Archive for July, 2011

Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. Freedom and slavery explained by the Apostle Paul and the Centurion.

Sunday, July 10th, 2011

Western style black ink picture of The Centurion asking for his servant to be healed.

Western style black ink picture of The Centurion asking for his servant to be healed.

Sometimes I like these pictures, but of course, they are art, not icons.

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Synopsis: We must understand what happened in baptism and what we are able to do and MUST do because of it. In finishing his classic treatise on baptism, in Romans Chapter 6, St Paul explains what true freedom is and what good and bad slavery is. There are two kinds of freedom and two kinds of slavery. We must be free regarding sin, but slaves to righteousness. This cannot be emphasized enough in our life, and must become a kind of mnemonic, to guide us in all of our decisions. The actions of the Centurion perfectly illustrate the proper kind of freedom and slavery to possess.

More homilies on the 4th Sunday after Pentecost are HERE

Romans 6:18-23 18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. 19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. 20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. 21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. 22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Matthew 8:5-13 5 And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, 6 And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. 7 And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. 8 The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. 9 For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. 10 When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. 11 And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 13 And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.


If the "LISTEN NOW" link does not work, copy this URL into your browser: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-04_2011-07-10+being-then-made-free-from-sin-ye-became-the-servants-of-righteousness+freedom-and-slavery-explained-by-paul-and-the-centurion_romans6-18-23-matthew8-5-13.m3u

If this file does not work for you, try the direct link to the actual mp3 file:http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-04_2011-07-10+being-then-made-free-from-sin-ye-became-the-servants-of-righteousness+freedom-and-slavery-explained-by-paul-and-the-centurion_romans6-18-23-matthew8-5-13.mp3


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Electronic Newsletter June 27/July 10 St. Sampson the Hospitable

Saturday, July 9th, 2011

St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

Electronic Newsletter

June 27/July 10

St. Sampson the Hospitable

Announcements
Prayer Requests
Schedule of Divine Services in the Coming week
Fasting in the Coming week

Synaxis of the Holy Apostles Icon, with Peter and Paul in front.

Synaxis of the Holy Apostles Icon, with Peter and Paul in front.

O first-enthroned among the Apostles and preachers of the whole world: entreat the Master of all that He grant peace to the world and great mercy to our souls!


Announcements

Good news! There are still seats available for our fundraiser on Sunday, July 17th, and the Bingham House has graciously allowed us to continue to sell tickets. Igumen Gregory from St. Arsenius Hermitage in Decator will present a talk about "Prayer and its Practice." The talk will take place across the street at the Bingham House. Parishioners are encouraged to attend.

Parishioners are also asked, if possible, to help provide the complementary refreshments during the talk. Emails have been sent out to the St. Julianna Sisterhood list with suggested menu items that need to be provided. If you have any questions, contact Elaine King. .

This event has a dual purpose.

1. We are trying to make a little money to build our deck. We are way too big for our Trapeza, and way too small in means to build onto the building, but we can almost afford a covered and "conditioned" deck. It will have panels which can be rollwed down for very cold weathers, fans, and heaters, and we plan to use it year roud for our meals after liturgy.

2. We hope to be more of an influence in the community and want to have more events and interaction with the community in which we live and the entire DFW community.


 

If you can give a few hours of our time to help care for God's house, please contact Matushka Marina, Reader David or Deacon Nicholas and we'll tell you how you can help.

We have a list of things our parish needs. If you or somebody you know wish to supply one of these items, please contact us.
 

 

 


 

Prayer Requests

Our parish prayer list is constantly updated. We use it in both of our weekly liturgies (Thu and Sun), and our Monday Moleben. Some of us use it in our daily prayers. You are encouraged to print it out and use it also.

Here are some recent additions.

General

 

Lilias

6/4 Matushka of +Deacon Polycarp Sherwood

Michael

6/4 email request to Priest Seraphim

Christina

6/9

Novice Alexander

6/9 Elder Hieronymus of Aegina said:  “God does not listen to the words, but sees the heart.” 

Michael

6/22 friend of Tim

Sarah

7/4 mother of Leah (7/o), very sick

Matthew

7/6 via Dcn Michael Bishop. Raised Orthodox, assembly of God pastor, warming back to the faith.

