Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Church must Encourage Her Children

It deeply saddens me when I see some in the Church taking the stand that the Church must be the enforcer of God's law. In this view the Church becomes like some arm of the military, dishing out punishment, or excluding some of her children as ill fit for anything but condemnation.

I remember a fellow high school teacher, some twenty-six years ago, who had a good list and a bad list. The good list was comprised of students he liked, the ones who consistently got their homework in on time, and whose grades were above average. Then there was the bad list. These were the students who were academically challenged, and who more often than not had a very low self image.  When this teacher wrote an A+ on an exam, it was written with a preciseness, elegance, that bespoke of his admiration for this student. Yet when he wrote a D+ or an F, you could read the anger in his style.

Students would walk out of his class with their spirits soaring, or with the knowledge that they were a total failure, even worthless, in this teacher's eyes. Many of these students would walk into my classroom the following period, and I could tell their grades from the look on their faces, and it would take considerable effort on my part to lift the spirits of the "bad" student. 

An older, more experienced teacher had once shared with me her approach to grading, and I followed her grading plan. If there were twenty questions on a test, and the student got only four correct answers, I wrote 4+, with a little smiling star next to the number. I'd tell the student that four correct answers was a good start, and the grades always went up from there!

As the hospital for the soul, the Church should view everyone who walks through the narthex in the same light. Some people are, for whatever reason, living the Gospel, and willing to commit one hundred percent to their life in Christ. They are always early for services, make good confessions, receive the Holy Mysteries frequently, and volunteer for whatever task is set before them. Others struggle with the Christian life, and are barely identifiable as belonging to Christ. These people are stuck in patterns of living not in concert with the teachings of the Gospel. Yet both sets of people are in need of the same healing that comes in an encounter with the Living God.

If the Church loves only those who are in the first list, we will have failed, for those in the second list are in need of more attention and love then the first list. It is like the mother who once told me she loved her youngest son the most, not because he was smart, or polite, or obedient, or handsome, like her other two sons, but because her youngest son was troubled, homely, disobedient, and angry. The youngest son needed the encouragement of his mother.
He needed his mother's love more than the others.

This is why I have always loved the image of the Church as being our mother.


With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Wednesday June 26, 2013 / June 13, 2013
Afterfeast of Pentecost. Tone seven.
Fast-free Week. Fast-free

Martyr Aquilina of Byblos in Lebanon (293).
St. Triphyllius, bishop of Leucosia (Nicosia) in Cyprus (370).
St. Alexandra, foundress of Diveyevo Convent (1789).
New Hieromartyr Alexander priest (1918).
New Hieromartyr Demetrius priest (1940).
Virgin-Martyr Pelagea (1944).
Venerable Andronicus (1395), disciple of Venerable Sergius of Radonezh, and St. Sabbas (1410), abbots of Moscow.
Martyr Antonina of Nicaea (284-305).
Venerable Anna (826), and her son St. John of Constantinople (9th c.).
St. Antipater, bishop of Bostra in Arabia (458).
Finding of the relics of Martyr Nicholas the Deacon of Lesbos (Greek).
St. Eulogius, patriarch of Antioch (Greek).
Martyr Diodorus of Emesus who was crucified (Greek).
St. Anthimus, Metropolitan of Wallachia (1716) (Georgia). 
You can read the life of the saint in red, by clicking on the name.

THANKS 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

The Scripture Readings for the Day

Romans 1:18-27

God’s Wrath on Unrighteousness

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

Matthew 5:20-26

20 For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

Murder Begins in the Heart

21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. 23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. 26 Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.

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