Archive for June, 2010

First Vigil in the new Temple – Matins video excerpts

Monday, June 14th, 2010

Vigil, part 1:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEj8oM0G26o

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/22957754

http://video.yahoo.com/watch/7648775/20319121

http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4750586/

http://www.blip.tv/file/3751744

 

Vigil, part 2:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saTK7cARRDI

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/22972893

http://video.yahoo.com/watch/7651770/20328762

http://www.blip.tv/file/3754473

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First Vigil in the new Temple – Vespers video excerpts

Monday, June 14th, 2010

This is worth watching for at least the beginning few seconds! Definitely, they must be breaking a law – it cannot be legal to be that cute!

 

Vigil, part 1:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEj8oM0G26o

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/22957754

http://video.yahoo.com/watch/7648775/20319121

http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4750586/

http://www.blip.tv/file/3751744

 

Vigil, part 2:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saTK7cARRDI

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/22972893

http://video.yahoo.com/watch/7651770/20328762

http://www.blip.tv/file/3754473

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Video introduction to the new temple on the day of its first liturgy

Sunday, June 13th, 2010

Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPJSVormbOM

Also at:

Daily Motion: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/22956735

 Yahoo: http://video.yahoo.com/watch/7648355/20317955

 Metacafe (looks like they add advertisements in the beginning):

http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4750300/

 Blip.tv: http://www.blip.tv/file/3751449

More pictures to come

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Patience and the eye of the soul Patience is to see reality The Light of the Body is the eye The things you desire affect your intelligence.

Sunday, June 13th, 2010

Patience and the eye of the soul

Patience is to see reality

The Light of the Body is the eye

The things you desire affect your intelligence.

3rd Sunday after Pentecost, New Martyrs of the Turkish yoke
Matthew 6:22-33 Romans 5:1-10, 8:28-39
2009

 

In the name of the Father, the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Today, brothers and sisters, is the Third Sunday after Pentecost, and we always celebrate the New Martyrs of the Turkish yoke on this day. And the reading for the martyrs says, at the end after talking about that man would lay hands on you in synagogues and would kill you, it says in the very end,

“In your patience possess ye your souls.”

And then the Apostle says,

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God and who are called according to his purpose.”

This is regarding people who are martyred in many and horrible ways, certainly thousands that we don’t know of, hundreds that we know of, of the Turkish yoke.

But this doesn’t just apply to martyrs; it applies to all of our lives, doesn’t it? “In your patience possess ye your souls.” And we know all things work together to good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose. In another place in the reading for the day, the Apostle says that,

“Tribulation works patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope; and hope maketh not ashamed because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.”

Now, what is the thread connecting all of these things? How in patience can we possess our souls? How can we know that all things work together for good? How can tribulation and difficulties work patience?

The thread is in the other Gospel reading. And that is, the light of the body is the eye.

What does this mean?

With the eye we look and we desire. With the eye we see, or we think we see. So the eye represents for us desire and knowledge; and with desire and knowledge, priority and the way we will live our life. Now, if we live our life knowing what is true, knowing the inner reality behind things, not what appears to be, but the inner reality of everything we do, everything we say, everything that’s done to us, then our body will be filled with light because our eye will be filled with light.

Things are not as they seem. They are never as they seem. People are never as good as they seem nor as bad as they seem. Situations are not as good nor as bad as they appear. Only with the vision of God can we know the truth of the matter.

And how does one obtain that? Well, the eye is not only about knowledge, it’s also about desire. If we desire the things of God, then we will know the things of God.
 

The martyrs didn’t just happen. These were people that had great desire to follow God’s will, especially the Martyrs of the Turkish yoke because they lived in an ongoing persecution for several hundred years. It wasn’t something quick that we read in some martyrdoms where someone says, I am a Christian, and they have their head cut off. No, this is where their livelihood was endangered. Their children were taken away. All these things were done to them, sort of being, shall we say, like being eaten to death by minnows, a little bit at a time. Some things great, some things small. They had to dress a certain way. And other things to humiliate them. And of course, they couldn’t get good work and be paid as well and have good food and education for their children, all the rest. So they were prepared, by this tribulation, to be patient.
 

What is patience but really seeing the reality behind something?