Unknown if Orthodox: Argelia, Jessica

7/6 Dan Rudder: drudder@crosscrafter.com I just received a call from a friend of ine asking for prayers for his sister Argelia and her daughter Jessica. Argelia was kidnapped in Matimorros Mexico (Brownsville, TX border), she was finally released but they took everything from her including her passport, visa all her information. I believe they still have the daughter.

Igumen Anastassy and the faithful of St. Peter the Aleut Church in Minot, North Dakota

 

7/6 Dan Rudder drudder@crosscrafter.com: His Grace, Bishop Matthias (OCA, ps) has asked me to send an email asking you to please pray for  Igumen Anastassy et al, who are suffering from the flooding.. Please remember them in the Divine Liturgy this weekend.    



 

SICK

 

Alexej

6/28 via Juliana – worsened chronic condition.

Cody

6/29 soldier seriously injured in Afganistan

Leah

7/4 7 y/o, relapse leukemia.

Priest Haralampos

6/23 via John Tapsos Father Haralambos Fox who was recently diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. He has begun his chemotherapy treatments. Please remember him, Presvytera Joann and their children in your prayers and special paraklesis services. During this time, the parish of Saints Constantine and Helen in Lancaster will be served by Father Andew Lesko.



Not Orthodox: Elaine

6/24 Deacon Michael Bishop father@deaconmichael.com

Elaine has Ca, sees him on the street

TRAVELING

 

Dn. Nicholas, Genevieve, Anna, Emilia, Sophia, Lucy, Nina

7/7-7/12

Natalia, Nicholas

5/1 Quillin in Ukraine

Irina, Alexander

 

Yuliya, Nikolai

 

REPOSED

 

Deacon Polycarp

6/4 ns. Sherwood. ROCOR Western Rite in Canada

Archpriest Philip

6/16 ns father of Reader Alexander Petrovsky

Hieromonk Panteleimon

6/19 ns. Indonesia

Garifalio

6/19 ns means Carnation. "Rosalie", family in Florida.

not Orthodox: Bjorn

7/1 father in law of Xenia (Norway)

  Anyone can make requests to this list.
 


 

Schedule of Divine Services in the Coming week

Saturday 7/9 

  • 4PM Confession
  • 5PM Vigil

Sunday 7/10

  • 10AM  Divine Liturgy

Monday 7/11

  • 7:30PM Vigil for the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul.

Tuesday 7/12 Holy Apostles Peter and Paul

  • 9AM Divine Liturgy

Wednesday 7/13

  • 7:00PM Vespers

Thursday 7/14

  • 9AM Divine Liturgy

Saturday 7/16 

  • 4PM Confession
  • 5PM Vigil

Sunday 7/17

  • 10AM  Divine Liturgy
  • 5PM  "Prayer and its Practice" talk at the Bingham House

Fasting this week

The fast of the Holy Apostles will continue until the Feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul on Tuesday. Wednesday and Friday are fasting days. On Wednesday, Fish wine and oil are allowed, and on Friday, Wine and Oil are allowed. 

Links

Holy Apostles Peter And Paul
What defines the ministry of the Apostles?
Peter's confession.
The hundred and fifty three fish and the Restoration of Peter.
The life of the Apostles and the church is built upon the bedrock of the confession of faith.
Matthew 16:13-19 John 21:15-25
2008

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Nativity Of John The Baptist The Teaching Of John The Baptist Explained By St Paul Romans 13:11-14:4

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

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Synopsis: The selection from Romans read for the Nativity of the Forerunner is a remarkable summary of the core teaching of St John the Baptist. Note that "teaching" is not plural, because, primarily, the Holy Forerunner was concerned with only one thing – preparing the way for the immanent appearance in the world of Jesus Christ, and he could only see one way to do this: "make his paths straight" We discuss how St Paul summarizes this teaching and also the wonderful assertion that " now is our salvation nearer than when we believed", which also applies very much to the ministry of St John, and should be realized by us each succeeding day of our life.

Romans 13:11-14:4 11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. 1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. 2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. 3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. 4 Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.


If the "LISTEN NOW" link does not work, copy this URL into your browser: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/feasts-of-the-saints-06-24_2011-07-07+nativity-of-john-the-baptist+the-teaching-of-john-the-baptist-explained-by-st-paul_romans13-11-14-4.m3u

If this file does not work for you, try the direct link to the actual mp3 file:http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/feasts-of-the-saints-06-24_2011-07-07+nativity-of-john-the-baptist+the-teaching-of-john-the-baptist-explained-by-st-paul_romans13-11-14-4.mp3


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Nativity of the Forerunner and Baptist John – Exegesis of the Vespers Parables.

