Better is an entertainment of herbs with friendliness and kindness, than a feast of calves, with enmity. (Proverbs 15:17, from the selection Prov 15:7-19, Vespers, 5th Tuesday of Great Lent)
The Scriptures should be very personal to us and evoke deep emotions when we read them. Everything in the scriptures is about us, whether directly or indirectly. The human condition, good and bad, how to live morally in almost any conceivable situation – it’s all in there.
One of the most personal aspects of Scripture is how it gently (and otherwise!) reminds us of things we should be mindful of, whether by example of direct instruction.
This proverb from today is particularly timely for me, as I participate in or Diocesan Assembly in Des Plaines. IL. It reminds me of the one thing needful and gently rebukes me concerning the things I grumble about.
We are a very small and poor diocese. Likewise our parish is small and poor, and yet both are rich, and I am constantly enriched by them. There is a profound peace in our Assembly. There is complete freedom to express our opinions, but all has been done with “friendliness and kindness”.
Perhaps many do not know this, but there is serious unrest, malfeasance, distrust and fear in many quarters in the Orthodox world at this time, and especially in our own “backyard” in North America, but in our small diocese, and likewise, our small parish, there is calm.
We have man good and kind (and energetic and creative) priests, and a bishop who listens and does not rule us with a stick. This does not mean that we are “democratic” – but we are conciliar, and it is joy “for brothers to dwell together in unity”.
It is good to “count our blessings”. I have a wonderful parish, at peace, and am part of a wonderful diocese that is ruled in peace. There are many things to be done, and with God’s help we are doing them at the parish and diocesan level. I will try, despite the fact that I have always been a poor historian, to report on these things when I get back, however, the most important thing is that in our church, our dioceses, with our bishop and my fellow clergy, there is “friendliness and kindness”.
Priest Seraphim Holland 2009. St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas
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