Frankly, it was uncomfortable. This was the first time I was back at the church I was raised in since I had become Orthodox. And what made it more disconcerting was they had asked me to speak at a Sunday night service. Let me set the stage for you. This was the Pentecostal church where I was raised since I was a boy of 6 or 7 years of age. This was the church where I would sing onstage as a little boy with the assistant pastor and his guitar. This was the place where I was baptized and "got the Holy Ghost ( a term I don't expect non-Pentecostals to understand and please know that is completely OK!). This was the church where I recei.ced my "call to preach (see above), and the church that sent me to my first church assignment as an "ordained" preacher. It is also the place where I was youth director AND youth choir director.
"What you thought I said was not what I meant!" And with that, a whole series of choices, decisions, plans, and events were called I.nto question simply because I had misunderstood our initial conversation. Having to walk back all that work was both embarrassing and frustration.
She looked at me with a pinched face and said "I really didn't get much out of the service today!" She had that disapproving look that said "and it's your fault!" Imagine her surprise when I told her sincerely "well dear, that's OK. We weren't doing the worship for you anyway!" And yes, that didn't make her happy either.
All I can say was it was embarrassing! I could have sworn the person I ran up to in the store was a buddy of mine from High School. I just knew this was going to be a fun reunion, and we'd laugh about that time we all... and we'd talk about the old days and comment on how hard that Algebra class was and how the teacher was so difficult, and then we'd go have lunch together and catch up. But it wasn't him. And all my mental joy in anticipation of a reunion with an old friend evaporated in a moment of clarity. Sorry, fella. Don't you just hate it when that happens!
Today a widow receives her only son back from the darkness of death and with this miracle, she is saved from poverty and grief. So are we all saved from the same when Christ stops our funeral procession of our life separated from Him Who is the only True Life we can ever know.
Each week we want to introduce you to other writers who we have found so helpful and informative. This week one of our favorites - Fr. Alexis Trader Guilt fascinates people. Guilt in others arouses our curiosity. Guilt in ourselves prompts us to do something to assuage our guilty feelings. We all make mistakes that we could have avoided, mistakes that we feel responsible for, mistakes that have consequences that we regret. And our thoughts about those mistakes can take the form of guilt that in the best of scenarios includes an admission of wrongdoing, a feeling of responsibility, and desire to make some kind of amends. Yes, we are all interested in guilt, because it is intimately connected to our lives in one way or another. Read the rest here: http://ancientchristianwisdom.com/2014/10/17/guilt-and-forgiveness/
Truth be told all the great stories have already been written. Homer pretty much wrapped up all literature with the Iliad and the Odyssey. Of course, hero stories are replete throughout history. Even stories of virgin births and miraculous resurrections and gods becoming human are all stories told for centuries. Let's face it, if it's a good story, it's already out there.
Everybody knows that whoever possesses the Spear of Destiny, has ultimate power! Their armies can never be defeated and power will be theirs forever, as long as they have the Spear! You the Spear I'm talking about, don't you? This is the Spear that pierced the Lord's side at His crucifixion! Great Hollywood script material!
The headlines read like a series of horror stories to many. Ebola and other infectious diseases make the news and we wonder about our own health and safety. In fact, many hospitals around the country are preparing for a flood of people who think they have some grave disease because the flu season is upon us! War rages in the Middle East and a group calling itself The Islamic State is ethnically cleansing the Christians and other minority groups, even killing children because "they may grow up and seek revenge against us." Religious citizens in America are confronted with the reality that they are growing more and more the despised minority because of the society shifting away from traditional morals. Why even the city of Houston is considering passing an ordinance to inspect the sermons of churches in the city to make sure they don't violate the new "don't say anything that might make me feel bad" attitude in the country!
I've heard this all my life "God will provide." I remember hearing it when me and my brother and my mom were near poverty when I was young, and He did. I remember hearing it when I watched my family go through a shattering crisis, and He did. I remember hearing it again when I was terrified at the consequences of leaving the religious world of my youth, of leaving the stable income, retirement benefits, and health insurance for the unknown world of our Orthodox Church, and He did. In fact, I remember saying it to people in similar situations facing the scary moments when life offers up challenges. But is it a "good" saying?