Saturday, February 15, 2014

Darkness and Light
Seventh Day Adventist High School
When the Light of Christ is Shrouded in Darkness

Asked by Father James Steele, the kind and humble rector of Saint Elias Russian Orthodox Church in Placerville, CA., I have been speaking as part of his parish outreach program. Led by this amazing priest, and some of the most missionary minded parishioners I have ever encountered, the parish is reaching out to this Northern California community with a loving invitation to explore Orthodoxy.

Yesterday morning I spoke to an assembly of students at the local Seventh Day Adventist High School. Later that afternoon, after walking the main street of this historic gold rush town, speaking with the local people I encountered, and talking with people in a coffee shop, I spoke for two hours with high school and college students in the Cozmic Cafe, housed in an historic building with its own gold mine dug into the rock on the back side. Later that evening I spoke with preteen youth in a parishioner's private home.

During all of these talks I shared the joy and healing that is to be found within the walls of the Orthodox Church, and the depth of an encounter with Christ that brings about transformation, and the restoration of the human heart as God meant it to be. The bright and earnest faces of these wonderful young people, seekers after faith that will sustain them throughout their lives, was a joy to encounter.

The only dark moment during the entire day took place in the Cozmic Cafe. A middle age man who identified himself as an Orthodox Christian from Palm Springs, CA., a good days journey to Placerville, attempted to use the precious moments that had been arranged for local youth, to go on a political and moral triad about the evils of the Obama administration, and the changing moral fiber of present day America, what with abortion and same-sex marriage. Ignoring my attempt to return the focus of the gathering to Christ, this man attempted to bate me, portraying my message of love and hope, as some sort of liberal betrayal of Orthodoxy. Matushka Julia Steele finally reminded the man this gathering had the needs of youth as the primary focus. After continuing to use this youth gathering as his personal forum, the man finally left.

After a few moments of shocked silence, I managed to return the gathering to the focus of faith, and the importance of the Church as a hospital of the soul, wherein EVERYONE can receive healing, and be made whole. This man's mixture of political rage, and religion devoid of love, demonstrated in a clear, if not unfortunate way, why so many of today's youth have turned away from Christianity. There was nothing salvific about this man's message, for hate dominated his every word. Nothing in his personal philosophy offered hope for either the young woman who has aborted her child, nor the young man who is same-sex attracted. No one could possibly have been drawn to an Orthodoxy that seemed to offer nothing but judgement and condemnation.

Not once during this man's tirade did we encounter the love of Christ. His was not the message of the Incarnate Son of God Who condescended to take on our flesh, and share His Divinity with our humanity. The Christ Who healed the sick, forgave the sins of the woman at the well, and sat down with tax collectors and sinners, was no where to be found in the angry face of this self-righteous judge of others. The message of this man was one of hatred and judgement, and totally devoid of any sense of love and hope. He left the coffee house in the darkness of his own sin, and the Light of Christ was not in him.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon
The Cozmic Cafe
Preteen youth

Saturday February 15, 2014 / February 2, 2014
Week of the Publican and the Pharisee. Tone eight.
Fast-free Week. Fast-free

The Meeting of Our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ.
New Hieromartyr Basil priest, Martyr Michael (1938).
St. Anthimus of Chios (1960).
New Martyr Jordan of Trebizond (1650) (Greek).
New Martyr Gabriel at Constantinople (1676) (Greek).
Martyr Agathodorus of Cappadocia (Greek).

You can read the life of the saint by clicking on the highlighted 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

1 John 2:7-17

Brethren, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning. Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.
He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. 10 He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. 11 But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

Their Spiritual State

12 I write to you, little children,
    Because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.
13 I write to you, fathers,
    Because you have known Him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
    Because you have overcome the wicked one.
I write to you, little children,
    Because you have known the Father.
14 I have written to you, fathers,
    Because you have known Him who is from the beginning.
I have written to you, young men,
    Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you,
    And you have overcome the wicked one.

Do Not Love the World

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

Mark 14:3-9

The Anointing at Bethany

And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head. But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, “Why was this fragrant oil wasted? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they criticized her sharply.
But Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me. For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always. She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial. Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.”

 I invite my readers to listen to my
Ancient Faith Radio podcasts:

No comments:

Post a Comment