Archive for September, 2011

Beheading of the Glorious Prophet Forerunner and Baptist John. Exegesis of Vespers Readings

Sunday, September 11th, 2011

the Beheading of John the Baptist. LISTEN NOW

Synopsis: The Vespers parables for the commemoration of the beheading of John the Baptist contain many prophesies concering him, and also an incredibly poetic and accurate description of the human condition and the solution for it, which John announced – the Messiah. The following is a short exegesis of these readings.

Isaiah 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.

Malachi 3:1-3, 5-7, 12, 18; 4:4-6 1 Behold I send my angel, and he shall prepare the way before my face. And presently the Lord, whom you seek, and the angel of the testament, whom you desire, shall come to his temple. Behold he cometh, saith the Lord of hosts. 2 And who shall be able to think of the day of his coming? and who shall stand to see him? for he is like a refining fire, and like the fuller's herb: 3 And he shall sit refining and cleansing the silver, and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and shall refine them as gold, and as silver, and they shall offer sacrifices to the Lord in justice. 5 And I will come to you in judgment, and will be a speedy witness against sorcerers, and adulterers, and false swearers, and them that oppress the hireling in his wages; the widows, and the fatherless: and oppress the stranger, and have not feared me, saith the Lord of hosts. 6 For I am the Lord, and I change not: and you the sons of Jacob are not consumed. 7 For from the days of your fathers you have departed from my ordinances, and have not kept them: Return to me, and I will return to you, saith the Lord of hosts. And you have said: Wherein shall we return? 12 And all nations shall call you blessed: for you shall be a delightful land, saith the Lord of hosts. 18 And you shall return, and shall see the difference between the just and the wicked: and between him that serveth God, and him that serveth him not. 4 Remember the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, the precepts, and judgments. 5 Behold I will send you Elias the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. 6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers: lest I come, and strike the earth with anathema.

Wisdom 4:7, 16-17, 19-20; 5:1-7 7 But the just man, if he be prevented with death, shall be in rest. 16 But the just that is dead, condemneth the wicked that are living, and youth soon ended, the long life of the unjust. 17 For they shall see the end of the wise man, and shall not understand what God hath designed for him, and why the Lord hath set him in safety. 19 And they shall fall after this without honour, and be a reproach among the dead for ever: for he shall burst them puffed up and speechless, and shall shake them from the foundations, and they shall be utterly laid waste: they shall be in sorrow, and their memory shall perish. 20 They shall come with fear at the thought of their sins, and their iniquities shall stand against them to convict them. 1 Then shall the just stand with great constancy against those that have afflicted them, and taken away their labours. 2 These seeing it, shall be troubled with terrible fear, and shall be amazed at the suddenness of their unexpected salvation. 3 Saying within themselves, repenting, and groaning for anguish of spirit: These are they, whom we had some time in derision, and for a parable of reproach. 4 We fools esteemed their life madness, and their end without honour. 5 Behold how they are numbered among the children of God, and their lot is among the saints. 6 Therefore we have erred from the way of truth, and the light of justice hath not shined unto us, and the sun of understanding hath not risen upon us. 7 We wearied ourselves in the way of iniquity and destruction, and have walked through hard ways, but the way of the Lord we have not known.


If the "LISTEN NOW" link does not work, copy this URL into your browser: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/feasts-of-the-saints-08-29_2011-09-11+beheading-of-the-glorious-prophet-forerunner-and-baptist-john+exegesis-of-vespers-readings_isaiah,malachi,wisdom.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-08-29_2011-09-11+beheading-of-the-glorious-prophet-forerunner-and-baptist-john+exegesis-of-vespers-readings_isaiah,malachi,wisdom.mp3


RSS feed of Sunday and some weekday homiliesRSS feed of Sunday and some weekday homilies:http://feeds.feedburner.com/OrthodoxChristianSermonsOnTheGospelsEpistlesAndOtherTopics

Archive of Audio and text homilies:http://www.orthodox.net/sermons

Share

Beheading of the Glorious Prophet Forerunner and Baptist John Possibilities and clarity.

Saturday, September 10th, 2011

The Beheading of St John the BaptistThe commemoration of the Beheading of the Prophet,Forrunner and Baptist John is tommorrow, 8/28-9-11/2011.

