Saturday, December 31, 2005
Friday, December 30, 2005
I've finally succumbed.
I'm up north visiting my family right now, and could really use some prayer, if any of you get around to it. This city has always had a weird psychological effect on me.
Thursday, December 29, 2005
May his memory be eternal!
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
There is an interesting article on a church growth survey, and other articles I haven't read yet.
Yesterday Deanna gave me my Christmas present a little early -- and it was a brand new digital camera! I used to take pictures all the time (I took hundreds when I went to England for five weeks back in 1994, though I haven't scanned any of 'em yet), but my camera hasn't worked for years, and Deanna noticed a while ago how I kept grumbling about how I would like to take pictures of this, that, or the other thing -- so now I've got a new toy. And, of course, one of the first pictures I took was of Deanna herself.
I would have posted something last night, but (1) I wanted to figure out how to copy photos from the camera to my computer first, and (2) I fell asleep a little earlier than usual, while watching the new Simpsons DVD. So, my apologies for not posting an update on Tuesday like I said I would.
There's not too much new to report, apart from the fact that Deanna was recently diagnosed with gestational diabetes, which means the range of hospital food available to her (which is always so delectable) is even narrower now than it was before; it also means that, whenever people drop off seasonal cookies and sweets and things, she passes them on to me because she doesn't expect them to still be fresh by the time she'll be allowed to eat them. But this is apparently a temporary condition, and not uncommon for women carrying twins.
According to the latest ultrasound, the condition that put Deanna in the hospital in the first place is exactly as it was during the last couple of ultrasounds, so thankfully that means nothing has gotten worse. (Remember how the doctors said, four weeks ago, that they didn't expect the twins to last more than one, maybe two, weeks? And remember how the doctors said, two weeks ago, that they gave the twins maybe another week-and-a-half? False prophets, all!) The latest ultrasound also indicates that the twins are in the neighbourhood of 2-and-a-half pounds each.
Tomorrow, the twins will hit 27 weeks, and a doctor said on Monday that it might be possible for Deanna to come home and finish her bed rest here when she reaches 28 weeks. That would be nice. Although, I'm going to be spending a night in Seattle next week and speaking at a conference on the morning of New Year's Eve, so it's probably best if Deanna doesn't come home until after that -- if she were to come home and stay in bed all the time, she would need me to be there so that I could run errands for her (and, so help us, I may even have to learn to cook for her).
I think that about covers it. The plan for Christmas Day is for her mother and brother to spend the morning with her at the hospital while I'm at church, and then I'll be having lunch at my parents' place in Surrey, and then I'll be heading to the hospital to spend the late afternoon and/or evening with her. It's a strange way to spend our first Christmas together as a married couple -- and it's weird to think that, at this time last year, we were still planning our wedding -- but hey.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
hi all... here i am in the States. every time i come home is joyous but always with a sense that i am suddenly missing part of myself...which i think has to do with not being in my own house, with my phone (sob) and not being in Canada :) but... i have nothing to complain about. i am blessed to be able to be with my family.
Victoria, i appreciated your post/lament about how our culture seems to think that love is shown by giving material gifts... i think it actually is a problem... i struggle with it for sure... perhaps one way to deal with it would be to make gifts of give smaller but meaningful things? i do not think there is an easy answer or even just one answer.
i am so thankful for each one of you! hoping and praying that everyone is well!
ps: Peter how is Deanna? (it's tuesday) and RW...any word on the interview you had last week?
Okay, this is really nothing more than an excuse to post this picture. There had been some mention of the song "On the Road Again" in relation to the many travellers out there at this time of year.
But, as well, I might add that the hierarch being embraced by Willie Nelson here is none other than His Eminence, Archbishop JOHN (Metropolitan-elect) of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada. Recently there had been plans for St. John's Institute here in Edmonton ( a popular student residence and the venue for the recent Pan-Orthodox Young Adult) to be sold to the University of Alberta. But, thank God, Archbishop John stepped in and said if this were the case, he would not de-consecrate the Chapel! All of the old 'Gidos' (Ukrainian Grandpas) on the Board of the Institute came out and stood behind their Archbishop. So, thankfully, the Institute will not be sold and will still be an Orthodox presence on the U of A Campus!
Monday, December 19, 2005
i am in the london ontario bus station and have wireless on my laptop; so here i am! saying hello. i should be DV in michigan by tonight... we are a half hour late which is great because it means less than a 2 hour layover!
i hope and pray that everyone is doing well. i was at the london church and talked to ryan about dave being there before... it was nice to see everyone, of course and i felt very loved by the welcome everyone gave. Fr. Polycarp, of course, teased me and called me the returning prodigal daughter :)
okay. the bus is leaving now... God love and peace to all...
Friday, December 16, 2005
Top Ten Signs That Indicate You Might Be An Orthodox Christian
You might be Orthodox if...
10. You are still in church four hours later after the priest concludes the Liturgy by saying, "May the holy Trinity protect all of you."
9. You forget to change your clock in the spring at Daylight Savings Time, show up an hour late, but the service is still going on....
8. ...but there are people in your community who still can't get to church on time when the clock gets set _back_ an hour in the fall.
