Gives us some vital perspectives about an historic and theologically wise attitude towards death and, specifically, the Christian funeral. The truth is the Eastern Orthodox funeral service is one of the most profound services for Christian truth! Please don't say these six things at my funeral! Please Don't Say These Six Things at My Funeral
I love that movie! What, you don't know the movie "The Princess Bride?!" I weep for you! The whole quote is worth recalling: "Life is pain, Highness! Anyone who says differently is selling something."
The old saying is "blood is thicker than water" and it seems that every culture has some form of this saying to reinforce the idea that family comes first! One of the strongest memories that I have as a boy growing up is my own mother reminding me that my behavior reflects on her and how she did as a mother to me. Bringing shame on my mother through bad behavior was always seen as something to be avoided at all costs. Besides, she would remind me, you have a family name to live up to. Family comes first!
Our ladies group at our parish is putting together a recipe book as a fundraiser for their many ministries. So, one of the leaders approached me and asked "Father, would you like to include a recipe and a message in our cookbook?" Of course, I said "yes." I love to bake, so I included a recipe for the best sour cream biscuits I ever made, and a family holiday favorite of mine. But I remember the first time I baked these little tastes of heaven, I forgot to mix in the sour cream! Holy smokes, they were awful!
One of the greatest practical jokes ever played on me was when some friends actually hid my car from me while I was at work. As a teenage boy, my car was my ticket to freedom. It represented my passage from a child to a man! Besides, I looked really cool driving it around the mall parking lot with the windows down, hoping that pretty girl would notice!
Politics in the US has really devolved into the competing desires and power of different "groups." And it seems current political operatives are bound and determined to make sure every "American" is shuttled into one of several defined "groups" of competing "ideologies." The "rich" against the "poor"; this "race" against that "race"; this orientation against that orientation; and so on.
Today our Lord Jesus says He has found more faith in a Roman Centurion than in all Israel. He goes on to say that many “outsiders” will come to the Kingdom of God while those who were offered the Kingdom first will find themselves “outside” the Kingdom due to neglect of the Kingdom. Which are you?
This is a video shot at St. Sophia's Cathedral in Los Angeles. I had the honor of speaking at this beautiful parish and meeting the young man who hosts the church tour in this video. Noah is a fine example of just how our Orthodox faith is reaching out to all people with the beauty of the message of Orthodoxy. Enjoy the video, but also pass it on! [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_z9NS-ivYI]
Janice Joplin had a hit record after her death in 1971 called "Me and Bobby McGee" that had a line that said "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose." Kind of a depressing thought, but then again, the song is about the memory of a happier time and the lose of that time, so I guess that makes sense. The whole concept of freedom is at the heart of most of human history, the loss of it, the hunger for it, the celebration of it, or the suppression of it. The idea of "freedom" seems to be ingrained in the way we humans think.
"Uncle" Lawrence owned a farm, and when I was a boy, my brother and I would visit this magical place. It was the first time I'd seen how chickens were raised and eggs gathered and cows milked. But what fascinated me most was when I saw the mule being yoked to a plow. The animal, use to this task, simply accepted the yoke and went about his work. Life can feel like you are yoked to a plow sometimes. The daily routine, the expectations of others, the seemingly unending series of challenges life throws at us; all can pile on to us and overwhelm us. And what makes it even worse, if I'm going to be really honest with myself, I bring a lot of these burdens on myself because of shortsighted choices! That's what really makes the burdens of life feel even heavier!