Thoughts concering the Kontakion of the feast of the beheading of the Forerunner, and the precious gift of clarity of thought sometimes given especially during the early morning liturgy. The beheading of the Forerunner and Baptist John teaches us about the transitoriness of life, and about courage and cowardice. We look at the Kontakion especially, and the actions of Herod, Herodias and Solome. ?The glorious beheading of the Forerunner was part of God?s dispensation that he might proclaim to those in Hades the coming of the Savior, that Herodias who demanded the iniquitous murder, therefore lament. For she loved not the law of God nor the age of life but rather this one, false and fleeting."

See more:

http://orthodox.net/redeemingthetime/2010/09/11/beheading-of-the-glorious-prophet-forerunner-and-baptist-john-possibilities-and-clarity-textaudio-homily/

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/feasts-of-the-saints-08-29_2008-09-11+beheading-of-the-glorious-prophet-forerunner-and-baptist-john.html

 

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/feasts-of-the-saints-08-29_2008-09-11+beheading-of-the-glorious-prophet-forerunner-and-baptist-john.doc

 

AUDIO: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/feasts-of-the-saints-08-29_2008-09-11+beheading-of-the-glorious-prophet-forerunner-and-baptist-john.mp3

 

Share

Prayerful Commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of the Terrorist attacks of 9-11 (2001)

Friday, September 9th, 2011


Message from the Chancery of the Primate of the Russian Church Abroad[1]

Brother Archpastors, Reverend Fathers, Brothers and Sisters:

We hereby bring to the attention of the archpastors and clergymen of our dioceses that the feast day of the Beheading of St John the Baptist, which this year falls on a Sunday, is also the tenth anniversary of the terrorist acts in the United States, which tore away from this vale of tears thousands of peaceful citizens.

On this day, blessing is given to raise the following petitions during Divine Liturgy, and during a litya for the dead, which should follow Divine Liturgy[3], to prayerfully remember all the victims of this terrible act of wickedness, preceding it with words of edification.  

(Note – Names of known Orthodox Victims are available – see footnote[4])



May our fervent prayers to God warm our hearts! May it warm and console both those who died, and those who survived!  

With love in the Lord and a request for your prayers, 
+Hilarion, 
Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York,  
First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia



………………………………………

During the litany of peace:

That there may be kindled in us the fervent love of God and our neighbor by the grace of His Most-holy Spirit, and thus burn out to the very roots the passions of all our souls and bodies, let us pray to the Lord.

That there may be uprooted in us hatred, envy and jealousy and all other passions which destroy brotherly love, and that there may be planted unfeigned love, fervently let us pray to the Lord. 

During the augmented litany:

O Lord our God, as Thou art good, mercifully regard the ground of our heart, the love whereof hath dried up, and which hath been rendered grievously barren by the thorns of hatred, self-love and countless transgressions; and letting a drop of the grace of Thine all-holy Spirit fall, do Thou richly irrigate it, that it may be fruitful and, out of ardent love for Thee, bring forth the root of all the virtues—the fear of Thee, constant care for the salvation of our neighbor, and the uprooting of hypocrisy, divers evils, and all the passions.  We earnestly entreat Thee, as the Benefactor of all: hearken swiftly and, in that Thou lovest mankind, have mercy.

O Master, Who gavest Thy disciples the new commandment to love one another, actively renew this within our souls through the grace of Thine all-holy Spirit, that we may in nowise take care for our own benefit, but ever for that which is pleasing unto Thee and for the salvation and good of our neighbor.  We pray Thee, O merciful Benefactor, hearken and mercifully have mercy.

Thus do Thou cause Thy love to dwell within us, through the grace of Thine all-holy Spirit, O most compassionate Lord, that, in accordance with Thy commandment, we may truly love not only our brethren and friends, but also our enemies, may do good to those who hate us, and may earnestly strive for their salvation.  We pray Thee, O Source of goodness and Abyss of love for mankind: hearken swiftly and, as Thou art compassionate, have mercy.

O our God, move us, through the grace of Thy Spirit, to have unfeigned love for our neighbor, that we may be made perfect in Thy Love, O Master.  For he who thinketh that he hath love for Thee, yet hateth his brother, is a liar, and walketh in darkness.  Wherefore, O Merciful One, enkindle our souls and hearts with love for Thee and our brethren.  We pray Thee, in that Thou art merciful: hearken swiftly and, as Thou art compassionate, have mercy. 