7. You consider an hour long church service to be "short."
6. You buy chocolate bunnies on sale (after Western Easter).
5. When someone says, "Let us pray..." you reflexively stand up.
4. You went to church four or more times in a week.
3. Your priest is married...
2. ...and your vocabulary includes several titles for the wife of a priest: Presbytera (Greek), Preoteasa (Romanian), Matushka (Russian) and Khouria (Arabic). And you always get a funny smile when you use the wrong term at the wrong parish that you are visiting.
And the number one sign you might be Orthodox is...
1. You say a prayer before you pray.
Orthodox Kids Do The Darndest Things
As I was driving my 4 year old son to preschool, we had to detour around a construction site. He seemed a little perturbed by the change, so I said, "George, construction doesn't last forever." He replied, "I think it will last until the last day." I was puzzled, so I asked him to clarify: "The last day of what, George?" So he said, "The last day until no one is left except God, because God lives forever!"
My 4 year old son was showing me a church he built from LegosTM. Since he seemed to be getting interested in things relating to church, I asked him if he wanted to be an altar boy in a couple of years. He answered, "No, I want to be a race car driver!"
My son (almost 4 yo) was showing me picture he drew. Lately he likes to draw what he calls "maps": pictures with roads, rivers, etc, on them. On this particular one there were some orange lines and he said: "There are pipes that are carrying regular water." Then he pointed to some blue lines and said: "These pipes are carrying Holy Water. They go to Church."
My twin 6 year old girls have been getting interested in guardian angels, and in angels in general. For example, one weekend they made wings out of construction paper, taped them to their backs and pretended they were angels ("Daddy, you can be Jesus!"), and I must say they were behaving pretty angelically as well.
Anyway, at school they have been learning about some safety issues: avoiding strangers, about fire, etc...., and that had been making them a little apprehensive. They want to be assured that their guardian angels would protect them. I asked them if they wanted guardian angel icons in their room, and they were agreeable, so I ordered some from a Conciliar Press catalog I had.
Now it so happens that at the time it was my father's birthday, so after they talked to him on the phone to wish him a happy birthday, they wanted to make something for "Papou" for a birthday present. They decided they wanted to make for him a couple of "guardian angel icons," so they got out some construction paper and colored markers. As they began, my wife told them that there were some "rules" for writing icons; she said "People usually pray make when writing icons," so afterward, I could hear them in the dining room chanting together aloud while they were coloring: "In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit... In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit..."
A few years ago, during a heavy thunderstorm, our power went out, so we lit some candles around the house for light. Our then-three year old twin girls were looking in wonder at the candles, and then one of them said "Daddy, we're in church!" Out of the mouths of babes...
When my twin daughters were three years old they received from my sister (their Godmother) icons of their patron saints, St. Catherine and St. Juliana. Although they had already had several icons they received at their baptism, they didn't have icons of their patrons until then because St. Juliana is hard to find, and my sister didn't think it was fair to give Catherine her icon until she found one of St. Juliana, which she finally did, from Holy Transfiguration Monastery. So they were looking at them one night, kissing them, and comparing them to the icon of St. George that their baby brother received from his Godmother. Now coincidentally, about that time I was given a small icon of Christ from a friend who had purchased it during a recent trip to Greece. My girls also wanted to see "Daddy's icon," too, and after Juliana observed that she had an icon of St. Juliana, Catherine had an icon of St. Catherine, and that George had an icon of St. George, I had to laugh when she pointed at my icon of Christ and said, "That's St. Daddy!"
At my son's baptism, he was given an icon of St. George which was written by his godmother. My daughter, who was three years old at the time, was studying it intently for awhile, and then a look of disappointment crossed her face. When I asked her what was wrong, she said, "I want an icon with a horsey on it!"
Thursday, December 15, 2005
A thoroughly ridiculous line of reasoning, as far as the plot goes, but along the lines of a good John Grisholm thriller, this is a highly enjoyable book. I'm not a big JG fan, but when a rebuttal to this book showed up in the orthodox messanger, I thought I should have a read, so I could at least pretend to know what I was talking about!
It was entertaining, but that's it. Nothing terribly profound to take away from the experience, or even very thoughtful. It was one of those books you buy at an airport stand for a long flight. So I was really surprised to discover how so many people have taken this book to heart, and lent it a credence it doesn't deserve.
I found a good article you may want to peruse. Understandably, the Catholics have jumped on this thing with a lot of vehemence. Anyway, it looks like it will be a good movie.
Hmmm. This brings up so much. I was reading a blog the other day that I stumbled upon, about how this movie would present an even better opportunity than "The Chronicles..." as far as evangelism opportunities go.
It made me wonder. About evangelism, that is. And are our protestant brethren putting us to shame in this matter? They are so much more unabashed about it. And concerned about it. Proselytising the unsaved. And in much more than "another notch in my evangelistic belt" sort of way. They think about it a lot. It's enough to make me wonder why I don't think about it so much...
What better gift than a book? And what better book than The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, especially this year? It will generate high interest in kids who don't usually read because of the movie tie-in-- I think perhaps even teens will find it cool this year because of the movie, though the book is written at a younger reading level.