If we know something will be turn out to be good, then we will endure the bad parts, because we know what is to come. Well, a Christian should know what is to come. A Christian should know that perfection is to come.

Right now there are a lot of imperfect things both in us and in the world. But for a Christian, we are looking to the New Jerusalem, not to this day and age. That’s why the Lord goes at some length and tells us: What are you worried about, about what you eat or what you wear? It doesn’t matter. All that matters is God.

And then He says something that is really a frightening statement because the vast majority, those on the broad road — do not pass this statement, this test. He says you cannot serve God and mammon. Now, mammon of course is money. But what does money do? Money gives us the things we desire. And money causes us — or should I say: Our desires cause us to do things good or to do things that are evil.

So if we are desire things that are evil, we cannot serve God. If we desire our own comfort, we cannot serve God. If we desire our own ego, our own wealth, our own pleasure, we cannot serve God.

There’s a mystical happening here that I want you to see. The things you desire affect your intelligence.

I’m not talking about being able to add one and one and get two. I’m not talking about book intelligence. I’m talking about spiritual sight. Our spiritual sight is affected by the things we desire. It’s a principle that has always been. You can see it throughout the Scriptures. You can see it in the very beginning with Cain and bell. You can see it with Adam and Eve. You can see it all throughout: The things we desire affect our spiritual intelligence.

And you must hone your desires to desire things that are good and holy.

It takes some effort to do this because not all of these things we naturally are attracted to. Which one of us is naturally attracted to being humiliated, to being slandered, to being judged, to being treated unfairly? And yet all these things do is cleanse the soul if we are looking in the right way, if we have an eye full of light and not of darkness. They cleanse the soul so that we can see God clearly.

Truly, what you desire affects your intelligence, whether you know God or not.

People who are overcome with their own daily life and their daily desires, barely know themselves. Things that are quite obvious they don’t even understand. But it’s the same with us. We might know ourselves a little bit better. But there’s so much of ourselves that we don’t know. Why? Because we’re blind. Why are we blind? Because of our desires. It’s all about the eye. To the extent that our eye desires light, we will be light. To the extent that it desires darkness, we will be darkness.

In all of my ministry I have really tried to teach why we follow the Commandments. It’s really something not well understood, especially in this day and age when there is rampant immorality, especially sexual immorality and it’s considered just to be normal.

People have to be given a reason, in my opinion, for why we follow the Commandments.

We do not follow them because they are some sort of laws that are, shall we say, written in stone that are to be thrown upon our heads and kill us if we don’t follow them. But no, when we follow the light, we are light; when we follow the darkness, we are darkness; and great is the darkness. That’s why we follow the Commandments. You could only understand this if you start following them, and then you see how much joy there is in being good.

I have said that I want the epitaph on my gravestone to say: “To feel good, you must do good.” That’s the definition of Christianity. But you do good because you know what’s good and you desire what’s good. That’s what the light of the body being the eye means. The only way is to desire what’s good. That’s the only way to know God. So we desire to be honest. We desire to be chaste. We desire to pray. We desire to forgive.
 

Now, another theme, for those who have known me for quite some time, is that there is a difference between desire and action.

What’s most important is desire.

God will help you with the action.

So, your body will be filled with light if you desire to be light. Now, maybe you have sins, maybe you have habits, maybe you have terrible things that you can’t stop doing or can’t start doing. But if you want to, you eventually will, because the body follows the eye. Where the eye is, the body sees, the body ends up desiring, and the body ends up doing. So you must train your eye to want only good things, only holy things. And then you will have the kind of patience that the martyrs had when their limbs were being severed, when their children were being taken away, when their houses were being repossessed, their livelihoods taken away. When all these things were happening to them, they saw the truth. Their eye was full of light, and they saw light.

Which one of us would be like them? We are ALL called to be like them.

So the beginning of becoming a martyr is to desire only that which is good.

Train yourself to do this. It’s not easy.

I was recently talking to someone about faith. You know, it would be nice if faith meant we always believe and we have no anxieties and everything just seems perfect to us at all moments. But that’s not faith. Faith is working through our doubts. And all those doubts are because of our sins. They are not because of the circumstances but because of our sins. Because the man who sees clearly with an eye full of light, he has no doubts, because he has no sins.