Translated from the Church Slavonic by the reader Isaac E. Lambertsen, from The Supplemental Euchologion (=Vol, III) (Jordanville, NY: St. Job of Pochaev Press, 1961), pp. 306b-313a.  Copyright © 1980.  All rights reserved by the translator.



 

Priest Seraphim Holland 2009.     St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

This article is at:

http://www.orthodox.net/journal/2011-09-09-prayerful-commemoration-of-the-10th-anniversary-of-the-terrorist-attacks-of-9-11-2001.html

http://www.orthodox.net/journal/2011-09-09-prayerful-commemoration-of-the-10th-anniversary-of-the-terrorist-attacks-of-9-11-2001.doc

http://www.orthodox.net/journal/2011-09-09-prayerful-commemoration-of-the-10th-anniversary-of-the-terrorist-attacks-of-9-11-2001.pdf

 

New Journal entries, homilies, etc. are on our BLOG: http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime

 

Journal Archive: http://www.orthodox.net/journal

 

Blog posts & local parish news are posted to our email list. Go to here: http://groups.google.com/group/saint-nicholas-orthodox-church to join.

 

Redeeming the Time BLOG: http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime

Use this for any edifying reason, but please give credit, and include the URL of the article. This content belongs to the author. We would love to hear from you with comments! (seraphim@orthodox.net)

[2] This heading is not in the original. Other small edits have been made, such as increasing the number of paragraphs, but no words have been changed except as noted in  Footnote 3.

Note from Priest Seraphim: Prayers like this brought me to Orthodoxy. This is how Orthodox Christians commemorate important events, with sober, humble, and theologically rich prayer. An aspect that particularly attracted me was how in our prayer we “blame” ourselves. For instance, the terrorist events remind us of our condition, and we do not focus on the sins of strangers who committed these acts. To me this is just telling the truth about ourselves, and reaching out to God with no pretences, much like in the Psalter. We are never far from talking about the human condition (a condition, which always fascinates,  thrills and saddens me, all at the same time), and how the incarnation, the Holy Spirit, and all aspects of God’s grace and reaching out to man heals human nature so it can be united to God. Our prayer, if experienced in all of its scope, shows clearly that we know salvation is the perfection and elevation of the human soul to God, and not only forgiveness of sins. I did not experience these feelings in the public prayer when I was not Orthodox (although I did feel it in a germinal form when I read the Psalter). The mindset in our prayers truly led me to Orthodoxy. It feels very freeing to say out loud what is wrong with me (in our prayers), and at the same time, approach God with confidence and hope. I suppose that someone reading this may be experiencing the feelings I once had, and if so, I encourage you to investigate Orthodoxy. You can read books, and learn our theology, but I think you will really find rest when you experience our prayer. Come to many services, especially our Vespers and Matins services, and give it some time, because our manner and content of prayer is very different from what is normally seen in the West.   

 

[3] The original English translation was “a commemorative litany that should follow”, which was replaced with “a litya for the dead, which should follow Divine Liturgy” since Deacon Nicholas stated that the Russian stated basically this.

Share

Electronic Newsletter August 29/ September 11

Friday, September 9th, 2011

St. Nicholas Orthodox Church,

McKinney, Texas

Electronic Newsletter

August 29/ September 11

12th Sunday after Pentecost

Beheading of St. John the Baptist

 

 

The glorious beheading of the forerunner

is a certain divine dispensation,

that the coming of the Savior might also be preached to those in Hades.

Lament then, Herodias, that thou hast demanded a wicked murder.

For thou didst love neither the law of God nor eternal life,

but one false and fleeting.

- Kontakion of the Feast

 

Homily by St. Justin Popovich:

 

http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2010/08/beheading-of-john-prophet-and.html

 

Homily by St. John Chrysostom:

 

"O diabolical revel! O satanic spectacle! O lawless dancing! and more lawless reward for the dancing. For a murder more impious than all murders was perpetrated, and he that was worthy to be crowned and publicly honored, was slain in the midst, and the trophy of the devils was set on the table….

 

"Such was the value he set upon his royal power; so was he once for all made captive by his passion, as to give up his kingdom for a dance. vilifying, reviling, insulting. But not so the saints; they on the contrary mourn for such as sin, rather than curse them.

 

"This then let us also do, and let us weep for Herodias, and for them that imitate her. For many such revels now also take place, and though John be not slain, yet the members of Christ are, and in a far more grievous way. For it is not a head in a charger that the dancers of our time ask, but the souls of them that sit at the feast. For in making them slaves, and leading them to unlawful loves, and besetting them with harlots, they do not take off the head, but slay the soul."

