Op-Ed:Jewish Man Dies Penniless in Jerusalem, Messianic Claims Die with Him
He was born in a small town stable with barely a place to lay his head almost 33 years ago. Apprenticed to his father, a carpenter, he developed a reputation later in life as a teacher of the law and healer. Far from the important centers of commerce, trade, and education, he gathered a following of disciples mostly from the working class in the backwater region of Galilee. Many believed him to be the promised Messiah foretold of old by the prophets, but don’t messiahs come with more exalted pedigrees?
I recently heard a news story about the supposed revolutionary nature of the American Pilgrim’s form of worship. In Plymouth Colony, exactly 400 years ago (reason to celebrate this as news), they sang their worship to God with acapella, metered Psalms and besides these Psalms, all their other hymns came straight from Scripture. While I grant that their metered and rhyming Psalter was a bit of a novelty (and a good one as rhyme improves memory), to say that their worship was revolutionary because it came straight from Scripture belies an ignorance of the more ancient path of the Church’s worship.
Ah, dear friends who are local to Boston, starting next Friday, December 10 in Groton, MA, four Friars (a family record!) will be performing live on stage and we would love to see you in the audience. A message lies below from the Messenger who hauntingly blesses Ebenezer Scrooge with a life-giving path of repentance. Please read it and accept our invitation to come. And a Merry Christmas to ye!
I wanted to let you know that New Life Fine Arts is again producing “Musical Theater That You Can Believe In”.
Coming this December 10 -19, 2021 we will be bringing the original adaptation of the Charles Dickens famous Christmas Classic, “Ebenezer Scrooge: A Christmas Carol” back to the stage in Groton, MA for 8 performances.
One of my favorite obediences as a Deacon in the Orthodox Church is bringing communion to the sick and disabled. It emphasizes what my seminary professor used to call, “the ecstatic nature of the Church”; ecstatic, for she is never satisfied with staying put in a box, but is ever moving outward just as we pray that the Holy Spirit is everywhere present, filling all things. No remote or isolated place on this planet is beyond the reach of our Lord Jesus Christ, and He frequently sends his messengers to those places to prove it. No locked doors, not even the strictest quarantine can prevent His healing touch to the health of soul and body which results from receiving his body and his blood.
The following is a repost of an article that appeared on our Diocesan website concerning Aghia Sophia, the ancient Christian temple which for a whole millennium stood for worship of the true and living God worshipped in Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. When it was conquered in 1543, it was viciously ransacked, desecrated then rededicated as a mosque for several hundred years. In the past century or so it has served simply as a museum; now by decree of Turkey’s current president, it is reverting again to a mosque.Please pray with me for peace and wisdom to know the proper response to such an important decision.
The Holy Right-Believing King Upravda-Justinian – The Builder of Hagia Sophia
20 July, 2020. † Metropolitan of the United States, Canada and Australia – Joseph
With the title of Holy Right-Believing King, the Bulgarian Orthodox Church has added Emperor Upravda-Justinian in its Calendar of Saints on the date of November 14th.
We recall his life and achievements on the occasion of the recent conversion of the church he built “Hagia Sophia” to a mosque by the Turkish authorities. We ask our readers to pray from the heart to St. Right-Believing Upravda-Justinian to help us in our efforts and struggles. He knows how to do that.
Spider webs can be used to stop bullets; they also can entrap a fly for dinner. The slogan: stay home, stay safe, save lives is a brilliantly effective slogan, but as a simplistic slogan, it can be misguided unless we unravel it and find its proper spiritual application. Unless we parse it a little: expose it to the UV Light of Christ, boil it to disinfect and analyze its DNA structure, we can’t be sure when it will protect and when it will entrap.
As a universal command STAY HOME does not work for everyone, of course. People who are sick or immuno-compromised should take this advise to heart. For this idea to be effective for everyone, we should see its application in the monastic sense as it is given to hermits: Stay in your cell and your cell will teach you everything. This is a good idea while we are staying home more. Use the time to go within, pay attention to the inner person, our heart and mind, do more spiritual reading, especially read the Scriptures, repent as the Lord commanded and practice ascetic feats to accomplish this. Practice more interior prayer; spend more time with our families and care for our relations.
The following is from Friday Reflections, an email sent out every week from the editor of Touchstone Magazinepublished by the Fellowship of Saint James. It describes exactly how I feel about the Church’s proper response to the current coronavirus pandemic. I hope that you find its news about the Georgian Church’s response refreshing and inspiring. Christ is risen!
We did it! We survived Holy Week, Pascha, and Bright Week mostly from our at home services and through live-stream on TV. The joy of the Resurrection and the growing warmth of spring naturally turns us outward, desiring to share the good news with others. But the continued COVID-19 quarantine still places limits on that desire.
A place in western Massachusetts that was bought by one of our parish deacons and his wife and transformed into a farm, retreat center, and sometime summer camp is now a fully-fledged, full-service spiritual oasis, St. John the Baptist Orthodox Christian Monastery. Our family visits the two monastic fathers who dwell here for a day trip that allows us to fulfill our desire to evangelize while obeying the strict rule of the government not to gather in groups larger than ten (7 + 2= 9).
The following is the text of a toast I gave in honor of my parents’ reception into the Holy Orthodox Church on Sunday, May 12, Third Sunday of Pascha in honor of the Holy Myrrhbearers and American Mother’s Day. My father was received by Baptism and my mother by Chrismation at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Church in East Syracuse, NY.
“Nobody knows the trouble I seen. Nobody knows but Jesus.”
These simple, yet profound lyrics from an old negro spiritual express the longing of many a Christian lost in the multitude of denominations and confessions of the Church in this country and in the world. This family alone has experienced not less than 15 in our collective lives. But when I first witnessed the Orthodox Church I could see a church where, “Every generation chanteth hymns of praise to Christ.” Everyone from the smallest infant to the oldest great grandmother, all gather together in one Church. Today this prophecy has been fulfilled in your eyes: Not in a church designed principally for the youth, not in a church designed principally for the elderly, but in the Church where family integrated worship has never gone out of style. Continue reading →
In the New Testament, Herod sought out Jesus. Instead of directly looking for him, he decided to kill all males under the age of 2. In doing this he killed 14,000 infants, without being stopped by anyone. The poor babies’ mothers could not do anything to help them.
Nowadays, the highest rate of killing young helpless babies is abortion. Approximately 125,000 babies are killed by abortion every day, and 56,993,299 abortions have been made since Roe vs. Wade in America. These mother’s had a choice of whether or not to kill their own children, unlike the babies’ mothers in 1 AD. Continue reading →