Brothers and sisters, may your eye be full of light. May God help you.

Transcribed by the hand of Helen

 

Priest Seraphim Holland 2009.    

 

This and other Orthodox materials are available in from:

St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

 

·         Mailing Address: Box 37, McKinney, TX 75070

·         Rectory Phone: 972/529-2754

·         Email: seraphim@orthodox.net

·         Web Page: http://www.orthodox.net

·         Redeeming the Time Blog: http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime/

 

This homily is at:

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-03_2009-06-28.html

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-03_2009-06-28.doc

 

http://www/.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime

Archive of commentaries: http://www.orthodox.net/scripture

Archive of homilies: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons

 

To receive regular mailings of sermons, and scriptural and services commentary and other things throughout the church year, read our blog “Redeeming the Time” (http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime). You may also subscribe to the RSS Feed or receive its postings by email.

 

Our parish Email list (http://groups.google.com/group/saint-nicholas-orthodox-church) also has all the latest postings from our website and blog; everyone is welcome to join.

 

All rights reserved.  Please use this material in any edifying reason. We ask that you contact St. Nicholas if you wish to distribute it in any way.  We grant permission to post this text, if completely intact only, including this paragraph and the URL of the text, to any electronic mailing list, church bulletin, web page or blog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On Providence. Homily by Bishop Mitrophan

Friday, June 11th, 2010

On Sunday I will be reading a Russian homily by Bishop Mitrophan (here), which really speaks strongly to me after this building process we have been working through. What follows is my attempt at a translation into English.
-d.Nicholas

******************************************************************************************

The Gospel reading for the 3rd Sunday after Pentecost speaks about God's Providence, his unceasing care for the world.

Do we, does each one of us Christians, believe in God's love which stretches over and covers the entire world and each one of us? Deists – and many Christians – say, "I believe in the Creator of the world, but I don't believe he plays a role in the life of the world." St. John Chrysostom says that those within the bosom of Christ's Church who reason in this way are worse and more dangerous than unbelievers. We may boldly, and without fear of error, add to the words of this "Teacher of the Whole World" that the rejection of God's Providence — that is, the rejection of God's continued care for the world — contradicts reason.

My dear ones, we know that the Creator's plan for the world is a loving plan. And therefore it is impossible for God the Creator to deprive the world of His care.

The Holy Scriptures clearly and plainly confirm the Creator's untiring care for man and for the world. "You give them – both animals and men — their food in due season," (Ps. 144:15; 103:27; 35:7) says the Psalmist David, and the longsuffering Job, the rich and famous man who was afflicted with solitude, poverty and plague, shouted out as he lay in his sores: "Thou hast granted me life and favour, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit" (Job 10:12).

The Old Testament tells us the story of how God cares vigilantly for the forefathers (Gen 26:6; 28:15), and how the mystical and guiding action of God's Providence appears throughout history. The story of Joseph the All-comely clearly illustrates this; the evil perpetrated by Joseph's brothers is transformed and serves God's plan of salvation. When his brothers approached Joseph in Egypt for bread, Joseph said to them: "it was not you that sent me hither, but God… ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good… to save much people alive" (Gen 45:8; 59:20).

All of the Old Testament prophets, proclaiming God's almighty power, say that the Creator provides eternally, distributes to all and gives power to those whom He wills (Jer 25:7 and following).

The wise Solomon says, "Many plans are in a man's heart, but the counsel of the LORD will stand," and "The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer is from the LORD" (Prov 16:1 and 19:20, quoted from the NASB b/c it matches the Russian more closely than the KJV). All of the holy books of the Divine Revelation are inspired with the surety that "man proposes, but God disposes." Without God all the strength and all the efforts of people are in vain. Thanks to Him, the Good Shepherd, His sheep confidently walk the path toward happiness even when they are in the midst of darkness.

Having quoted the witness of Holy Scripture, we think of our people. The leaders of our time discount any though of the participation of the Creator in the life of the world, but we, armed with the eye of faith, say with complete conviction that God has the last word! Our Lord Jesus Christ, underlining the action of God's Providence in the world, revealed to us that God is our Father. He revealed that God's Providence, guiding people and entire nations through the midst of trials, demands constant loyalty from us and calls us, calls every person, to be His co-laborer. It is this that leads to the defeat of of the evil that reigns in the world. God's Providence in the world is apparent, beloved, in the entire course of history. It establishes man in hope and demands that man would be God's co-laborer in this world. Amen.

