February 26 2017

In God’s Space

In God’s Space

God makes it clear that the only way to enter heaven is for us to forgive others. Before we can forgive others, we must first allow ourselves to get into common space with them. Only then can we truly forgive others, and only then will we find ourselves in God’s space. Great Lent is an excellent opportunity for us to get into each others’ space and forgive. Our salvation depends upon it.

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February 19 2017

Faith in Action

On the Sunday before fasting from meat begins, known as Meatfare Sunday and also the Sunday of Judgment, the Church reminds us that judgment comes not from the bad things that we do, but the good we choose not to do. Our judgment will be whether or not our heart and eyes can see the world as God sees the world. Do we see Jesus in every person? Do we treat others as if they are Christ? The answer to these questions is determined by how we are able to put our faith into action.

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February 5 2017

A Spiritual Journey

The period known as Triodion begins the annual journey as Orthodox Christians. It isn’t a journey to the beach or the ocean, but a spiritual journey during which we are invited by the Church to change our lives and live in Christ. The Orthodox Christian life isn’t just a series of rules which must be followed because they are rules. The life of the Church is about changing our lives and changing the way we view our relationship with God. We are much further from God than we think. The first Sunday of the Triodion, the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee, sets us on our way with a reminder....the rules don’t get you to heaven. Our opportunity this year is to reconsider our life and follow the example of the tax collector. We are far away from God and we need His mercy in our life.

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January 29 2017

For the Lost

The story of the Canaanite Woman found in Matthew 15.21-28 is often misunderstood and rarely seen for its beauty in helping Christians reach out to others. Most of us spend most of our time focusing on our agenda and our needs to the point that we sometimes even resent when other’s needs seem to take attention away from our time with God and His Church. Christ’s refusal at first to respond to the requests of the woman even comparing her to a little dog. What we often miss is the opportunity to remember that Christ came for the lost, and while we have many needs as Christians, we are no longer lost when we are in the Church. He will still bless us. Our next step is for us to open our hearts and eyes to the lost and invite them in to receive Christ’s healing and blessings.

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January 16 2017

Only Some will be Saved

When Ten Lepers (Luke 17.12-19) approached Christ and begged for help, they were told to return to the priests and show themselves. As they turned, they were instantly healed, but only one returned to Christ to thank Him and worship Him. All nine were healed, but only was saved when Christ said, “Your faith has saved you.” (Luke 17.19) When we ask for God’s blessings and then do not return to Him to properly give thanks, we turn our back on Him and go about our day, we are no better than the nine. They should have known better. We should know better. There is a proper way to thank God, through proper preparation and participation in the Divine Liturgy which includes receiving Holy Communion every Sunday. If we come to Church and return home without receiving Holy Communion, then we are no better than the other nine. When Jesus asks “where are the others,” He is speaking about us!

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December 24 2016

Christmas is a TODAY Experience

Many Christians celebrate Christmas as a historic event, but Orthodox celebrate Christmas as a TODAY experience. “Today He who holds the whole world in His hand is born from a Virgin.” We are blessed with the gift of Christmas so that we can live a new life in Christ TODAY, not just to celebrate some far-away concept of an event that happened in history. If Christmas is nothing more than history, we are no better than Herod who turned away from Christ. We have a better way, a living way, a TODAY way!

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December 18 2016

Our Ancestors

Our spiritual ancestors lived dedicated Orthodox Christian lives, willing even at times to sacrifice everything they had for the truth of God. Our physical ancestors made sacrifices too, many coming from far off lands with just a few dollars in their pocket, so that we could have a better life. The better life our ancestors sought was not only about houses and cars. The better life they sought included building a Church at the center of our life.

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December 11 2016

We Have been Invited to Heaven

In the Parable of the Great Banquet (Luke 14.16.24) our Lord compares the Kingdom of Heaven to a great banquet to which we have all been invited. As in the parable many of us make excuses as to why we or our family cannot attend. As servants we are commanded to go out and invite others who have also been invited so that God’s House is filled. We don’t know when God will call us to Heaven, but we must be prepared to answer the call without excuses and enter into Heaven with our Lord. No more excuses. We have been given another opportunity to answer the call without excuses. Through the life of the Church we can be prepared to enter into Heaven. No more excuses. We can still be loyal and faithful servants.

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December 5 2016

There’s Always Time for Cranberry Sauce

When Jesus healed a woman on the Sabbath, those who were watching complained because He “worked” on the Sabbath. They had forgotten there was an actual purpose for the Sabbath. In the same way, many of us look at the Church rules as just rules to follow. We spend so much time worrying about following the rules; we forget that the rules have an actual benefit for our lives. The weeks leading up to Christmas present a great opportunity to refocus our attention on what really matters.  If only we could trust the Church enough to understand the meaning behind the rules, we could arrive at the Feast of Christmas with peace rather than a panic about making sure everything is in order for the dinner. There’s always time for cranberry sauce. This year, let’s get our soul ready for Christmas.

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November 20 2016

Every Good and Perfect Gift is from Above

It is tempting to think that our success has everything to do with our hard work. It is even more tempting to think that the fruit of our success are meant for our pleasure. Neither is true. In fact no matter what our vocation, whether we are fishermen or farmers, our only part in our success is a bit of hard work. Everything else is a gift from God and that gift has a purpose. When we were married the priest asked God to bless us so that we could help others. Thanksgiving is a wonderful opportunity to thank God for the blessings He has given to us by reaching out and helping other this year.

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