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

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Synopsis: The Vespers parables for the Nativity of St John are what we might expect: the stories of barren women who bare children (notable Sarah, who bore Isaac, and the unnamed mother of Sampson, wife of Manoah) and the seminal passage from Isaiah which prophesies the coming of the Forerunner, with the memorable line "The voice of one crying in the desert: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the wilderness the paths of our God"). What is important about these readings? Since the whole of the teaching of the Baptist was preparation via morality, we can expect there to be a heavy emphasis on how we should live. By the way, astute listeners will recognize that the second reading was incorrectly identified as referring to Hanna, the mother of Samuel, when actually the reading is about Sampson. Of course, Hannah was another barren woman who bore a child. Ooops

SCRIPTURETEXT

SCRIPTUREGenesis 17:15-17, 19; 18:11-14; 21:1-8 15 God said also to Abraham: Sarai thy wife thou shalt not call Sarai, but Sara. 16 And I will bless her, and of her I will give thee a son, whom I will bless, and he shell become nations, and kings of people shall spring from him. 17 Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, saying in his heart: Shall a son, thinkest thou, be born to him that is a hundred years old? and shall Sara that is ninety years old bring forth? 19 And God said to Abraham: Sara thy wife shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name Isaac, and I will establish my covenant with him for a perpetual covenant, and with his seed after him. 11 Now they were both old, and far advanced in years, and it had ceased to be with Sara after the manner of women. 12 And she laughed secretly, saying: After I am grown old 13 And the Lord said to Abraham: Why did Sera laugh, saying: Shall I who am an old woman bear a child indeed ? 14 Is there any thing hard to God? according to appointment I will return to thee at this same time, life accompanying, and Sara shall have a son. 1 And the Lord visited Sara, as he had promised: and fulfilled what he had spoken. 2 And she conceived and bore a son in her old age, at the time that God had foretold her. 3 And Abraham called the name of his son, whom Sara bore him, Isaac. 4 And he circumcised him the eighth day, as God had commanded him, 5 When he was a hundred years old: for at this age of his father was Isaac born. 6 And Sara said: God hath made a laughter for me: whosoever shall hear of it will laugh with me. 7 And again she said: Who would believe that Abraham should hear that Sara gave suck to a son, whom she bore to him in his old age. 8 And the child grew and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast on the day of his weaning.

SCRIPTUREJudges 13:2-8, 13-14, 17-18, 21 2 Now there was a certain man of Saraa, and of the race of Dan, whose name was Manue, and his wife was barren. 3 And an angel of the Lord appeared to her, and said: Thou art barren and without children: but thou shalt conceive and bear a son. 4 Now therefore beware and drink no wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing. 5 Because thou shalt conceive and bear a son, and no razor shall touch his head: for he shall be a Nazarite of God, from his infancy, and from his mother's womb, and he shall begin to deliver Israel from the hands of the Philistines. 6 And when she was come to her husband she said to him: A man of God came to me, having the countenance of an angel, very awful. And when I asked him who he was, and whence he came, and by what name he was called, he would not tell me. 7 But he answered thus: Behold thou shalt conceive and bear a son: beware thou drink no wine, nor strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing: for the child shall be a Nazarite of God from his infancy, from his mother's womb until the day of his death. 8 Then Manue prayed to the Lord, and said: I beseech thee, O Lord, that the mail of God, whom thou didst send, may come again, and teach us what we ought to do concerning the child that shall be born. 13 And the angel of the Lord said to Manue: From all the things I have spoken of to thy wife, let her refrain herself: 14 And let her eat nothing that cometh of the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing: and whatsoever I have commanded her, let her fulfil and observe. 17 And he said to him: What is thy name, that, if thy word shall come to pass, we may honour thee? 18 And he answered him: Why askest thou my name, which is wonderful? 21 And the angel of the Lord appeared to them no more. And forthwith Manue understood that it was an angel of the Lord,

