far beyond the place of origin. This fire seemed to have started in a fire pit, quickly burning through tall grasses until catching the house on fire. The occupants were not home at the time, so no one was injured.

The thought of the home owners returning to find their house destroyed, left me feeling sad. In the eight or nine years I've served as the island's police and fire chaplain, I've witnessed far too many similar incidents. It is never easy to see families suffering loss, be it a house fire or a sudden death.

Ultimately, all is transitory and there is no real security in this life. A number of years ago a fire in our own forest came within one foot of destroying the Saint John Chapel. I've not taken anything for granted ever since. Natural disasters and the economy have deprived countless American families of their homes and the future does not look bright.

Most of us do not even own our homes, since taxes and mortgages are like a form of rent and make us vulnerable to banks and the Dow Jones. Everything in this life is transitory and can disappear in a moment of time. Even our own life can end abruptly and without warning. Yet as Christians we keep moving forward, embracing whatever God has placed before us. Worrying about the future keeps us from focusing on the horizon and trusting that God is there with us every step of the way.

This life has been given to us as a time of preparation for the eternal life that is our inheritance as God's children. The transitory nature of this world will end when God's kingdom is ushered in and we all stand before the Great Judgment Seat of God. Loss, pain and suffering in this world will have not been in vain if we embrace everything as an occasion for transformation of self. To stand in the presence of God for eternity requires that we be deified, and all of life's suffering is meant to help prepare us for an eternity of communion with the Holy Trinity.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Sunday December 30, 2012 / December 17, 2012
30th Sunday after Pentecost. Tone five.
Nativity (St. Philip's Fast). Fish Allowed

Week of Holy Forefathers
Holy Prophet Daniel (600 B.C.) and the Three Holy Youths: Ananias, Azarias, and Misael.
New Hieromartyrs Alexander, Nicholas and Sergius priests (1918).
New Hieromartyrs Peter and John priests (1937).
Venerable Daniel the Confessor (in schema Stephen) of Spain and Egypt (10th c.).
St. Dionysius of Zakynthos, archbishop of Aegina (1622).
New Hieromartyr Paisius, abbot of Turnovo, and Martyr Abbacum the Deacon at Belgrade (1814).
Martyrs Patermuthius, Coprius and Alexander the Soldier of Egypt (361).
St. Sturm, abbot and founder of Fulda monastery (779) (Germany).
Sts. Athanasius, Nicholas, and Anthony, founders of Vatopedi Monastery (10th c.).
New Martyr Nicetas of Nyssa (1300).
St. Misael of Abalatsk, hieromonk (1797).


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

Colossians 3:4-11

When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.
But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, 11 where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.

Luke 14:16-24

16 Then He said to him, “A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, 17 and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’ 18 But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.’ 19 And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.’ 20 Still another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21 So that servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.’ 22 And the servant said, ‘Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.’ 23 Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.’”

1 comment:

  1. Very well said! My biggest struggle is to not worry about paying the bills and keeping the groceries from being more than we can afford. I wish my trust in God never wavered. He has always taken care of my family and, yet, I still continue to doubt Him.