Monday, March 3, 2014

Standing before God
 The Orthodox Practice of Standing for Worship

Standing before God has been the only acceptable posture for Orthodox Christians from the earliest of times. We recognize that a faithful servant would never sit before his master, for the faithful are all servants of the Lord, whom we worship as we stand in our temples. The Holy Apostle Paul tells us, "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith" (I Cor. 16:13); "Stand, therefore, having your loins girt about with truth (Ephesians 6:14).

As Christians we must always be on guard spiritually, ever more so then when attending the divine services. By standing we subject our bodies to the attention needed to properly and fully worship God with all our mind and soul. We subject ourselves before the Master as His humble servants, being attentive to our God. When we become fatigued during long services we symbolically become offerings to the very God we worship. Saint Paul says: "Present you bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service" (Romans 12:1).

In addition to the ascetic practice of standing in worship, we Orthodox can also add the pious act of prostrations. Prostrations can be done when entering the nave from the narthex, before we venerate an icon in the temple, or when saying the Jesus Prayer in the privacy of our home.
There are times to sit (cf. the Kathismata: the sections of the Psalter read each day: Kathisma means "seated"), and not to sit (the Akathistos: not seated! 

Monks commonly perform prostrations while saying the Jesus Prayer, especially when fingering the beads that are spaced throughout one's prayer rope. Prostrations, like standing, help aid in purifying the heart, for in doing so we bring the mind's attention back from wandering, and worship God with body and soul united.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Photo: Dr. Richard Steele, together with students from one of his Seattle Pacific University theology classes, joined us for the Sunday Liturgy. Following trapeza, I spoke to the students about Orthodoxy.

Monday March 3, 2014 / February 18, 2014
Beginning of the Great Lent. Tone three.
Great Lent. By Monastic Charter - Full abstention from food

Clean Monday. (On Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of the 1st week of Great Lent the Great Vespers the canon of St. Andrew of Crete is read).
St. Leo the Great, pope of Rome (461).
New Hieromartyrs Alexander (Medvedsky) (1932) priest and Benjamin hieromonk (1938).
Commemoration of the New Martyrs who suffered during the "Holy Night" in St. Petersburg (1932).
New Hieromartyr Vladimir priest (1933).
Virgin-martyr Anna (1940).
Venerable Cosmas, monk, of Yakhromsk (1492).
St. Agapitus, bishop of Synnada in Phrygia (4th c.).
St. Flavian the Confessor, patriarch of Constantinople (449).
Martyrs Victor, Dorotheus, Theodulus, and Agrippa, who suffered under Licinius (4th c.).
St. Colman, bishop of Lindisfarne (676) (Celtic & British).
Martyrs Leo and Parigorius of Patara of Lycia (258) (Greek).
St. Blaise, monk of Mt. Athos (9th c.).
Finding of relics (1961) of New Martyr Irene of Lesbos (1463).
St. Nicholas The Catholicos of Georgia (1591) (Georgia).

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

Isaiah 1:1-20

1 The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.

The Wickedness of Judah

Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth!
For the Lord has spoken:
“I have nourished and brought up children,
And they have rebelled against Me;
The ox knows its owner
And the donkey its master’s crib;
But Israel does not know,
My people do not consider.”

Alas, sinful nation,
A people laden with iniquity,
A brood of evildoers,
Children who are corrupters!
They have forsaken the Lord,
They have provoked to anger
The Holy One of Israel,
They have turned away backward.

Why should you be stricken again? You will revolt more and more.
The whole head is sick,
And the whole heart faints.
From the sole of the foot even to the head,
There is no soundness in it,
But wounds and bruises and putrefying sores;
They have not been closed or bound up,
Or soothed with ointment.

Your country is desolate,
Your cities are burned with fire;
Strangers devour your land in your presence;
And it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers.
So the daughter of Zion is left as a booth in a vineyard,
As a hut in a garden of cucumbers,
As a besieged city.
Unless the Lord of hosts
Had left to us a very small remnant,
We would have become like Sodom,
We would have been made like Gomorrah.

10 Hear the word of the Lord,
You rulers of Sodom;
Give ear to the law of our God,
You people of Gomorrah:
11 “To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?”
Says the Lord.
“I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams
And the fat of fed cattle.
I do not delight in the blood of bulls,
Or of lambs or goats.

12 “When you come to appear before Me,
Who has required this from your hand,
To trample My courts?
13 Bring no more futile sacrifices;
Incense is an abomination to Me.
The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies—
I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting.
14 Your New Moons and your appointed feasts
My soul hates;
They are a trouble to Me,
I am weary of bearing them.
15 When you spread out your hands,
I will hide My eyes from you;
Even though you make many prayers,
I will not hear.
Your hands are full of blood.

16 “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes.
Cease to do evil,
17 Learn to do good;
Seek justice,
Rebuke the oppressor;
Defend the fatherless,
Plead for the widow.

18 “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord,
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool.
19 If you are willing and obedient,
You shall eat the good of the land;
20 But if you refuse and rebel,
You shall be devoured by the sword”;
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

Genesis 1:1-13

The History of Creation

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.
Then God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.” Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day.
Then God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. 10 And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. And God saw that it was good.
11 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so. 12 And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13 So the evening and the morning were the third day.

Proverbs 1:1-20

The Beginning of Knowledge

1 The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel:

To know wisdom and instruction,
To perceive the words of understanding,
To receive the instruction of wisdom,
Justice, judgment, and equity;
To give prudence to the simple,
To the young man knowledge and discretion—
A wise man will hear and increase learning,
And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel,
To understand a proverb and an enigma,
The words of the wise and their riddles.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Shun Evil Counsel

My son, hear the instruction of your father,
And do not forsake the law of your mother;
For they will be a graceful ornament on your head,
And chains about your neck.

10 My son, if sinners entice you,
Do not consent.
11 If they say, “Come with us,
Let us lie in wait to shed blood;
Let us lurk secretly for the innocent without cause;
12 Let us swallow them alive like Sheol,
And whole, like those who go down to the Pit;
13 We shall find all kinds of precious possessions,
We shall fill our houses with spoil;
14 Cast in your lot among us,
Let us all have one purse”—
15 My son, do not walk in the way with them,
Keep your foot from their path;
16 For their feet run to evil,
And they make haste to shed blood.
17 Surely, in vain the net is spread
In the sight of any bird;
18 But they lie in wait for their own blood,
They lurk secretly for their own lives.
19 So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain;
It takes away the life of its owners.

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