I found what was apparently the very last copy at the Willowbrook Toys R Us. Beautiful cover, nice photos from the movie-- inexpensive paperback, an easy gift even if you aren't too flush with cash yourself. If you want to give to younger children, there are a number of junior reader versions and subsidiary books-- activity and coloring books and so on. And so you can take part in getting the Story "past watchful dragons".....;-)
Make the sign of the cross on your gift and say a prayer for the kid who will be opening it Christmas Day before you put it in the Christmas Bureau bin. You will never know who they are or what they think of the gift, but God and the angels will be there when they open it...
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
I will be chewing on this one for some time to come. It makes clear the central thing about Lewis that the writer of the nasty "Narnia shows everything that's wrong with religion" article in the Guardian can never understand-- what Jesus was talking about when he said we must come to Him as a little child.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
however, I want to express how excited I am to be a part of St. Herman's. I spent last night in wheaton Illinois, driving around with Sufjan serenading me, arriving at Isaiah and Elise's house, around 10pm. They were so hospitable, Jude and Esme were so cute, I got to hang out with them a bit in the morning. Jude has good taste in music, as was earlier reported somewhere in cyberspace.
but what was so crazy, and so normal all at once was the way that they had food for me, a great tasting beer aptly named Trinity, and were forthcoming with their story, asked me about mine. It was like I had known them for a long time. Christian hospitality at its finest, the kind I have grown used to being a part of this great family. anyways. It was great. I look forward to when they come back to vancouver.
St. Herman's taxi is continuing to run well, thank you for your prayers.
reading here, I understand more, like Peter said, how we all need each other to pray for each other. So many needs, many things to celebrate, but many things to hold up in prayer.
Happy Feast Day! Through the prayers of our Holy Father Herman of Alaska, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us.
Sunday, December 11, 2005
Bring an appetitizer and some beverages; if you need to bunk down over night, Kurt would be more than happy to have you count sheep on his side of the bed :P
But wherever you sleep on January 1st we don't care, we just need you there to help us rejoice -- and to rejoice fully; hence, just don't be a party pooper. So come one, come all; it should be a blast!
Looking forward to seeing all you party animals there!!!
I think there's a few of you who might know this guy! He was a bit confused as to how I "know" you and how I'm affiliated with a St. Herman's blog (of course, then again, so am I) but he's a smart lad and figured it out. It was fun to throw around names that I know as though all of you are real and not merely a figment of my electronic imagination. It looks as though I'll get to see him again in a few weeks when I'm home for Christmas. He and his dad will be at the Cathedral in Wichita, KS for a mutual friend's ordination into the diaconate.
Saturday, December 10, 2005
Friday, December 09, 2005
Thursday, December 08, 2005
I hope everyone is doing well; I enjoy reading other’s blogs by the way and am very grateful for each one of you on this blog. It is wonderful to see the church across many miles (and kilometres!) supporting each other.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
December 5th, 2005 Eve of St. Nicholas.
Festal Vespers with litya tonight, at the Cathedral, Bishop Seraphim presiding. This was my first experience of an Orthodox celebration of the feast of St. Nicholas. Growing up in the Netherlands I knew all the legends surrounding "Sinterklaas", 80% of them devoid of the spiritual truth about the man who really lived.
I have much nostalgia around this festive time of year--the annual parade through Amsterdam of St Nicholas in his Bishop's getup riding on a white horse with all his zwarte pieten in tow scattering candy to hundreds of kids with their families lined up along the streets...waking up in the morning every morning for a whole week leading up to December 5th and running to our shoes to see what was in it, and yes, finding carrots half chomped through by the schimmel (white horse)....Doing surprises (sur-PREE-sus) with our class or our family: gifts wrapped and disguised within elaborate cardboard and construction paper sculptures of animals, vehicles, robots, people, and other imitable objects, given anonymously by the family member or friend who drew your name out of a hat, addressed to you with an awkwardly rhyming poem from sint en piet which mostly makes fun of your foibles and alludes to the gift inside...
Ever since I've come to North America (8 years ago) I've missed this early December celebration that used to mark off the beginning of the Christmas season. And although I rejoiced to discover St. Nicholas as a true saint when I became Orthodox, indeed, one of the greatest saints to both the East and the West of Christendom, I was also a little sad. This new discovery makes a lot of the old Sinterklaas songs seem too silly, or even offensive, to sing in light of who he is to the Church. I won't be able to celebrate sinterklaasfeest in quite the same way ever again.
But there was something special tonight. Maybe it was a combination of the presence of our own beloved Bishop, the veneration of our icon of St Nicholas (reportedly wonderworking), the wonderful tropar to him, the service interwoven with hymns reflecting on Mary's conception and birth-giving of Christ in preparation for Christmas, the simple and small gathering around tea, coffee, and cookies afterwards--something about all this left me with a feeling that I somehow associate with my memories of this time of year, growing up in Amsterdam.
One of the hard things about becoming Orthodox has been that (as someone who needed it and desired it) in gaining a liturgical calendar and tools for the spiritual geography of our physical time, I have lost some of the few markers I did have before (which I loved and cherished in their sparsity). Technically I haven't lost them (Easter, Christmas, St Nicholas, Pentecost), but the way they are prepared for, celebrated, and spoken of has changed drastically and there sometimes seem to be none of the external markers (certain kinds of decorations, combinations of colours, songs, atmospheres) which evoke in me the memories of all previous celebrations of a given feast, and connect that Day with all those Days gone before. Last Pascha I really missed my Dad's mix-tape he played every Easter morning during my childhood, with lots of Keith Green on it and excerpts from the soulful '70's Young Messiah.