SCRIPTUREIsaiah 40:1-3, 9; 41:17-18; 45:8; 48:20-21; 54:1 1 Be comforted, be comforted, my people, saith your God. 2 Speak ye to the heart of Jerusalem, and call to her: for her evil is come to an end, her iniquity is forgiven: she hath received of the hand of the Lord double for all her sins. 3 The voice of one crying in the desert: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the wilderness the paths of our God. 9 Get thee up upon a high mountain, thou that bringest good tidings to Sion: lift up thy voice with strength, thou that bringest good tidings to Jerusalem: lift it up, fear not. Say to the cities of Juda: Behold your God: 17 The needy and the poor seek for waters, and there are none: their tongue hath been dry with thirst. I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. 18 I will open rivers in the high bills, and fountains in the midst of the plains: I will turn the desert into pools of waters, and the impassable land into streams of waters. 8 Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the just: let the earth be opened, and bud forth a saviour: and let justice spring up together: I the Lord have created him. 20 Come forth out of Babylon, flee ye from the Chaldeans, declare it with the voice of joy: make this to be heard, and speak it out even to the ends of the earth. Say: The Lord hath redeemed his servant Jacob. 21 They thirsted not in the desert, when he led them out: he brought forth water out of the rock for them, and he clove the rock, and the waters gushed out. 1 Give praise, O thou barren, that bearest not: sing forth praise, and make a joyful noise, thou that didst not travail with child: for many are the children of the desolate, more than of her that hath a husband, saith the Lord.


If the "LISTEN NOW" link does not work, copy this URL into your browser: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/feasts-of-the-saints-06-24_2011-07-06+nativity-of-john-the-baptist+exegesis-of-vespers-parables_genesis-judges-isaiah.m3u

If this file does not work for you, try the direct link to the actual mp3 file:http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/feasts-of-the-saints-06-24_2011-07-06+nativity-of-john-the-baptist+exegesis-of-vespers-parables_genesis-judges-isaiah.mp3


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Scripture to memorize (my parishioners read this!) 1 Peter 2:20 and soon: Romans 8:26 Matthew 11:27-30

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

Scripture for Orthodox Christians Orthodox Christians use the Bible in their services more than anyone, with more theological precision and understanding than anyone, and unfortunately many have a poor reading understanding of the Bible. These scriptures were presented for memorization at St Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney Texas, for the purpose of awakening in my flock a love of, understanding of, and memory of the scriptures. In English, Russian and Spanish.

Many of us have memorized the first of our series, 1 Peter 2:20. I have selected two more scriptures, which we will commence to working on soon. All Scripture will be published in English, Russian and Spanish, in a convenient "card" format. just print out the "card" on regular paper, and cut it in quarters, and you will have a card for your prayer book, dashboard, etc.

I think this is really important. I want my flock to know and love the scriptures. All the basic stories (and there are hundreds of them) should be familiar to us, and we should have scripture "written on our hearts".

Please join me in memorizing scripture weekly. For now, get 1 Peter 2:20 down pat.

I am requiring all my clergy to try to memorize these scriptures.

I plan to ask any brave souls who want to ( I will not call people out) to recite the current scripture being memorized at Trapeza. Of course, I will require this of myself.

All scripture to be memorized is archived at: http://www.orthodox.net/scripture-memory

Here is what we have so far.

  • 1 Peter 2:20
  • For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. In formats: WORD ; PDF  
  • Romans 8:26
  • Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
    In formats: WORD ; PDF
  • Matthew 11:27-30
  • All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. 28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
    In formats: WORD ; PDF
    This is the entire Gospel reading for the 4th Thursday after Pentecost.
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Answer All the Questions. 3rd Sunday after Pentecost – Matthew 6:22-33

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011


Answer All the Questions

Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? And why take ye thought for raiment?
3rd Sunday after Pentecost
 – Matthew 6:22-33
2010

 

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

Brothers and sisters, the Scripture is full of questions, commands, warnings, promises, and consequences for actions. All of these, every single one of them, applies to us. You must read the Scripture and answer the questions and listen to the commands and heed the warnings and realize they are for you.

Now, this reading today for the cycle, for the third Sunday after Pentecost, about the body and the eye and the light of the body being the eye, has two important questions in it.

 

Here is one: the Lord says: Is not life more than meat and the body more than raiment?” That question is a very important one to answer, and it’s one that actually is answered hundreds of times every day by every person, whether they are Christian or not, whether or not they believe in God.