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The Light of the Body is the Eye What is faith? Romans 5:1-10 Matthew 6:22-33

Friday, June 11th, 2010

3rd Sunday after Pentecost

The Light of the Body is the Eye

What is faith?

Romans 5:1-10 Matthew 6:22-33

2002

 

In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

The Lord tells us today, brothers and sisters,

 

“The light of the body is the eye. If thine eye be therefore sound, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness.”

 

He is speaking about the eyes of the soul. We have two kinds of eyes: those that see things in the world, of matter, and those that see spiritual things. Now how is it that we can have our spiritual eyes seeing things in the light?

 

It comes from understanding about God and about ourselves.

 

First of all, you must understand why you were created and live on this earth. God created you so that you would know Him intimately, and you would see Him and be glad eternally. This is the purpose of your earthly life: to be able to know God, to be able to see Him with gladness, and with a joy that no one can take away from you.

 

Second of all, the world and our flesh is temporal and everything can be taken away. We can have wealth one moment and poverty the next, health one moment and sickness the next, happiness one moment, and then a tragedy befalls us and we are sad. We might have friends at one time and these same friends may at another time turn upon us and treat us as enemies.

 

If a person can see with spiritual eyes that are sound, one can see the spiritual nature of things, the true nature of everything that you do from the time you rise in the morning to the time you lay your head on your pillow. You can see that everything that is happening to you has a purpose.

 

Now if you know that the purpose of your life is to know God, then everything must somehow contribute to your knowing God, but you cannot know someone unless you become like them, and share in their life. The Apostle Paul refers to this sharing in Christ’s life in a mystical way in today’s Epistle reading. He says,

 

“We are justified by faith, and therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.”

 

What is this faith that He speaks of?

 

Most people in the world don’t know what faith is. They think faith is belief about or being very sure about something. This is not faith! In another place, the Apostle Paul says,

 

“We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, and who are called according to His purpose, for whom He did know He did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son.”

 

Faith is to be conformed to the image of His Son. Faith is to live as His Son taught us to live.

 

Our Lord Jesus Christ taught us all that is necessary for eternal life, and, more than a mortal teacher, He made us able to do what He taught us. He taught by example, and then He made that example possible, and we have access to the ability to become righteous through faith in Jesus Christ.

 

Faith is not only believing dogmas, such as: He was born of a Virgin, was crucified, died and resurrected, and that the Holy Spirit came. Faith is attempting, because of His beauty, to be conformed to this beautiful image, which means desiring to change, put off anything that is corruptible, or is incomplete in us, or dark, and to become beautiful.

 

He has promised us that we will be adopted as sons and daughters. Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who had the glory of divinity before all the ages, and all the privileges of a Son of God, before the ages, has promised us that we will be adopted, and be sons and daughters, by grace, because our nature cannot withstand such things, but by grace God makes us capable.

 

And the way we are made capable is by our cooperation with this grace, by our entering into the life of Christ.

 

Then our eyes see things as they really are. When someone slanders us, we don’t see this as some sort of slight against us — how dare such a person say such a thing against me?  — we see this as evidence that we’re unworthy ourselves, and we rejoice that we can, if only just a little, bear slander, as our Lord bore slander. For any other circumstance in our life, any other difficulty, we should always see such things in this way. God allows, or God brings about, things in our life, and all is according to God’s providence.

 

All things work together for good, for those who love God, and who are called according to His purpose.”

 

And what is the purpose to which you are called, brothers and sisters? It is knowledge, joy, completeness — things that cannot be taken away from you, because they abide eternally.

 

Now, how do we enter into this knowledge? There is no substitute for experience. We must experience our Lord Jesus Christ, and taste Him, to see how sweet He is.

 

To the world, He is bitter. To the world, the things that He says are nonsensical. When your brother smites you on the cheek, turn the other cheek to him also, but the world would want to smite. Love your enemies? Do good to those who hate you? No, the world doesn’t want these things. He was a king, and yet He allowed Himself to be crucified, to be mocked. The world thinks that when you have authority, you should have the tokens of authority—the respect of others, or at least the fear of others.