I have not grieved this loss with many tears, partly because I do not think I have lost that much more than nostalgia, and partly because I know that it is only a matter of time (though it may take years) before my experience of the liturgical year deepens and vests itself gradually with all the new externals that do not yet evoke the memories and connections for me which anchor in my heart the building and deepening of the thruth and the blessing that a feast brings year upon year.
Nevertheless, the memories of childhood, the atmospheres of time that were learned when time was long and deep, cannot be replaced, or lost--nor the later additions to my inner landscape (Anglican Advent) that are so connected to the spiritual awakening I had as a teenager.
The strange thing is that there was something tonight that was familiar, something subtle, something nameless, but something that was present in my memories of St. Nicholas days past. And it suddenly struck me that a very likely reason (since none of the externals are the same) is the presence of the Saint himself.
Perhaps, no matter how much sinterklaasfeest has lost its connection to the image of Christ which the Saint bore, when an atheistic nation (whose few christians don't believe in saints anyway) is still remembering him in some way--remembering his anonymous generosity, loving eachother in honour of him--he comes and honours them with his presence...secretly, anonymously, giving them his blessing as they celebrate.
I discover I have not lost Sinterklaas. I only know him better now.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Monday, December 05, 2005
Saturday, December 03, 2005
I know I have seen true shepherds in priests—and this helps me see it also in God, as it gives me something tangible to see and experience. When I am in church, learning about these grace and love filled teachings, I feel so alive, and at the same time so safe, loved and at peace. The next morning the teaching was again confirmed—my more protestant-based flip calendar’s verse [paraphrased from The Message] was John 10:27-30:
My sheep recognize my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them real and eternal life. They are protected from the Destroyer for good. No one can steal them from out of my hand. The Father who put them under my care is so much greater than the Destroyer and Thief. No one could ever get them away from him. I and the Father are one heart and mind.
Friday, December 02, 2005
Just wanted to let you all know that the web address for the Youth and Young Adults blog has changed, so you'll want to update your browsers and links.
1 Timothy 4.12 can now be found at http://www.ocacanadianyouth.orthodoxmission.org/.
Thanks to Fr. Justin for helping us to host the blog, safe and sound.
To all 1 Timothy 4.12 contributors, there is no need to re-sign up... the address and increased online security are the only signficant changes. But if there are any youth and young adults who would like an invite, feel free to email myself, Fr. Justin, Pasivirta, or Gabe F. from Saskatoon.
Grace & Peace!
Thursday, December 01, 2005
Does anyone have a quick recipe for apple crisp this that uses regular oatmeal? :) I have company coming tonight for tea and I forgot to take my cranberry break out of the freezer... what can I say other than "busy week"...
Any other quick suggestions, please post them... thanks!
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
My children have seen just about as much snow as a couple of African pygmies.
But anyway! Please do yourselves a favour and discover "Ukulele" James Hill! He is right there in Langley and is a COOL guy! I stumbled on his terrific website, ukulelejames.com, where you can listen to samples of his cd tracks. He is a 20 something uke whiz and judging by the look of him and the overall feel of his site, he is a friend we haven't met yet.
Plus his site answered a longstanding puzzlement of mine: why the heck was I taught ukulele in Grade 4 anyway? Answer: it has been mandatory in Langley since the late 70s (for reasons I can't quite fathom, but I'm not complaining), and guess who lived in Langley in the late 70s!? Yes! Me! (Okay, no sniggers from you whippersnappers about not having been thought of yet in the late 70's. . .I'm not interested)
Anyway, a Starbucks drink of hizzerher choice (mmm, let's say grande) to the first person who visits James' site and reports back here about it -- be specific -- redeemable next time I'm in God-and-ukulele-playing-children-blessed Langley! Or if you're in the mud-slopped, Campbell- cursed waterworld that is our provincial capital, you can have it here. . .
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
This is a blog for recipe sharing within the community. I am still working on it, so please bear with me as I figure out the best way for us to post recipes in specific sections, so that when we want a vegan recipe we do not have to sift through hoards of recipes including meat and cheese, and vice versa, and so on and so forth. I really hope that we will be able to share our recipes and then add comments as we try them out (eg. "Yum, this is so good!" or "Ummm...why did the spinach taste like styrofoam-coated wicker?") to aid and be aided in our culinary adventures.
Father Justin and Phil have both given me some insightful advice on how to go about this. However, most of what both have said is completely Greek to me (incidentally, I love Greek food more than any other type, so please post Greek recipes.....SIMEON TAKE NOTE...). At some point, I'll convince Phil to do it for me (oh, I'm a helpless damsel in distress!).
I will try to invite you ASAP. Please let me know your email addresses so I can invite you (Dave...send me addresses!)
But for now, please peruse the pantry....
