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

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.

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

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.

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

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

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

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 cqrd 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 scrupture weekly. For now, get 1 Peter 2:20 down pat.

Answer All the Questions. 3rd Sunday after Pentecost – Matthew 6:22-33

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. 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?? 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? …

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

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?

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

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.