 

Our Lord’s message is not understood by the world, even by most of those who call themselves Christians, because they don’t understand that faith is living according to His life, becoming as He is, changing ourselves, being conformed to His image of perfection.

 

This is what the Lord wants for you and I  — perfection, not merely belief in dogmas, but to be completely changed, to be “all eye”, able to see things as they really are, able to see the beauty of God and not be afraid, but be glad. And the only way that we can see His beauty and be glad is to have obtained some of His beauty here on earth, with our efforts, our toil, and our desire. He makes us capable. All we need do is struggle, even in things that are difficult.

 

The apostle says, “we have access by faith,” that is, by living according to the way Jesus is, “into this grace wherein we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God”.

 

Shouldn’t we rejoice? The Lord is going to make us complete, lacking nothing, nothing changing anymore, no sadness, no insecurity, no infirmities. Knowledge and joy are what He promises us, and that we will be His sons and daughters. This is the hope that we have, and should make us rejoice, and such a hope should make us endure anything for this hope — even when our ego is pricked, or when someone is unfair to us, or in any other tribulations.

 

Now, when the apostle spoke, or wrote these words, there was tribulation in the church. There were people who were sometimes being killed by the government.  It’s continued till this day, in various times and epochs of our history. But he says,

 

“we glory in tribulation also, knowing that tribulation worketh patience, and patience–experience, and experience — hope.”

 

If you don’t enter into the life of Christ, by entering into the way He lived, the way He thought, the way He breathed, what He considered important each day, then you will not have His experience. You must enter into His life, a life full of tribulation. We must not be afraid of tribulation, because tribulation produces patience, and patience — experience, and from experience — from seeing God work in our lives, seeing God change us, and feeling His beauty, and seeing a little of it — we have hope, hope that we will be completely changed someday, completely happy, completely full of knowledge.

 

This is the purpose of our life. This is what the Lord promises to us. He has made us sons by grace, but we must enter into this grace, we must stand in this grace, by faith.

 

And what is faith, again?

 

It is to live, with desire, as Christ lived; to enter into His life – to forgive your enemies because he forgave us, to pray for others, to give way to others, to lay down our life for others, since He lay down his life for us.

 

What a glorious thing it is to be a Christian! We who are unworthy, the Lord has taken to Himself, given us all that we need, promised us happiness and perfection, things that we could never obtain on our own and by ourselves. What a glorious thing it is to be a Christian! Is there any greater name, than that one is a Christian? What a glorious thing, if we live by faith.

 

Brothers and sisters, enter into the life of Christ, in everything you do, in every circumstance of your life. Let thine eye be whole and sound, and see the true nature of things, in every circumstance, so that you can live, and react, as our Lord Jesus Christ would have reacted to each circumstance.

 

May God bless you and help you to live by faith. Amen.

 

 

Priest Seraphim Holland 2002.    

 

This and other Orthodox materials are available in from:

St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

 

·         Mailing Address: Box 37, McKinney, TX 75070

·         Rectory Phone: 972/529-2754

·         Email: seraphim@orthodox.net

·         Web Page: http://www.orthodox.net

·         Redeeming the Time Blog: http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime/

 

This homily is at:

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-03_2002.html

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-03_2002.rtf

 

http://www/.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime

Archive of commentaries: http://www.orthodox.net/scripture

Archive of homilies: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons

 

To receive regular mailings of sermons, and scriptural and services commentary and other things throughout the church year, read our blog “Redeeming the Time” (http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime). You may also subscribe to the RSS Feed or receive its postings by email.

 

Our parish Email list ( http://groups.google.com/group/saint-nicholas-orthodox-church) also has all the latest postings from our website and blog; everyone is welcome to join.

 

All rights reserved.  Please use this material in any edifying reason. We ask that you contact St. Nicholas if you wish to distribute it in any way.  We grant permission to post this text, if completely intact only, including this paragraph and the URL of the text, to any electronic mailing list, church bulletin, web page or blog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A most beautiful bush.