Love in Christ,
Monday, November 28, 2005
if you are so inclined,
and...I will be coming home in a few weeks, I thought it appropriate to announce to my pipe smoking brethren that recently bestowed upon myself was a gift of sorts, a rack, containing six places for six pipes, all of which are SO cool, and fairly old, but most of them made out of great wood. anyways. A friend from the antiochian church here was moving, and I helped him move yesterday, and I exclaimed something about the pipes, he had them in his 'to get rid of' pile, and I asked him if he really was going to get rid of them? and he asked if I wanted them. so, they are on their way to st. herman's. I will be saving the christening of them until the 12 days of Christmas, as their is a need for this fast to include tobacco. this semester has been good in many ways, though my lungs may not be in such agreement.
So, this antiochian church is really cool, I have already had a few odd jobs, moving, helping fix a light (future tense) and made a few bucks to help me home, so thank God for the orthodox church. it is so great.
you know, Bishop Seraphim told me that he was once the priest here. its a cool church, sort of small, like us, and they need a new building too.
I wore my flip-flops today, and I post that knowing that in chilliwack there is snow, and maybe vancouver...? its 15 above here. sweet.
can't wait to see you all.
Saturday, November 26, 2005
I have printed out the two entries I made about my Grandfather on this blog and the comments; my cousin Bryan, who is like a brother to me through his friendship, is in the peace corps and is on the other side of the world and could not be there for the funeral. I will be sending a copy of your care and prayers to him. (When we both lived in Michigan two years ago both of us made St. Nicholas our church home). I am really comforted by Victoria’s comment about still missing her Grandfather—that it is acknowledged that the loss does not somehow disappear after time—and the hugs from many—and Neo telling me that at vespers my Grandfather was prayed for in a prayer to the Theotokos.
When I am in the quiet of my house (studio apartment) is when I realize how much I miss my Grandfather and that I am in mourning. Even so, this is verse that I read this morning from my more Protestant-based daily flip calendar, from the paraphrase “The Message”…
“[Jesus] comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us” (2 Corinthians 1:4).
I talked with a good friend of mine from library school yesterday who lost someone who was like a mother to her and one of her best friends. The grief she is going through is deep…and that we could talk about it, and about what Phil told me, that we were not made for death or to experience the death of others.
I think this should become one of my prayers—that as I mourn that I can be used to comfort others as they go through the deep waters of grief and loss.
Thank you all again for your prayers, how blessed I am to belong to communities like this one.
Friday, November 25, 2005
There's some really good stuff on this site, stuff we could even use for our open house. Some good handouts for the kids, about St.Nicholas, Bishop of Myrna. And lots of recipes, crafts, etc.
mmmm...mulled wine. that's what I feel like. snuggled down under a big puffy comforter, with a mug of mulled wine, and Anne playing on the tele.
my favourite Christmas tradition is watching the whole Anne of Green Gables series, on a lazy afternoon, after Christmas day is passed, and there's nothing to rush and hurry and worry about anymore.
"But I'll have to ask you to wait a long time, Anne," said Gilbert sadly. "It will be three years before I'll finish my medical course. And even then there will be no diamond sunbursts and marble halls."
"oh Gil, I don't want sunbursts and marble halls. I just want you... Sunbursts and marble halls may be all very well, but there is more `scope for imagination' without them. And as for the waiting, that doesn't matter. We'll just be happy, waiting and working for each other -- and dreaming. Oh, dreams will be very sweet now."
(what's your favourite Christmas tradition?)
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Looooong over up here. We're looking at Christmas already. Tell me, my fellow north americans south of the 49th, isn't it a hassle making 2 turkey dinners in 2 months? Or do you do ham or wild boar for Christmas?
Is Thanksgiving really bigger than Christmas down there?
Say, st.hermanites, can we get a crew together to go and get a Christmas tree for St.Hermans? We have a stand already. It should go up this sunday, before the St.Nicholas Day thing, eh?
ps: this tapestry is on my wishlist, if any of you were confounded about what to get me...;)
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
I hear it was a raging success.
Hey Ramona, this is something we could do once or twice throughout the year. We certainly have enough talent within our community.
There's a hilarious clip of Seraphim singing a song about Abba Pambo.
Achilles does some rap. Mira's dad sings a Romanian folk song. It's wonderful, and just so inspired!
Let's organize something like this for February, just before Lent.
Fr. John says they advertised all over the city and they had a lot of people come, many of whom they had never seen before.
What a great way to draw people in from the community!
The Coptic monk Matthew the Poor says this about unity:
"If we are not together it is a.) because we are seeking it before we have surrendered our whole heart and whole soul and our whole mind to God, and b) because we are seeking it outside ourselves; that is to say, we are trying to realize it as a matter for discussion and not within ourselves."
"The unity of men is an ideal that surpasses human strength if it is sought at a divine level. It flows, as a necessity, as an inevitable and direct consequence from the union of God with man."
"Unity is truth and truth inspires and inspiration first lodges itself in the heart and only htne in the understanding."
Monday, November 21, 2005
I am very excited about our Open House on Sat. Dec. 3rd. I hope and pray that it will inspire us all to think of some other ways we can share our faith with all our new neighbours. Literally.
If anyone has any ideas or suggestions. Let me or someone else on parish council know.
