“When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you,they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
On Reading the Scripture (pt. 2)
St. Justin Popovich
Learning and fulfilling the words of God makes a person a relative of the Lord Jesus. He Himself revealed this when He said: "My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and carry it out" (Luke 8:21).
This means that if you hear and read the word of God, you are a half-brother of Christ. If you carry it out, you are a full brother of Christ. And that is a joy and privilege greater than that of the angels.
In learning from the Bible, a certain blessedness floods the soul which resembles nothing on earth. The Savior spoke about this when He said, "Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it" (Luke 11:28). Great is the mystery of the word – so great that the second Person of the Holy Trinity, Christ the Lord, is called "the Word" or "the Logos" in the Bible.
God is the Word (John 1:1). All those words which come from the eternal and absolute Word are full of God, Divine Truth, Eternity, and Righteousness. If you listen to them, you are listening to God. If you read them, you are reading the direct words of God.
God the Word became flesh, became man (John 1:14), and mute, stuttering man began to proclaim the words of the eternal truth and righteousness of God. In the Savior's words there is a certain elixir of immortality, which drips drop by drop into the soul of the man who reads His words and brings his soul from death to life, from impermanence to permanence. The Savior indicated this when He said: "Truly, truly I say unto you, whoever listens to my word and believes in the One who sent me has eternal life ...and has passed over from death to life" (John 5:24).
Thus the Savior makes the crucial assertion: "Truly, truly I say unto you, whoever keeps my words will never see death" (John 8:51). Every word of Christ is full of God. Thus, when it enters a man's soul it cleanses it from every defilement. From each of His words comes a power that cleanses us from sin. Hence at the Mystical Supper the Savior told His disciples, who used to listen to His word without ceasing: "You have already been cleansed by the word which I have spoken to you" (John 15:3).
Christ the Lord and His Apostles call everything that is written in the Bible the word of God, the word of the Lord (John 17:14; Acts 6:2, 13:46, 16:32, 19:20; II Cor. 2:17; Col. 1:15, II Thess. 3:1), and unless you read it and receive it as such, you will remain in the mute, stuttering words of men, vain and idle.
Every word of God is full of God's Truth, which sanctifies the soul for all eternity once it enters it. Thus does the Savior turn to His heavenly Father in prayer: "Father! Sanctify them with Thy Truth; Thy word is truth" (John 17:17). If you do not accept the word of Christ as the word of God, as the word of the Truth, then falsehood and the father of lies within you is rebelling against it.
In every word of the Savior there is much that is supernatural and full of grace, and this is what sheds grace on the soul of man when the word of Christ visits it. Therefore the Holy Apostle calls the whole structure of the house of salvation "the word of the grace of God" (Acts 20:32). Like a living grace-filled power, the word of God has a wonder-working and life-giving effect on a man, so long as he hears it with faith and receives it with faith (1 Thess. 2:13).
Everything is defiled by sin, but everything is cleansed by the word of God and prayer – everything – all creation from man on down to a worm (1 Tim. 4:5).
By the Truth which it carries in itself and by the Power which it has in itself, the word of God is "sharper than any sword and pierces to the point of dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and discerns the thoughts and intentions of the heart" (Heb. 4:12). Nothing remains secret before it or for it.
Because every word of God contains the eternal Word of God – the Logos – it has the power to give birth and regenerate men. And when a man is born of the Word, he is born of the Truth For this reason St. James the Apostle writes to the Christians that God the Father has brought them forth "by the word of truth" (1:18); and St. Peter tells them that they "have been born anew … by the word of the living God, which abides forever" (1 Peter 1:23).
Set Service Schedule:
- Every Saturday, Great Vespers 5:30 pm.
- Every Sunday, Hours at 9:10 am & Divine Liturgy at 9:30 am.
(The set weekday services will change during Great Lent, see Calendar)
+ An Akathist is served every Tuesday at 6:30 am.
+ Matins is served at 6 am, every Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday.
+ Vespers is served at 5:30 pm every Wednesday.
Coffee fellowship: Not meeting this month.
Bible Study / Orthodox Education: last class on the 7th. No study during Great Lent
Upcoming Major & Great Feasts: The Meeting of our Lord in the Temple, Friday, February the 2nd .
Women's group: Not meeting this month, come to the First Week of Great Lent services.
“Love to read the Gospels!”
Archimandrite Kyrill (Pavlov) of blessed memory
Bible Study / Orthodoxy 101, final study on the 7th. Will not be held in Great Lent.
Sunday, February the 11th at 5 pm, winter game night and potluck! Last time we had a blast! Bring some food to share and a game that you enjoy.
First Week of Great Lent starts on Monday the 19th. See calendar for services. Remember: throughout Great Lent a Presantified Liturgy is served on Wednesday evenings (except for the 1st week) with a lenten potluck following. This is a wonderful opportunity to pray and fellowship together.
It is house blessing season! A sign up-sheet is in the fellowship hall. Make sure to have your home blessed! Great Lent starts on the 19th, strive to have your home blessed before it starts!
Mission Vespers begin on the Sunday of Orthodoxy, make sure to attend some! See calendar for the schedule. We will host on March the 4th. Remember as host parish we will provide a lenten meal; look for a sign-up sheet soon.
Please note: a close circuit video camera system now monitors the church grounds.
New Policy for Church Grounds: effective immediately, the Church Calendar regulations regarding work on Holy Days will be observed on the Church grounds. No work, other than what is clearly necessary for Feast Day preparations, will or should be done on the Church grounds. This includes all 12 Great Feasts and Holy Week together with Pascha. Thank you!
Confession is an integral part of true Christian living. An Orthodox Christian who is regularly partaking of Holy Communion needs, for the health of their soul, to be partaking of Holy Confession at least on a monthly basis. This practice of true Christian living should be respected and practiced by all responsible members of the Church who are approaching the Chalice frequently.
Library note: if you have had a library book for awhile please remember to return it. Remember the library is a honor system.
A note on Prosphora bread: Prosphora is blessed bread partaken of after Holy Communion and at the conclusion of the Div. Liturgy. Please be mindful of crumbs, it is important to instruct children to eat it with reverence. If you share with a member of the congregation who has not partaken of Holy Communion, please only give one or two pieces. If you notice a number of crumbs on the floor please pick them up and deposit them outside. Prosphora should never be thrown in the trash.
Parents: please make sure that your children do not go to the restroom unattended. This is for the greater safety of our community and children.
Another reminder: Generally speaking there should be no unnecessary moving about during the Div. Liturgy; specifically during the reading of the Gospel, the Anaphora, and the Our Father all moving about should cease, unless it is an emergency. Parents are encouraged to help their children focus during these times.
Diapers and wipes: we are partnering with a Caring Pregnancy Center through supplying diapers and wipes. Please bring donations to the church. This is an ongoing ministry. A Caring Pregnancy Center helps woman make an informed choice for life. Protecting life at every stage is the job of every Christian.
Coffee Hour: Please be mindful which group you belong to and please be diligent in bringing food. This is in fact a ministry. It is the listed group's responsibility to make sure the coffee is made, please communicate with your group members as to who will do this. Thank you for all your hard work!