 

http://full-of-grace-and-truth.blogspot.com/2010/08/commentary-of-st-john-chrysostom-on.html

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


Announcements

We will be holding our annual membership and pledge drive in September. If you consider St. Nicholas your parish home, please consider filling out a membership form. In addition, new and continuing members are encouraged to fill out a financial pledge form. This is a good-faith estimate of your monthly contributions for 2012, so that we can generate a relatively accurate budget for the year.

Both forms are available in the literature rack in the narthex of the Church, or can be requested by email from Dn. Nicholas.


Sunday, September 11th is the annual commemoration of the beheading of St. John the Baptist. Recognizing that this act of violence against God's prophet took place largely because of feasting and drunkenness, we fast on this day. Wine and oil are allowed.

This year, we will also remember the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attack that occurred on this date in 2001. With Bishop Peter's blessing, we will add several special petitions to the liturgy, and serve a Litya for the Orthodox victims of the attack after the Liturgy.

 

Prayer Requests

For the Health and Salvation.

  • David
  • Elizabeth
  • Priests Jean and Grégoire & all the faithful and suffering of Haiti.
  • The suffering people of East Japan.
  • The suffering people of Minot, ND

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



Schedule of Divine Services in the Coming week

Saturday 9/10

  • 4PM Confession
  • 5PM Vigil

Sunday 9/11. Beheading of St. John the Baptist.

  • 10AM  Divine Liturgy
  • 12:45PM Sunday School

Monday 9/12

  • 7:30PM Molieben

Wednesday 9/14

  • 6:30PM Vespers

Thursday 9/15

  • (Time TBA) Liturgy

Saturday 9/17

  • 4PM Confession
  • 5PM Vigil

Sunday 9/18.

  • 10AM  Divine Liturgy
  • 12:45PM Sunday School

Fasting in the Coming weeks

We fast normally now. We abstain from meat, dairy, wine and oil on Wednesdays and Fridays.

In addition, Sunday September 11th is a fast day, because of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist.

Share

Pilot and govern me into thy sheltered port for thou art author of good things and staff of the faithful – Exegesis of Ode 3 Irmos of the Paraklesis CanonPolit

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

Icon of the TheotokosLISTEN NOW

Synopsis: Exegesis of the Irmos from Ode 3: "I have thee as the shelter and defense of my life, thee the Theotokos and Virgin, pilot and govern me into thy sheltered port for thou art author of good things and staff of the faithful, o thou only all lauded one. " There are many beautiful scriptural allusions here, such as, "sheltered port", "staff of the faithful" (an allusion to the rod of Aaron that budded – a symbol of the Theotokos, which refers to her ever-virginity", "author of good things". We also discuss the spirit of this canon and what is the most important thing to "get out" of it.

More homilies on the Paraklesis Canon to the Theotokos are HERE


 

 

If the "LISTEN NOW" link does not work, copy this URL into your browser: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/paraklesis-canon-to-the-theotokos_2011-08-14+-pilate-and-govern-me-into-thy-sheltered-port-for-thou-art-author-of-good-things-and-staff-of-the-faithful_small-paraklesis-canon-ode-3-irmos.m3u

If this file does not work for you, try the direct link to the actual mp3 file:http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/paraklesis-canon-to-the-theotokos_2011-08-14+-pilate-and-govern-me-into-thy-sheltered-port-for-thou-art-author-of-good-things-and-staff-of-the-faithful_small-paraklesis-canon-ode-3-irmos.mp3


RSS feed of Sunday and some weekday homiliesRSS feed of Sunday and some weekday homilies:http://feeds.feedburner.com/OrthodoxChristianSermonsOnTheGospelsEpistlesAndOtherTopics

Archive of Audio and text homilies:http://www.orthodox.net/sermons

Share

Understanding the human condition. Demonic audacity. Small Paraklesis Canon Ode 6

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

Icon of the Theotokos - Sweet Kissing.LISTEN NOW

Synopsis: Explantion of the entire 6th Ode of the Paraklesis Canon. How to look at the human condition. Elias, Job, Jonas, Moses, David, Peter and many others in Scripture recognized their corruption and need for God. This is nuerotic to the world but completely normal and essential to the Christian. Also a detailed converstation about "demonic audacity"