Saturday, November 19, 2005
2. Pray often.
3. Don't hold grudges. Be nice to each other. (This point was rather comical when he said, "Husbands and wives how hard can this be? But it is hard. We get so nit-picky with each other. Remeber husbands, you asked her to marry you. [Everyone laughed] And wives, you said yes. [More laughter] Or vice versa... whatever the case may be." [Stunned silence with smirks and small giggles hidden in pockets.]
4. Confess often.
5. Commune often.
6. LIVE SIMPLY.
I went up and spoke to Fr. John and said, "Hmmm... that message sounds familiar." (It's the same message he gives us repeatedly.) He smiled and hugged me and squeezed my hand.
It's a peaceful sight to see the beauty our beloved Bishop reflected in our priest.
On a side note: Have you ever heard Southerners sing in Arabic? The Arabs at St. John have to listen closely to recognize it -- it has a drawl to it. Thankfully we don't sing in Arabic often. It's kind of cool when we do, though, because all the Arabs start singing very loudly and robustly. Makes me smile.
Victoria -- for some reason this reminds me of you teasing me for the official "y'all" I promised. My priest says that in Mississippi the Liturgy lasts an extra 20 minutes just to compensate for the Southern accent.
love to many of you whom i miss, and peace be to all,
I found this article extreamly interesting, I pray that all of you do too. Enjoy the hymns also :)
May the Peace and Blessing of the Lord our God be with all of us always :)
your brother in Christ,
"Three Generations" By the hand of Fr. Luke Dingman
Hymns(audio, right click and open in a new window or tab):
Let My Prayer Arise In Your Sight As Incense
Awed By The Beauty
If we can know anything of the divine mystery, it is because God, from His “infinite otherness,” has disclosed Himself to us. He has revealed His face to us in the Person of Jesus of Nazareth. The Church, however, confesses and celebrates the truth that this Jesus is Himself the eternal Son of God, “consubstantial” with the Father and the Spirit, thus One of the Holy Trinity. Yet He is also one of us, having taken upon Himself our humanity, including suffering and death. He became “incarnate,” not only entering into our life, but assuming it in its fallen state, restoring it to the original perfection for which it was intended, then rising and ascending with that life – our life – so that we might share fully in the glory He shared with the Father from before the foundation of the world.
This language we use to speak of God made known to us in Christ is ontological language. It expresses the divine mystery in categories of being. In order to reveal that mystery to us and at the same time enable us to participate in it, Jesus had to be in all reality both God and man. God in His eternal essence, He had to “assume” our human nature, thereby becoming the God-man. In the perspective of the a-symmetrical Christology characteristic of Orthodox Christianity, the Subject of the incarnation remains the eternal Son; yet He takes upon Himself all the conditions of human existence, in order to work out our salvation by His own death and resurrection. Without that ontological participation in human life, there could be no salvation. If Jesus were simply a man in whom God’s Word came to expression, He could not save us. He could speak to us about God, but He could not provide us with direct and personal access to God. To be both Revealer and Savior, Jesus must Himself be “God in the flesh.”
This aspect of divine mystery, on which our life and salvation depend, explains the Church’s traditional veneration of the Virgin Mary, celebrated liturgically and in personal devotions as the Mother of God. The eternal Son of God became Jesus, the Son of Man, in the womb of the Holy Theotokos, “the God-bearer.”
On November 21, we join with Orthodox Christians throughout the world to celebrate the second great Marian feast of the liturgical year: the “Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple.” This feast has as its textual foundation the mid-second century document known as the “Book of James” (thus Origen) or, more commonly as “The Protoevangelium of James” (implying that its tradition is older than that of the canonical Gospels). The work is an apocryphal panegyric, written to honor Mary by depicting her birth, her presentation in the Temple, her betrothal to Joseph, and the miraculous birth of Jesus (the later chapters 22-25, concerning John the Baptist, are secondary). Although it was formally condemned in the West, the Eastern Churches have drawn heavily upon it in formulating the liturgical traditions for the great feasts of Mary’s birth and her reception into the Temple, where, it is held, she was introduced into the Holy of Holies by the (high?) priest and there, was “fed by the angels.”
A great deal of fruitless discussion has focused on the historical unlikelihood that Mary could in fact have been raised in the Temple and particularly in its most sacred space, into which the Jewish high priest entered only once a year, on the Day of Atonement. Such discussion totally misses the point of the traditional account and, in the process, obscures the truth that underlies it.
Every affirmation the Church makes concerning Mary is, once again, an affirmation of our faith in the Person of her Son, Jesus Christ. Mariology, in other words, is necessarily a function of Christology. To exalt the Holy Virgin with liturgical images of her presence in the earthly Temple, and especially in the sacred altar area, is to recognize and proclaim that she has been elevated to the true Holy of Holies, where she is perpetually nourished by her Son, the Word of God, and where she makes her ceaseless intercession on behalf of us all.
The images of the Protoevangelium of James, then, are not simply the product of pious speculation. Although the work is apocryphal, it enshrines and declares truth about the Holy Virgin that the Church has always known. Through her miraculous conception in the womb of Anna, through her presentation in the Temple at the age of three years, where she was “nurtured like a dove and received food from the hand of an angel,” through her perpetual virginity throughout her marriage to Joseph, and through her bringing forth of the child Jesus, she fulfills the blessing uttered by the priest at her presentation: “The Lord has magnified your name among all generations; because of you the Lord at the end of the days will manifest His redemption to the children of Israel.”