And with it is the question that follows: “And why do you take thought for your clothing?” And then the Lord goes on to tell about the lilies of the field and some commands about how we should act and what we should do.

None of this makes any sense to anyone unless we answer this first question well. This question can be also stated: What is life all about? Most people get this question wrong, because the way to Hell is broad. The people that answer this question wrong think of life in terms of what is happening in front of them, what they will be doing or what they have done or what they are planning. They think in terms of being a good father or mother or having wealth or having insurance for their old age or whatever – worldly concerns. We’re not talking now about bad people, just earthly, worldly people. They are everywhere; the Lord speaks of them all the time. Remember the parable about the tares? That’s about worldly people. Remember the parable about the sower and the seed? It talks about worldly people also.

You must answer this question the right way if you are to be able to follow the Lord’s admonitions about not being worried for tomorrow and seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness. We can’t do it unless we truly believe that life is to know God and know Him intimately, and that is the only important answer to every question.

So, when the Lord says, is life more than food and the body more than clothing; of course this should be self-evident to us; life is ordered in order to know God. So everything you do should be to know God. And the way you think determines who you are. This is what the Lord is speaking of when He says, the light of the body is the eye; because the eye sees and desires. What you desire is who you are, no matter how much Scripture you know or anything else that you accomplish in life. What you see and desire is what you are, and it affects your soul. This is very critically important for us to understand. The eye determines where the soul goes. So your eye must desire to see God.

Now, the Lord gives many admonitions after He asks us these questions. Some of these are very hard. Maybe this particular day they’re not so tough, but tomorrow there will be something that’s really hard in your life, and it will be very hard to think only of God and to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, because you have got so much else going around you. You have got worries about this and concerns about that, and distractions, and everyone’s pulling you in different directions. All this stuff is going on, so it’s very, very hard.

So how is it that we can have such a mind that we would seek first His kingdom and His righteousness? Well, the answer to this question comes in two parts. The incorrect answer comes in a million different ways. But the correct answer is, first of all: All that matters is God. Life is to know God. But then the important second answer is: I must do everything I can to learn this and to become this and to be this. It doesn’t come necessarily easily to us, because we forget. This is why the Lord repeats over and over basically the same thing. He talks about the lilies of the field, and He talks about the grass. He’s saying the same thing. And He says, take no thought about what we should eat or drink or how shall we be clothed. It’s all the same thing. He’s saying: Don’t take thought for worldly things. Think of spiritual things. Why does He say it over and over? Because we forget over and over.

So we must cultivate in ourselves this thought that life is for God and life is to know God. It’s not enough to know this to be able to answer the question correctly. It is not enough even to believe it very deeply in your heart. You must cultivate this understanding over and over and over again, by how you live, by what you do.

This is why I as a pastor am grieved when I see that some of you don’t come to church often, don’t commune and confess often. I don’t just want to see a bunch of people in church. I want you to cultivate in your heart the love of God. And there are a lot of things competing against this love of God, not the least of which is your own flesh which turns towards evil quite easily.

So you must cultivate in yourself this love. You must force yourself, not only to say your formal prayers and to fast when you don’t want to fast and to come to church, but also to have in your life that the purpose of your life is God, is to know Him. And so whatever it is that you can do that you know Him better, that is a good thing. And anything that doesn’t help you know Him better, is a worthless thing and an evil thing.

And that’s why I as a pastor, like probably every pastor there is, asks his flock to come to church more frequently, to confess, to commune, to read the Scriptures, to fast – not because these things are on your checklist of things that you have to do, but because the purpose of your life is to know God.

 

How can you know God unless you strive to be like Him? Unless you pray to Him? Unless you order your life according to His commandments? It doesn’t happen. How can you know God unless you recognize that in your life, today, you will answer this question: Is not life more than meat? And the body more than raiment? A thousand times. And everything you do is a decision. Everything you do is a value judgment. There are no neutral things. There’s nothing that does not matter. Everything matters. The way you think, the way you talk, the way you are with people, your values, your judgments, your priorities, how you spend your time, what you read. Everything matters. And everything must be for the purpose of knowing God. This is what this Scripture is telling us today.