 

More homilies on the Small Paraklesus Canon to the Theotokos are HERE


If the "LISTEN NOW" link does not work, copy this URL into your browser: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/paraklesis-canon-to-the-theotokos_2011-08-24+human-condition,elias,job,jonas,moses,david,peter-recognized-their-corruption+demonic-audacity_small-paraklesis-canon-ode-6.m3u

If this file does not work for you, try the direct link to the actual mp3 file:http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/paraklesis-canon-to-the-theotokos_2011-08-24+human-condition,elias,job,jonas,moses,david,peter-recognized-their-corruption+demonic-audacity_small-paraklesis-canon-ode-6.mp3


RSS feed of Sunday and some weekday homiliesRSS feed of Sunday and some weekday homilies:http://feeds.feedburner.com/OrthodoxChristianSermonsOnTheGospelsEpistlesAndOtherTopics

Archive of Audio and text homilies:http://www.orthodox.net/sermons

Share

Grace and Labor. Text Homily.

Monday, September 5th, 2011


Grace and Labor

12th Sunday after Pentecost.
1 Corinthians 15:1-11, Matthew 19:16-26

2010

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

Brothers and sisters, today in both the Epistle and the Gospel that are appointed for today, the 12th Sunday, we hear about grace and about labor.
 

Saint Paul declares to us that he preached the Gospel unto those who he was writing to. Then he explains the beginning of the Gospel, only the beginning, because he said to them:

 

“I delivered first to you that which I received.”

 

The Gospel — the word means Good News — begins with the Resurrection of Christ. One might say that it ends with Christ. It begins with Him being resurrected so that we could be resurrected. And the ending or the fulfillment of the Gospel is that we become perfected: we come to know God because we become like Him;  the Incarnation of the God-man has made us capable of becoming like Him, to be without spot or wrinkle, as the Church has described.

 

So this is the Gospel: That Jesus Christ is risen from the dead and, because He is the God-man and in His humanity rose from the dead, we can rise from the dead. We’re not talking now just about our limbs being made alive again flowing with blood and having sinews and muscles. We’re talking about the soul being alive eternally with God.

 

Now, how does this occur? Just knowing about the Resurrection does not make the Gospel effectual in your life. Many people know about the Resurrection; it’s part of our culture. And yet many people, most people, do not live according to the Resurrection. The Gospel is powerful when it transforms us to become full of grace, to become perfected so that we know God.

 

Now, the beginning is that Christ died for our sins and then resurrected according to the Scriptures. Saint Paul says this.

“I delivered unto you, first of all, that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.”

 

The Scriptures he’s talking about, by the way, are the Old Testament Scriptures, every page of which refers to Christ.

 

“And that He was buried and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. And that He was seen of Cephas“ that is, Peter, “then of the twelve.”

 

And then He was seen by five hundred brethren and James and the rest of the Apostles. He stops explaining about the Gospel there. He explains in great detail about the Gospel in all of the other Epistles, including First Corinthians of which this is an excerpt. The beginning of the Gospel is that Christ is risen from the dead and, like I said, the end of it is that we become like Christ.

 

Then he describes himself and in describing himself we should see ourselves also. He says that He was seen, that is, Christ was seen by him, and he was as one born out of season, on the road to Damascus[1], he saw Christ. But then he says:

 
“I am the least of the Apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God. But by the grace of God, I am what I am. And His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain, but I labored more abundantly then they all.”

Here we see how the Gospel is fulfilled in a man. What a powerful statement, to say by the grace of God I am what I am. It’s true. By God’s grace we do everything. Anything that we do that is good is by God’s grace helping us. We breathe by His grace. We know Him by His grace. We have holy thoughts and feelings in our hearts by His grace. Everything is by His grace.

 
But inherent in his statement is not just: By His grace I am what I am right now; but, “I will become what I should be by His grace.”

 

It’s good for a Christian to notice, to know what he is now; what is good about you, what is not good about you; what needs to be improved. It’s good to know these things. But in knowing these things you should also have the sure confidence that you will become what you should be.

In another place, the Gospel speaks of us being predestined. This is what I am speaking of now. That we, although we are what we are right now – and sometimes it is not a pretty picture – we will become what we should be.

 

He says in another place: I am confident of this very thing that He who began a good work in you, will perfect it.