God has manifested His redemption through the birth of His eternal Son from the womb of the Holy Theotokos. The hymnography of the feast expresses it well: “Fed in faith by heavenly bread in the Temple of the Lord, you have brought forth to the world the Bread of Life that is the Word.” As His Holy Mother, and as our perpetual Intercessor who offers her prayer for the world’s salvation, this woman, whom we celebrate in the Church today and every day, has truly become “the most pure Temple of the Savior, the sacred treasure of the glory of God, … the abode of Heaven.”
Friday, November 18, 2005
In a small village in
Finally, a week later, the bartender broaches the subject on behalf of the town. “I don't mean to pry, but folks around here are wondering why you always order three beers?”
“Tis odd, isn't it?” the man replies, “You see, I have two brothers, and one went to
The bartender and the whole town was pleased with this answer, and soon the Man Who Orders Three Beers became a local celebrity and source of pride to the village, even to the extent that out-of-towners from elsewhere in Ireland would come to watch him drink. Then, one day, the man comes in and orders only two beers. The bartender pours them with a heavy heart. This continues for the rest of the evening-- he orders only two beers. The word flies around the small village. Prayers are offered for the soul of one of the brothers.
The next day, the bartender says to the man, “Folks around here, me first of all, want to offer condolences to you for the death of your brother. You know-the two beers and all...”
The man ponders this for a moment, then replies, “You'll be happy to hear that my two brothers are alive and well. It's just that I, meself, have decided to give up drinking for the Advent Fast.”
Thursday, November 17, 2005
This is true fasting."
St. John Chrysostom
In order to keep with the theme of contributing something of uplifting spiritual value, I offer this quote from Schmemann (a favorite of us all):
"All that exists is God's gift to man, and it all exists to make God known to man, to make man's life communion with God. It is divine love made food, made life for man."
These words were take from the opening pages of For the Life of the World. I like being reminded of this. The world God made is good, very good. All of life, all that exists as our world, is sacramental since it is imbued with His very life and presence. A simple and beautiful fact that I will not expound here, but let us never forget.
I am very comforted by all of your comments and prayers. My family are Christians but not Orthodox Christians so at times that is a bit difficult for me in situations like this. Praise God that as an Orthodox Christian I can still freely pray for the soul of my Grandfather, whose last words to me were that prayer is the best thing we can ever do.
Now I have to get ready for work--of course this would be a day with 2 meetings at work, the first at 9 am. Thank you so much for praying. I really appreciate it and hope to return the honour when ever my prayers are needed for any of you.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Monday, November 14, 2005
It is good to be home, although I couldhave stayed at the youth retreat for a long long time. It was amazing to see everyone, and to hear Fr John speak on such a relevant topic. God is soooo good. What more can be said? words are not enough.
I feel like I'm becoming more of an integrated person. I feel like God is uniting me with my past and my future...sometimes I've felt disunited from the past because I had such a different lifestyle for some time, and from the future because I don't really know what my vocation should be and where I should be stepping. But more and more these things are being revealed, and it is incredible to be in the midst of God's grace and mercy as He re-unites me. Glory to God!
Here are some of my favourite quotes from Fr John's talks at the Youth Retreat, on the topic of Singleness and the Married Life:
"We need to understand who we are, what this world that we live in is about, and who God is and what He has accomplished for us on the Cross, before we can have healthy single or married relationships. " - Fr John
"Lust is wanting something right now."
"Modesty is a quality inherent in women. In the past, modesty gave women the right to withold themselves from dishonourable men. Modest women live in a way that makes the quality of womanliness transparent, trascendant, and implicit. Modesty induces men to be true gentlemen. Modesty is the proof that morality is sexy." (Fr John's paraphrasing of Wendy Shalit's "Return to Modesty").
"This is how I die best." (quote from Fr Gregory)
"Mummies and daddies are God's way of showing us that we must be loved into being." - Fr John
And now, I want to get your opinions: how would you define dating, in an Orthodox Christian setting?
My brain is scrambled tofu after a loooong journey from Vancouver to Victoria (only those who perform this five hour extravaganza regularly know just how gruelling it can be -- fabulous scenery and the odd group of cavorting orcas notwithstanding) (yes I know it's called a 'pod' but I have an unreasonable hatred of those cutesy whimsical words that connote groups of animals: "murder of crows", etc -- don't get me started) (not that you were) with two sugared-up overtired short people. So I have even less to contribute right now than perhaps at other times. I need to just go collapse in a heap. I'm glad the retreat went well; I know my husband was very blessed by it. Before long Ella will be going to these things: aieeeeeee!
Just wanted to say hi, anyway -- I long forward to long hours of screen time reading and posting with y'all.
Macarius of Optina
My priest told me the other day that the goal for me as a Christian is for God to unite His mind with my mind, His heart with my heart and His soul with my soul. It suddenly became a little clearer, what it means to be transfigured into being like Christ. Somehow the quote above reminded me of what my priest said; this seeking for Christ’s illumination.