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

This is what we we fighting for tonight. We submitted a request to the city to be allowed to put up a "living fence" of Nellie R Stevens Hollies around the inside perimeter of our property instead of building a concrete fence, which was FAR beyond our means.

Tonight, the Planning and Zoning Commission of the city of McKinney accepted our request!

Many people in the parish have been directly involved in persuading the city to accept our request, and literally people from all over the country have been praying for us for several weeks.

Our prayers and efforts with prayer have been answered, and we will be installing the hedge tomorrow. There is a good chance that the city will approve everything this week, and our first vigil and liturgy will be this weekend. In any case, we will soon be in our new home.

Thanks to all that have supported us – by your encouragement, prayers and alms.

Your support has meant the world to me, as the building process has had many disappointments and "impossibilities". We will no doubt have many more, as we get into our temple with many friends, and little money, and at the moment little energy – but with God's help we will have enough of that soon enough.

Nellie R Stevens winter berries

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2nd Sun after Pentecost. 3 Necessary Things. Audio Homily 2010

Monday, June 7th, 2010

LISTEN NOW

This Sunday's readings are continuous, near the beginning of Matthew. They should be read as a whole and contain important instructions in three things that are absolutely necessary to be saved. We must decide to follow Christ, leave our nets, and climb to top of the Mountain, (the only place) where Christ is. Without simple resolutions on our part, we cannot ever understand the truth about the God-man, Jesus Christ.

Personal request: I am always interested in improving the message. I thought my homily was one of my best, but when I asked for some feedback, I was told I rambled a bit and treid to say too much, and that it was too long. I would appreciate honest critical comments. This subject is at the core of what I try to teach my flock, and I want to do it well.

Matthew 4:18-23, 4:25-5:12 18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. 19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. 20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. 21 And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. 22 And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him. 23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. … 25 And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan. 1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: 2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, 3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

More homilies (text, audio, video) on the Second Sunday after Pentecost and All Saints of Russia are at:
http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/index.html#2nd_Sunday_after_Pentecost


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Second Sunday after Pentecost. All Saints of Russia. Multitudes May Claim To Be With Christ, But Few Really Follow. How do we do this?

Saturday, June 5th, 2010

Second Sunday after Pentecost

All Saints of Russia
Multitudes May Claim To Be With Christ, But Few Really Follow

How do we do this?
Matthew 4:18-23,25-5:12
2009

 

In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Today is the second Sunday after Pentecost, and on this day in the various local churches we celebrate the saints that are particularly dear to that church, for instance, the Saints of Russia for the Russian church, or Greece in the Greek Church et cetera.

The readings today all have a common thread, and you must to be careful to see it. To be a saint — is to not be ordinary. If you are like the rest of the world, you’re not going to be a saint. In fact, if you’re like the rest of the world, you won’t be a Christian. That is the thread that goes through all of these readings, every single one.

Now, the reading for this Sunday is the Gospel is where Jesus is calling his disciples for the first time. He says to them,

 

“Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

 

And so now we have the Gospel about the beatitudes for all the saints of Russia. If you really summarize the saints, what reading can do that? I suppose the reading of the beatitudes, the ones who perfectly fulfilled these beatitudes.

There is something very important that begins this reading. There are multitudes following Christ. And the disciples followed Christ. And the multitudes were so numerous that the Lord went up onto a mountain, and the multitudes didn’t follow Him. But the disciples did. And He sat down and He began to teach them.  There’s following and there’s following. There’s loving and there’s real loving. There’s saying we are Christians and there’s being a Christian.

 
The multitudes in anything, in any group of people, will not be completely sincere. I don’t care where you go, what you do. Most of the people that are practicing for football don’t really want to work that hard. Most of the people that say they are Christian don’t really want to follow the Commandments with that much effort.

 

Where the multitudes are, is apathy and neglect.

 

And there is interest. The multitudes followed Christ because He was interesting. He said amazing things. And they listened to Him but when He wanted to say the really sublime truths of Christianity where He expounded, on the inner meaning of the Commandments, in the Sermon on the Mount, He only spoke to a select few who followed Him.

 

Everybody followed but some followed more than others. And this is the lesson that we should know.

Do we call ourselves Christians? All right. How much are we like other people?

