Sunday, March 30, 2014

Fermenting Faith
Being the leaven in a post-Christian era

As Christians in this post-Christian era, we must live with the knowledge that God still reigns, even though the evidence is to the contrary. In this post-Christian era, we are like exiles, but like the Jews who were in bondage under the Babylonians, we can not live in the past, remembering only the time when society was Christian. Nor can we focus on critiquing the present secular age. Rather, we must become the leaven for restoring the faith of our neighbors.

We must energize the nation by being agents of love, mercy, beauty, and peace. We must become the reconciling force between the secular world, and God. Even if our churches are closed for lack of membership, we must be as living repositories for the wisdom and grace of faith, bringing about, by our lives, the restoration of Christianity in this age of unbelief. We must show our neighbors what love looks like, and be that shining light of Christ in this age of darkness. We must not let this era change us, we must change this era.

Love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Sunday March 30, 2014 / March 17, 2014
Fourth Sunday of the Great Lent. Tone seven.
Great Lent. Food with Oil

Venerable John Lestvichnik (movable holiday on the 4th Sunday of the Great Lent).
Venerable Alexis the Man of God, in Rome (411).
Venerable Macarius, abbot of Kalyazin (1483).
New Hieromartyr Alexander priest (1919).
New Hieromartyr Victor priest (1942).
Martyr Marinus, soldier, at Caesarea in Palestine (260).
Venerable Patrick, enlightener of Ireland (451) (Celtic & British).
Monk-martyr Paul of Crete (767).
St. Withburga, solitary at Holkham and East Dereham (ca. 743) (Celtic & British).
St. Ambrose, deacon, and disciple of St. Didymus the Blind of Alexandria (400).
St. Gertrude, abbess of Nijvel (659) (Neth.).
St. Theosterictus the Confessor, abbot of Pelecete Monastery near Prusa (826).
Venerable Hieromartyr Gabriel the Lesser of Garesja (1802) (Georgia).
St. Beccan of Rhum (677) (Celtic & British).
You can read the life of the saint by clicking on the highlighted name.

The Scripture Readings for the Day

Hebrews 6:13-20

God’s Infallible Purpose in Christ

13 For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, 14 saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.” 15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. 16 For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute. 17 Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, 18 that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.
19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, 20 where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

Mark 9:17-31

17 Then one of the crowd answered and said, “Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit. 18 And wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I spoke to Your disciples, that they should cast it out, but they could not.”
19 He answered him and said, “O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me.” 20 Then they brought him to Him. And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming at the mouth.
21 So He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?”
And he said, “From childhood. 22 And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”
23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”
24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”
25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it: “Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!” 26 Then the spirit cried out, convulsed him greatly, and came out of him. And he became as one dead, so that many said, “He is dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.
28 And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?”
29 So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.”

Jesus Again Predicts His Death and Resurrection

30 Then they departed from there and passed through Galilee, and He did not want anyone to know it. 31 For He taught His disciples and said to them, “The Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. And after He is killed, He will rise the third day.”
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  1. Dear Father Tryphon,
    I mean no disrespect in writing this, but I am very concerned when I hear Christian leaders refer to our times as "Post Christian" The very use of the term seems to despondently buy into the Evil One's propaganda that we have already lost the War, and the best we hope for is to perhaps retain a tiny fraction of what we once had. Shouldn't we, as Christians, have more Faith in God that he IS the Ruler of All - not a "has been"? He DOES still Rule, even if the news sometimes seems grim.

    With respect & love.

    1. Dear Anonymous,

      When we hear of our society being "post Christian" it refers to the attitude of our society itself: whereas in years past we could perhaps call ours a Christian society owing to the common knowledge of God and Judeo-Christian ethics being the norm, today we cannot call our society "Christian" since these things are now largely absent. In this sense we live in a post-Christian society.

      The war--if there ever was one--was won at the Cross, and the victory is certain. We simply find ourselves now living in a society that needs more than ever the Church to behave as our Lord Jesus Christ intends: to live in love toward all around us, and to walk even as He walked.

      -- Christopher Albee

  2. Dear Father Tryphon,

    Thank you for your post. Your realism is not defeatism. It is easy when we look at the sparse attendance in our churches think "all is lost!" Yet we must be reminded again and again that God reigns. And again, as you said, we must be those who show love in a time when love and mercy are in want.Let us be leaven to the lump.