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Greetings all! those of you not at the retreat, i missed you and i wish you could have been to this. those of you at the retreat, i miss you already. oh the memories. the late nights. sigh.
Well i think i will fill some of you in. i arrived at about ten o'clock. i greeted phil and mira, and others, which was such a reunion filled with joy. i also met biss, for the first time after meeting her on this bloging network. which was so awesome( i am now adopted by biss. another one of her boys). im smiling again. when i arrived there, and all that night until 2:00 am when me and mira and phil finally went to sleep, i was smiling with such joy. i could not stop. and it wasn't just a grin, my face muscles were starting to hurt. i was so happy to be there with those people. i also met jesse and dan. i wish i could be at their baptisms. but i don't think that will be able to work out. also i met another jordan, which was very cool. the jordans. muryn was a very cool person to meet. i was greeted by kim and fr john and matt and krista the next morning which was another blessing. ( Fr John was amazed by our bloging community by the way). For those of you who don't know the topic was marriage and singleness in Christ. and i had set up a bunch of questions for Fr John, of which, all he answered before i ask him. he made things so clear it was an amazing weekend. if anyone would want a tape of his sessions, i did tape it and you may have a copy if you wish just talk to me if you want one. a great time, so full of peace and calmness for me. the ride home seemed lonely at first but i was very comforted toward the end. i did not get to say goodbye to mira which made me sad at first, but then i realized something on the way home, kind of cheesy yet very, very true. she did not actually leave me spiritually, she is still here with me, as you all are, glorifying and giving thanks to God. this is how the weekend was. i was so spiritually connected with these people. they are family, just as they should be. i cannot wait to be on the coast again. biss was ordering me to put all my stuff in their car and told me that i was going home with them. i wanted to so badly. i miss you all so much. an amazing weekend.
p.s. thames mortimore. good laughs! and Kurt's " why don't ya shut up ya Jehovah's witness." i can't believe he said that. oh i was crying with laughter.
When I was working on my dissertation I was studying the etymology of the verb "to heal." Working on a doctorate in counseling "to heal" is at the heart of the matter. I was searching word roots in the Old and New Testaments and doing some other research to that end. I was intrigued to find one day that "to heal" shared some ancestry with "to work" in the Old Testament and "to worship" in the New Testament. Being that I was still Protestant at the time this all made sense to me inherently but I had trouble putting it together with the theology. That word "work" was particularly pesky at the time.
I remember working on one particular piece of my paper and I must have rewritten it 3 or 4 times. I'd write 12-15 pages and then just scrap the whole thing. I was so frustrated with it. I kept wrestling with this relationship between healing, working, and worshipping. (It seems so easy now. It's hard for me to remember what a surprise it all was to me then). Finally, I sat down with the book of Jeremiah (one of my favorites) and I prayed. Jeremiah 6:16 says this,
This is what the LORD says:I stopped. I was arrested by this passage. I began to research the book of Jeremiah more fully. I called my friend who was a seminarian at the time and I said, "What's the ancient path?" (Little did I know at the time that that friend was wrestling with the decision to become Orthodox. He later told me that it was that passage that confirmed his heart's desire and he became a catechumen shortly thereafter.)
"Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls...."
Once a passage like that gets into you it just won't go away. So as my search continued you can simply imagine my surprise and sense of home when I met Father Paul for the first time on a tour of an Orthodox Church nave. He said, "This is where we do Liturgy. The word litrugy means 'common work' or 'common worship.'" I don't know if he saw me staring at him at the time or if he saw my jaw drop... pages and pages and hours and hours of dissertation work... I was standing in the middle of my dissertation. I was looking at the Ancient Path.
I didn't finish my doctorate. I became Orthodox instead.
Saturday, November 12, 2005
Saturday December 3rd
10 am 2pm
We will be having a bake/ craft sale - some cookie decorating for the younger folk. The church will be open from 10am to 2pm - we will serve hot apple cider and invite the neighbouring community. So come and join us for some fellowship. Or if you are unable to physically be there.. pray for us that day.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
“Prayer is the search for God, encounter with God, and going beyond this encounter in communion. Thus it is an activity, a state and also a situation; a situation both with respect to God and the created world. It arises from the awareness that the world in which we live is not simply two dimensional, imprisoned in the categories of time and space, a flat world in which we meet only the surface of things, an opaque surface covering emptiness. Prayer is born of the discovery that the world has depths; that we are not only surrounded by visible things but that we are also immersed in and penetrated by invisible things. And this invisible world is both the presence of God, the supreme, sublime reality, and our own deepest truth. Visible and invisible are not in opposition neither can they be juxtaposed like in an addition sum. They are present simultaneously, as fire is present in red hot iron.”
p.s. i wont arrive until like 10:00p.m. so that delays our meeting for like 5 hours but i still will be there. can't wait!!!!!!!!
Monday, November 07, 2005
This is specifically for you.
The St. Xenia Akathist scan that I did made the file way too large to e-mail, so instead I've posted the 8 pages to my university account. Go here:
St. Xenia Akathist
and then click on the folder marked: St. Xenia Akathist
After that you can open each page and print or download it or whatever.
(I never use the university account for anything so I'm glad it's being put to use.)