The Lord uses this imagery of the eye. He’s not talking about our human eyes. He is talking about our soul, and He is talking about our desire. The Lord gave us intense desire. We have this capacity in us to desire, that can be used for good or it can be used for evil. It’s easy to use it for evil. It is difficult to use it for good until you have become so accustomed to tasting the good and avoiding the evil, that it could not occur to you to do anything else. That’s what the apostle talks about in his letter that when we become such that we love God so much that we do not sin[1].

Brothers and sisters, answer this question all the time. Hear this question; look for this question in your heart. It’s happening all the time whether you know it or not, and you should know it. And then answer this second question: Why do you take thought for raiment, for food or troubles or the test that’s coming up or your job or whatever? Why do you take thought for these things instead of Godly things? The answer is simple: Because of lack of faith, because of weakness in your soul.

So do what you can to make yourself strong. Pray and fast and have in your mind’s eye what is important in life. There’s only one thing. There’s only one answer to every question, and that is to know Jesus Christ and God the Father. It’s the only answer. It’s all that matters.

May God help you to feel this question deeply in your heart every moment of the day and to answer it always: Lord, Here I am[2].  May God help you. Amen.

 

 

Priest Seraphim Holland 2010.     Transcribed by the hand of Helen.

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_2010-06-13+answer-all-the-questions.html

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-03_2010-06-13+answer-all-the-questions.doc

Audio: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-03_2010-06-13+answer-all-the-questions.mp3

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.

 

 

 



[1] 1John_3:9  Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God

[2] 1Samuel 3:4-5 KJV  That the LORD called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I.  (5)  And he ran unto Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou calledst me. And he said, I called not; lie down again. And he went and lay down.

 

 

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How To Discern Light And Darkness In The Eye Of The Soul. Matthew 6:22-33

Monday, July 4th, 2011

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Synopsis: Today we learn about desire, and what shapes our desires. Just as the light of the body is the eye, the soul also has an eye that enlightens it. Our physical eyes can easily discern light and darkness, but the eye of the soul must be trained to do this, because without training. The eye of the soul will not know light from darkness. How do we train the eye of the soul?

More homilies on the 3rd Sunday after Pentecost are HERE

Matthew 6:22-33 22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! 24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. 25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.


If the "LISTEN NOW" link does not work, copy this URL into your browser: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-03_2011-07-03+how-to-discern-light-and-darkness-in-the-eye-of-the-soul_matthew6-22-33.m3u

If this file does not work for you, try the direct link to the actual mp3 file:http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-03_2011-07-03+how-to-discern-light-and-darkness-in-the-eye-of-the-soul_matthew6-22-33.mp3


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Again and again in peace…

Saturday, July 2nd, 2011

Our services – Vespers, Matins, and portions of the Divine Liturgy and the services of need – are punctuated in many places by the so-called "Small Litany." What is this Litany, and what is it for?

The text itself tells us. It begins, "Again and again, in peace let us pray to the Lord."

This recalls to our minds the opening line of the Great Litany – the series of petitions which we read at the very beginning (either immediately or after singing or reading a psalm) of each of these services. The Great Litany begins, "In peace let us pray to the Lord." We are in church to pray, and are exhorted to do so with God's peace in our hearts.

From there the services are a mixture of prayers, psalms, scripture readings, sacraments and hymns.

At several points, after we have spend some time reading psalms, singing the hymns we call "the canon," or singing antiphons composed of psalm verses, the deacon comes out onto the Ambo and call us to prayer: "Again and again, in peace let us pray to the Lord."

All of our psalmody and hymnody is, of course, prayer. But now we are as it were asked to collect ourselves. Perhaps our mind has wandered or perhaps our thoughts have strayed from the basic, simple prayer of faith that should always be at the core of our being.

And so we are recalled: "Again and again…" And recollecting our attention, we again focus on direct petition for the things that matter most. What are these things?

"Help us, save us, have mercy on us, and keep us, O God, by Thy grace."

That says it all, does it not? "By grace ye are saved." All of our hope, all of our trust, all of our confidence is and should be in God. And so our petition is to him, to help us in all things, to save us, to have mercy on us (i.e. to pour out upon us everything good), and to keep us. And we don't receive these things by our own effort or will, but by His grace.

"Calling to remembrance our most holy, most pure, most blessed, glorious lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary with all the saints, let us commit ourselves and one another and all our lives unto Christ our God."

