The Foolishness of Preaching

Preached my first sermon yesterday as a Deacon at Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church in Allston, MA. So pleased that the text for the day is the same one a friend of mine used to preach the best sermon I have ever heard. Memory eternal to Don Connors, preacher to the elderly and friend of lost souls.

Sunday, July 17/30, 2017
Eighth Sunday After Pentecost
1 Corinthians 1:10-18
Matthew 14:14-22

areopagusIn the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever. Beloved in the Lord,

You will not remember the words I preach to you today. You will not remember them any more than the senior citizens remembered these words from St. Paul when they were preached to them in a nursing home by a man who preached the best sermon I have ever heard. And what was his text? It was the same as it is for us this morning- the foolishness of preaching. For his question to that elderly audience is the same one I ask of you this morning. What good is it for me to stand here before you and preach a message that will so soon be forgotten? After all, as St. Paul says, “The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing…” and later in the same chapter of his first epistle to the Corinthians, he calls his own preaching foolishness. Continue reading

Glory to God for All Things

June19/July 2, 2017
St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco the Wonderworker

On this great feast day of America’s own saint, whose relics lie in the San Francisco Cathedral, I feel compelled again to bring the church into our home. I discover another divine service which is found online in both text and youtube, making it easy to pray along with the video. The Akathist Glory to God for All Things can be sung at any time for any reason, and I especially feel its message now as I plan departure from a city that has taken such good care of us these past several years. Wondrous is God in His Saints!

Bring Church into Your Home

Said farewell to the family today as they traveled once again to Russia while papa stays home to pack for our upcoming move. Wanted to do a divine service at home to make the place feel less lonely. There is a lovely Service of the Small Paraklesis to the Most Holy Lady Theotokos Mary I have been wanting to chant, but I do not know the music well enough, and it is difficult on the voice to do the whole service by myself. Imagine my great joy when I discovered a recorded example of the entire service on youtube using the exact same text and music. It is a great service to pray at any time and in any need. Enjoy!

Playing the “Music” of Liturgy

Witnessed the yearly piano recital of my two oldest today in the public hall of the Waltham Public Library. Hearing their lovely melodies and inspired playing reminded me of one of my boss’ best articles on the subject of music, inspiration, and worship. Enjoy!

pianist

Katertyna Tereshchenko, Pianist by Ralf Roletschek; online at wikipedia.org

This past summer, my 10 year-old son made a significant breakthrough in his piano playing.  All last year, I watched him practice as though practicing was just one more task on his “to do” list before breakfast.  He marched through 20 minutes of practicing just as he marched through “make my bed,” “feed the dog,” and “pack my snack.”  Where was the joy, the appreciation of beauty, the sense of accomplishment?  Masterpieces from Bach to Bizet were reduced to equal footing with readied backpacks and signed permission slips.  The tasks were accomplished.   And music was nowhere to be heard. Continue reading

Savior of the Bulgarian Jews

The following is a commemoration sent to our Bulgarian Orthodox Diocese by Diocesan Metropolitan Joseph on the occasion this Sunday of the 60th anniversary of the death of the Bulgarian Exarch Stefan I (1878-2017). May his memory be eternal.

THE CROWN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

exarch-stephan1On May 14, 1957, exiled in the village of Banja, Karlovo, died the Bulgarian Exarch Stefan I. The clergy and laity of the Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Diocese of the USA, Canada and Australia, with prayer and in good memory, will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the falling asleep of this great spiritual elder of Bulgarian Orthodoxy.

Exarch Stefan is a well-known name in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. We all know him as a high-ranking Bulgarian Orthodox cleric, who during his life left a deep imprint in the troubled 20th century history of our Church. He is known as a teacher, writer, eloquent speaker, international ecclesiastical figure, bold defender of the Bulgarian Church and our national interest at home and abroad. He supported the conversion of the Pomaks, who were newcomers to Bulgaria from the lands added after the Balkan wars. He survived the horror of the church bombings as he was leading the memorial prayer service in the church of “St. Nedelya” on April 16, 1925. He gave his blessing for the establishment of the Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Diocese of America and Canada. Continue reading

Mocking God with Metaphor

thomasdoubting1500x1105-56a1463f5f9b58b7d0bdb773Christ is Risen! In this great season of the resurrection, I would like to post one of my all time favorite resurrection poems by John Updike entitled Seven Stanzas at Easter. In it, the poet delivers this one liner punch to those who would claim to be Christian, and yet not hold to the belief that Christ is raised from the dead, bones and all: Let us not mock God with metaphor (i.e., Either he rose in fact, or He did not). May He who rose from the dead, Christ our True God, give strength to those who still doubt and wonder at the mystery of our Faith. Truly He is risen!

Make no mistake: if he rose at all
It was as His body;
If the cell’s dissolution did not reverse, the molecule reknit,
The amino acids rekindle,
The Church will fall. Continue reading