To Be An Apostle

Sunday, September 4/17, 2017
15th Sunday After Pentecost

2 Corinthians 4:6-15
Matthew 22:35-46
Holy Prophet and God-seer Moses (1531 B.C.)

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Enlightener & Equal-to-the-Apostles Great Prince Vladimir

In 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, What does it take to be an apostle or a missionary? Among the great epithets that our mother church assigns to her saints, I admit that “Enlightener and Equal-to-the-Apostles” has to be one of my favorites. From the epistle this morning, St. Apostle Paul reveals a little of his inner psychology so that we can know a bit of what it takes. But I ask again, what could bring a human being to such a state as he describes? Continue reading

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Love Your Local Library

For my yearly Back-to-School post, I would like to brag about our tradition of local libraries in America. Good strength to all in your September return to learning. God bless your studies in this new school year!

bangor-public-library-520b21653b418ebeJust moved to Syracuse, NY with the family, and one of our first official acts was finding the local library and obtaining a card for borrowing. My children who are of age all proudly sport their own card in their private wallet. I am determined they have this long before they ever have cards for spending money.

It is amazing to me that in all the national discussion about reforming education, no one ever seems to include the local libraries. All this talk about testing and standards, but no one includes the place where literacy is the most treasured and guarded gift. Continue reading

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