This is our part of the equation. He gives us all things by His grace; it remains to us to completely commit ourselves and all of our loved ones to Him, to trust Him in everything, and to obey His commandments with childlike faith, knowing that all things will work out for the good if we love and obey Him.

This task might seem difficult to us — and it is, because we are weak in faith. And so to strengthen us, the Church asks us to bring to mind those who have gone before us: our Lord's mother and all the saints, who by completely committing themselves to Him inherited eternal life themselves and brought many others to the Lord.

The Litany then ends with an exclamation by the priest. These vary, but they always give glory to our God — to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit — for His Power, His Love, His Holiness, etc. In this way, we crown our prayer by joining the angels in their unceasing praise of our Thrice-Holy God.

Dn. Nicholas Park

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Children’s homily (and some family history). Fear not them which kill the body. Matthew 10:23-31

Saturday, July 2nd, 2011

The children's homily.

A children's homily in our old church. Typically done at our Thursday liturgies

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Synopsis: A homily for the children most of whom were the grandchildren of the priest, who reminisced with them about how their mother loved the verse "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul", and would emphatically state this in her squeaky little girl voice. We discuss trust and how God is always with us, and knows everything about us – even the number of hairs on our head, as usual, with the children seated "in the round" and with audience participation.

More homilies on the weekdays after Pentecost are HERE

Matthew 10:23-31 23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come. 24 The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. 25 It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? 26 Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. 27 What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. 28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.


If the "LISTEN NOW" link does not work, copy this URL into your browser: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-thursday-03_2011-06-30+childrens-homily+fear-not-them-which-kill-the-body_matthew10-23-31.m3u

If this file does not work for you, try the direct link to the actual mp3 file:http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-thursday-03_2011-06-30+childrens-homily+fear-not-them-which-kill-the-body_matthew10-23-31.mp3


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Electronic Newsletter June 6/19 All Saints of North America

Friday, July 1st, 2011

St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

Electronic Newsletter

June 6/19

All Saints of North America

Announcements
Prayer Requests
Schedule of Divine Services in the Coming week
Fasting in the Coming week

For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. 

(1 Pet 2:20)

 


Announcements

On Sunday, July 17th, we will be holding a fund-raising event to fund the construction of our covered porch, which we hope will provide a much-needed expansion to our dining space. Igumen Gregory from St. Arsenius Hermitage in Decator will present a talk about "Prayer and its Practice." The talk will take place across the street at the Bingham House. Parishioners are encouraged to attend;

Tickets will not be available at the door. They may be purchased unto July 2nd at www.orthodox.net.

Parishioners are also asked, if possible, to help provide the complementary refreshments during the talk. Emails have been sent out to the St. Julianna Sisterhood list with suggested menu items that need to be provided. If you have any questions, contact Elaine King. .

 


 

If you can give a few hours of our time to help care for God's house, please contact Matushka Marina, Reader David or Deacon Nicholas and we'll tell you how you can help.

We have a list of things our parish needs. If you or somebody you know wish to supply one of these items, please contact us.
 


 

Prayer Requests

For the Health and Salvation.

  • Kateryna (Kayla) Bayda. (employment)
  • Natalia and Nicholas (traveling in Ukraine until mid August)
  • David
  • Elizabeth
  • Priests Jean and Grégoire & all the faithful and suffering of Haiti.
  • The suffering people of East Japan.

For a more complete listing, please see our parish prayer list. Anyone can make requests.
 


 

Schedule of Divine Services in the Coming week

Saturday 7/2 St. John of San Francisco

  • 9AM Divine Liturgy for St. John
  • 4PM Confession
  • 5PM Vigil

Sunday 7/3 All Saints of North America

  • 10AM  Divine Liturgy

Wednesday 7/6

  • 7:00PM Vespers

Thursday 7/7 Nativity of St. John the Baptist

  • 9AM Divine Liturgy

Saturday 7/9 

  • 4PM Confession
  • 5PM Vigil

Sunday 7/10

  • 10AM  Divine Liturgy

Fasting in the Coming weeks

The fast of the Holy Apostles will continue until the Feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul on June 29 / July 12. During this time, we abstain from meat, dairy and egg products. Fish is eaten on weekends only. Wine and cooking oil are used on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and certain days in honor of major saints.

This week, Fish is allowed on Thursday in honor of St John the Baptist.

 

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