 

When people hurt us, do we get angry? That doesn’t sound any different than the rest of the world. When we are in a predicament, do we lie, make it easier for ourselves? That sounds just like everybody else. Are we self-centered? I don’t see a difference. Do you?

 
To follow Christ is to do what He did. So just because there’s a bunch of people walking in a group, doesn’t mean everybody is going in the same direction. Christianity is the things that happen that are difficult. Oh, it’s easy to be part of the crowd and to love the Lord. It’s easy to come to the church on feast days. It’s easy to have swellings of emotions at various times, but you know what’s really hard is to every day live according to the Gospel, even when it’s difficult.

The disciples had no idea what they were getting into when they followed Christ at the beginning. There was something about Him that was different so they followed Him. What He was going to do was teach them about themselves, the ugly truth, the ugly reality, and also at the same time teach them about Himself. And within them, with struggle, with difficulty, with fear, with hunger, with all the rest that happened to them in those three years, they would learn of the truth, and desire the truth above all things.

 

They didn’t learn these truths in the midst of crowds. They learned them alone with the Lord. They learned them when they went through their own personal difficulties. So it is with us.

 

So much of Christianity today, what passes for Christianity is pablum. Even within the Orthodox faith.

Now, there’s all kinds of ecclesiastical politicking right now about who gets what piece of what pie. This has nothing to do with Christianity. It has to do with I have more numbers than you or all kinds of ridiculous things.

 

Being a Christian is to follow Christ, no matter what.

 

Being a Christian is to be different than everyone else.

 

So if you don’t think you’re much different than the person that you work next to or other people that you know or your neighbors, then you best change. Because if you’re the same as everybody else, if you have the same opinions, same way of life, same priorities, then you’re not really following Christ no matter what you say. And you cannot hear the sublime truths of God.
When Jesus was speaking to the disciples, He was on a mountain. They were around Him. His voice would carry. Possibly He even spoke very loud so that others could hear. But how well are you going to hear someone if you’re far away from them? Especially when there is  crowd noise, and things going on. You’re not going to hear the message. The only way to hear the message is to follow and to be close.

 
Now, how do we do this?

 

He’s not walking on the earth anymore and going onto mountains, so this is not the way we follow Him. We follow Him through prayer, fasting, having the right priorities. Not just on Sunday but every day.

 

When you wake up in the morning, your first priority, really the only priority you should have that day, is to be a better Christian, to learn something of God and to do it. It should be all that matters. It doesn’t matter about the meeting you have that morning or about the potential for profit in this or that or that you’re tired or that you’re busy or anything else. None of it matters, because it’s all going to go away.

The only thing that’s going to stay is the person you become. That’s it. Nothing else matters. All that matters is who you become. The world doesn’t know that, but the Christians do. So to follow Christ means to not be like the world.

Investigate yourself. See how much you’re like the world. To the extent you are, to that extent you’re not a Christian. I’m not talking about sins now. Christians are sinners just like non-Christians. We all struggle with various weaknesses. I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about the way you live your life. If you go day-by-day-by-day and hardly ever pray, can you say you’re a Christian? If you go day-by-day-by-day and rarely go to church, if you go day-by-day-by-day and really don’t think of spiritual things, are you following Christ? You have to answer that question.

Remember that the multitudes didn’t hear the sublime wisdom of the Lord. Only those that were seated by His feet. Only those that were close to Him. Being close to Him means that you follow Him under every circumstance, not just the easy ones. May God help us to follow Him. Amen.

 

Transcribed by the hand of Helen.

 

Priest Seraphim Holland 2009.    

 

This and other Orthodox materials are available in from:

St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

 

·         Mailing Address: Box 37, McKinney, TX 75070

·         Rectory Phone: 972/529-2754

·         Email: seraphim@orthodox.net

·         Web Page: http://www.orthodox.net

·         Redeeming the Time Blog: http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime/

 

This homily is at:

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-02_2009-06-21.html

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-02_2009-06-21.doc

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-02_2009-06-21.mp3

 

More homilies on the Second Sunday after Pentecost and All Saints of Russia are at: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/index.html#2nd_Sunday_after_Pentecost
        

 

http://www/.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime

Archive of commentaries: http://www.orthodox.net/scripture

Archive of homilies: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons

 

To receive regular mailings of sermons, and scriptural and services commentary and other things throughout the church year, read our blog “Redeeming the Time” (http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime). You may also subscribe to the RSS Feed or receive its postings by email.