 

But this perfection comes through labor. Grace with labor. Grace alone does not cause a man to be saved.

 

Because the rain falls on the evil and the good. Grace is always available to everyone. God’s love, God’s energy, is available to all of mankind at every moment, and yet all of mankind does not follow Him. So grace alone does not save. Our reaction to grace, our labor because of grace, is what causes our salvation.

 

It is not that any labor we can do will make us able to know God; but God, when He sees even the smallest labor in us, helps us and we become able to do things that we weren’t able to do before. By the grace of God right now as we stand we are what we are, but we will become what we should be by His grace, but only with labor.

 

I’ve told you before, many times; the greatest heresy of all is that salvation can be had without labor, that believing can be done without labor. To believe is also to do. And so Saint Paul says that he labored and not in vain or the grace bestowed upon him was not in vain because he labored, he says, more abundantly then they all.

 

I tell you, we should try to labor more abundantly then them all. Most of the world doesn’t labor at all or labors very, very little. And if we look at our lives we see that there is very little labor in our lives. I’m not talking about the labor of work or cutting the grass or doing the dishes or of the things that we do in mundane life. I’m talking about the labor for our soul to become perfected. Now, many times that includes doing the dishes. But that’s not the labor that I speak of.

 

We should labor because of a desire to become perfected and holy – to have the Gospel fulfilled in us because, as I said, the Gospel is of no power whatsoever to us, no good to us whatsoever, unless we do it. The Gospel is not some static thing. It is to become.

 

Saint Paul was a persecutor of Christians. That’s why he says that he’s the least of all the Apostles. He killed many of them, probably some of them with his own hands, and he always remembered that to the end of his days. That’s why he says he is the least of all Apostles, born out of due time. But then he labored when he had the grace of God visit him, and he became what he became, the holy Apostle Paul.

And we must become what we are to become also, by labor. The Gospel today is really about labor.
 

Now, the rich man comes to Christ and says:

“What good thing can I do to inherit eternal life?”

 

And the Lord tells him that he must do the Commandments. And this man, he’s a careful man, he’s not a hypocrite. The Fathers speak of him as someone who wanted to be saved but he had a fatal passion, and for him it was riches. But beyond that, behind his desire for riches, was that he would not labor completely for God. In his case he needed to give up everything that he had and to labor by being with Christ and following Him. In our case it might be something different.

Without labor there is no salvation, brothers and sisters; it just doesn’t happen. It is not that labor alone will save us; Labor with grace, assisting us, will save us.

 

The Lord said to him:

“If you want to be perfect, go sell all that you have and give to the poor and thou shall have treasure in Heaven, and come and follow Me.”

 

And that applies to us just as the words of Apostle Paul apply to us when he says, “I am the least of the Apostles. I am not meet to be called an apostle.”

 

We should say:

“I am the least of all Christians.

I am not meet to be called a Christian because I don’t live like a Christian.

I don’t think much like a Christian.

I haven’t become much like a Christian should be.

But by the grace of God I am what I am and God will help me to become what I should be if I follow Him.”

 

There’s no substitute for labor, brothers and sisters. Labor with grace.

 

Labor without grace is only digging a hole and filling it back up it and has no meaning whatsoever. Grace without labor for us has no meaning either. God’s grace falls upon those, all of those in mankind. But only those that labor retain this grace. Only those that struggle to become what God has put in our hearts. Because remember, we’re made in His image, right? We should become made in His likeness. That is, to become holy like He is holy. It’s in our hearts, this knowledge of what we should be. But we must labor to obtain it. That’s what the Gospel and the Epistle are saying in their essence.
 

Now certainly there are many other things. The thing about speaking about the Gospel is, if you say it says one thing, is basically a lie, because it says many things. This Gospel also speaks about riches and about passions and about not knowing who God is because the man had a misconception about who God was, who Jesus Christ was.

 

But the essence is that there is no salvation without labor.

 

If it means selling all you have and giving to the poor and following the Lord, then that is the labor you must have.

 

If it means humbling yourself and not slandering those that you’re angry with, swallowing your bitterness, not being dissatisfied with what your lot in life is or what your job is or family situation or whatever, then that is your labor.

 

The Russians have a beautiful word: Podvig. It really doesn’t translate. But if you live as a Christian, whether you know Russian or not, you know what this word means. It is to labor with the grace of God within you, to have a spiritual struggle, to fulfill the Gospel in you.

