Wednesday, July 8/21 St Procopius
Children’s liturgy, Children’s sermon
Prayers in the mother tongue
Prayer and doing things prayerfully.
1. I served children’s liturgy today. I love to sit on the step of the solea and give the children’s sermon, with the children seated around me. I think the adults like it too. Although the content is simple, I ALWAYS learn something from what I say, so I figure the adults learn too.
2. One of the Gospels readings today was about the vineyard workers (Matthew 20:1-16, 9th Wed after Pentecost). It is one of the “Kingdom parables”. I asked the children what a parable was, and got a pretty good answer – a story that is told to explain something important. I added that the Lord taught many parables, but they were by no means only in the Gospel – for instance ‘Jack and the beanstalk and Cinderella are also parables.
3. I explained that the “Kingdom parables” all begin in this way “The kingdom of heaven is like…”, much like many fairy tales begin with “Once upon a time”. These parables are not describing heaven as much as they are describing the way we must live to get to heaven. Although this is a “child friendly” explanation, it is still true.
4. “Is thine eye evil, because I am good?” This is the 15th verse in the reading. This parable is about jealousy. I do not think any one of us can answer this question in the negative. Our pride shackles us, and makes us jealous in little and great ways, and not matter how little or great, any jealousy puts us far away from God.
5. In the parable, the “householder” is God, and the workers of the vineyard are all of us.
6. I have so much stuff to say, and not enough time to say it. Perhaps writing “ten things” once in a while will get some of it “said”.
7. I was offering counsel recently, and I counseled myself. This happens frequently. I unofficially think this is one of the consolations of the priesthood.
8. What do we want when we pray? Fundamentally, we want union with God. What fundamentally interferes with our union with God? Our sins, or more properly, our sinful condition. Prayer can illuminate the heart, but obedience can too. Doing things that seemingly interfere with our prayer can be more effective than prayer, if we do them – prayerfully.
9. I was at a friend’s house today in the afternoon and saw a book he had recently purchased. He has a great library with a comfortable couch, and we sit there and drink coffee. The book is “The Life and Teachings of Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica”, from St Herman of
I read the introduction and was, as they say, “blown away!” He emphasizes something that I have learned the hard way, but still have not been able to control – our thoughts determine how we experience our life.
10. Had lunch with a friend today. He posted on his Facebook that he had a “lunch date with Fr Seraphim” and some of his friends were fascinated that he would have lunch with a priest. I guess they think we are so heavenly that we do not eat! I posted later that he actually had lunch with a long haired nurse in a black dress. All of this is true!
[i] This document is a list of ten (more or less) things about a particular topic. More “Ten Things” topics may be found at http://www.orthodox.net/10things. They are also posted to the blog of St Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney Texas, called “Redeeming the Time” – http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime. Look under the category “10things”. Use anything you wish, but please indicate authorship, with the URL.