 

Our parish Email list ( http://groups.google.com/group/saint-nicholas-orthodox-church) also has all the latest postings from our website and blog; everyone is welcome to join.

 

All rights reserved.  Please use this material in any edifying reason. We ask that you contact St. Nicholas if you wish to distribute it in any way.  We grant permission to post this text, if completely intact only, including this paragraph and the URL of the text, to any electronic mailing list, church bulletin, web page or blog.

 

 

 

 

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Parish Newsletter 2010-06-06 2nd Sunday After Pentecost

Friday, June 4th, 2010

At: http://docs.google.com/View?id=d926dxr_26ct6kqwnw

Viee of church looking SE

A worker takes the trouble to get hold of the instruments that he requires. He does so not simply to have them and not use them. Nor is there any profit for him in merely possessing the instruments. What he wants is, with their help, to produce the crafted objective for which these are the efficient means.
 

In the same way, fasting, vigils, scriptural meditation, nakedness and total deprivation do not constitute perfection but are the means to perfection. They are not in themselves the end point of a discipline, but an end is attained to through them. St. John Cassian, Conference One

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Commemorations from the past week and the coming week:

  • Thursday, June 3rd: Jelena Tehlirian, Elena Opancina, Olena Dudar, Elena Witte, Constantine Witte and Helen Parker celebrate their name day. Many years!
  • Sunday, June 13th: Dmitry Smith celebrates his name day. Many years!

 

If you have corrections or additions, e-mail Deacon Nicholas. We would love to announce your birthdays and anniversaries as well, but our records are very incomplete, so please give us this information.

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Prayer Requests

For the Health and Salvation.

  • Priests Jean and Grégoire and all the faithful and suffering of Haiti
  • Elizabeth Ash

For the Repose. Please pray for the repose of the recently departed servants of God, who have reposed within the last forty days:

  • Bishop Daniel of Erie. Fortieth Day: 6/4 ns.
  • Dr John Johnstone. 6/4 ns."Herr Doctor" was a dear friend of Fr Seraphim and family in St Louis. He was about 90. 

For a more complete listing, please see our parish prayer list.
 

If you have prayer requests for the ill, for those with special needs or in difficult circumstance or for the departed, please e-mail Priest Seraphim or Deacon Nicholas


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Schedule of Divine Services in the Coming week
(Currently, all services will be in Dallas unless otherwise noted):

Saturday, 6/5/10

  • Confessions, 4pm.
  • Vigil, 5pm.

Sunday, 6/6/10. All Saints of Russia.

  • Divine Liturgy, 10am.
Tuesday, 6/8/10

  • NO Vespers. (We will be at the Planning and Zoning Committee Meeting.)

Wednesday, 6/9/10.

  • NO Divine Liturgy
  • Vespers, 7pm in McKinney.

Thursday, 6/10/10.

  • Divine Liturgy, 9am.
  • Molieben, 7pm in McKinney.
Saturday, 6/12/10

  • Confessions, 4pm.
  • Vigil, 5pm.

Sunday, 6/13/10. New Martyrs of the Turkish Yoke.

  • Divine Liturgy, 10am.

Directions to our McKinney location can be found here:

Our ongoing calendar of services through is posted here:

Our "Redeeming the Time" blog usually has at least several posts a week – http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime.

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Fasting in the Coming week:

The apostles' fast continues until the feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul on Monday, July 12th. During this fast, we fast from meat, fish, dairy, eggs, wine and oil, with the following exeptions:

  • Fish, wine and oil are allowed on Saturday and Sunday
  • Wine and oil are allowed on Tuesday and Thursday

There are also particular relaxations in honor of certain saints. This week,

  • Fish is allowed on Monday in honor of St. John the Baptist
 
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Electronic Sunday Bulletin

The electronic bulletin, prepared by Holy Cross Australian Orthodox Mission (NSW), contains readings for Sunday's Liturgy, Saints of the Day for Sunday and the coming week, and other edifying reading for the week.

 Requires Adobe Acrobat reader (which is free to download)
http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html
 

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