 

That’s what Saint Paul did. Even though he considered himself the least of the Apostles, he became among the greatest of the Apostles because he knew that, although he had sins in his life and he was in that condition at that moment, that God by His grace would fulfill in him this Gospel that he preached, his eventual perfection, and it is the same with you. There is no different Gospel for different people. It is the same Gospel. The same Good News.

 

The reason this Gospel is fulfilled so little in our life is because there is little labor. So brothers and sisters, if there is any way that you can labor more, may God help you to do it.

If you’re not praying much, then you can pray a little bit more.

If you don’t fast very well, then you can fast a little bit more.

If you’re giving in to your passions in anger or jealousy or lust or laziness, then you can in some way become a little bit better, and labor a little bit more against these passions.

 

Then, by the grace of God, you will become what you should become. It doesn’t happen all at once, but it does happen but only if we labor.

May God help us to labor with the grace of God within us and to fulfill the Gospel. Amen.

 

 

Priest Seraphim Holland 2010.    

Transcribed by the hand of Helen; may God save her and her loved ones.

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-12_2010-08-15+grace-and-labor_1corinthians15-1-11.html

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-12_2010-08-15+grace-and-labor_1corinthians15-1-11.doc

AUDIO: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-12_2010-08-15+grace-and-labor_1corinthians15-1-11.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] The story is in Acts 9. Here is a part of it: Acts 9:1-8 KJV  And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,  (2)  And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.  (3)  And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:  (4)  And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?  (5)  And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.  (6)  And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.  (7)  And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.  (8)  And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus.

 

 

Share

Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures. But by the grace of God I am what I am. 1 Corinthians 1 5:1-11.

Sunday, September 4th, 2011

LISTEN NOW

More homilies on the 12th Sunday after Pentecost are HERE

1 Corinthians 15:1-11 1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: 6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. 7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. 8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 11 Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.


If the "LISTEN NOW" link does not work, copy this URL into your browser: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-12_2011-09-04+christ-died-for-our-sins-according-to-the-scriptures+but-by-the-grace-of-god-i-am-what-i-am_1corinthians15-1-11.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-12_2011-09-04+christ-died-for-our-sins-according-to-the-scriptures+but-by-the-grace-of-god-i-am-what-i-am_1corinthians15-1-11.mp3


RSS feed of Sunday and some weekday homiliesRSS feed of Sunday and some weekday homilies:http://feeds.feedburner.com/OrthodoxChristianSermonsOnTheGospelsEpistlesAndOtherTopics

Archive of Audio and text homilies:http://www.orthodox.net/sermons

Share

Electronic Newsletter August 22/ September 4 12th Sunday after Pentecost

Sunday, September 4th, 2011

St. Nicholas Orthodox Church,

McKinney, Texas

Electronic Newsletter

August 22/ September 4

12th Sunday after Pentecost

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


Announcements

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.

 


We will be holding our annual membership and pledge drive in September. If you consider St. Nicholas your parish home, please consider filling out a membership form. In addition, new and continuing members are encouraged to fill out a financial pledge form. This is a good-faith estimate of your monthly contributions for 2012, so that the treasurer can generate a relatively accurate budget for the year.

 

Both forms are available in the literature rack in the narthex of the Church, or can be requested by email from Dn. Nicholas.

 


Sunday, September 11th is the annual commemoration of the beheading of St. John the Baptist. Recognizing that this act of violence against God's prophet took place largely because of feasting and drunkenness, we fast on this day. Wine and oil are allowed.

 

Prayer Requests

For the Health and Salvation.

  • 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.
  • The suffering people of Minot, ND

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



Schedule of Divine Services in the Coming week

Saturday 9/3

  • 4PM Confession
  • 5PM Vigil

Sunday 9/4

  • 10AM  Divine Liturgy
  • 12:45PM Sunday School

Monday 9/5

  • NO Molieben

Wednesday 9/7

  • 7PM Vespers

Thursday 9/8

  • 6AM Liturgy

Saturday 9/10

  • 4PM Confession
  • 5PM Vigil

Sunday 9/11. Beheading of St. John the Baptist. FAST DAY

  • 10AM  Divine Liturgy
  • 12:45PM Sunday School

Fasting in the Coming weeks

We fast normally now. We abstain from meat, dairy, wine and oil on Wednesdays and Fridays.

In addition, Sunday September 11th is a fast day, because of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist.

Share