What is the mission of the Orthodox Church in this world? Every parish may have its own mission statement clearly laid out in the by-laws, as an organization it is important to be moving in the same direction. But by virtue of being part of the Orthodox Church, every parish is also under one great mission statement given to us by our Lord Jesus Christ: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).
With this in mind, I would like to share an inciting article by Fr Jonathan Ivanoff, who is the rector of St John the Theologian Church in Shirley, NY. The article tackles the issues of mission and maintenance.
Joachim and Anna could not have children. Anna was barren. The Bible mentions several times the birth of significant people by barren women. Isaac, the son of Abraham was conceived by the barren Sarah, after the announcement of the angel. Prophet Samuel as conceived by the barren Hannah, by the word of Prophet Eli. John the Baptist was conceived by the barren Elizabeth, after the announcement of the angel.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, One God. Amen.
Have you heard someone say, “In the life of a saint it says…” or “You have to read the life of a saint”? And have you wondered what exactly is the life of a saint? Is it a biography? Or is it a text of what a person did and why he or she is a saint?
The life of a saint is much more than biography of a person. I can read a biography of George Washington, learn something about him, about the time he lived in, maybe get inspired for something, but that’s about it.
For the Sunday Gospel reading Luke 13:10-17.
Have you ever woken up on a Sunday morning and absolutely had no desire to go to the church? For whatever reason, you just didn't want to go.
I know, I have that too. And the funny thing is, it's always easy to find excuses – a headache, or a long night on Saturday, or a long work week, or a hard week coming up, or simply laziness, laziness to do anything on an off-day.
Over time this laziness grows into a habbit. A habbit not to miss the church on Sunday, but a habbit to argue with yourself. But as soon as I start arguing, I have lost the battle, the laziness won.