Today’s Guest blog comes from Fr. Stephen Freeman:
Among the many losses within modern Christianity has been the place of transformation. Nineteenth century revival movements and theology emphasized a single experience that was associated with salvation. Those who concerned themselves with what came later, described growth in the Christian life as “sanctification,” and tended to imply that it was optional. Contemporary Christians have settled for a spiritual life in a plain brown wrapper ever since.
Read the rest here – https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/glory2godforallthings/2014/09/13/christianity-in-a-plain-brown-wrapper/
I am always amazed at my own blindness to what I say I believe when my life is flooded with fear. I don’t just talk about this in the “big problems” of my life. That’s too easy to see. No, I’m talking about those everyday challenges that flood my moments with a hypocrisy that really shocks me about myself.
Most of the time I feel pressed for time. A confession – I am addicted to saying “yes” to offers, invitations, and projects! I do this so often that my wife has to remind me that, as of now, I do not have the gift of bi-location! Because of this addiction, I frequently find myself stressed over deadlines, commitments, and projects yet to be completed. And, when I’m tempted with impatience (as I often am) I have to remind myself in repentance that most of this stress is self induced!
Why does the Church offer us the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross? Because the Christian faith is about dealing with reality and having our all too easy temptations to delusions and the fantasy of what I’m afraid of or what I wish for blind us to the reality God wants us to embrace! Waking up is hard, but it has to be done!
I have a fun refrain with my girls. It started some time ago. In a teasing manner, I would yell “REPENT!”and their little voices would respond “and believe the Gospel!” So, to this day I will sometimes yell “REPENT”and here comes that response…
Ah, the exclusive humor of being a preacher’s kid! I may need your help paying the therapy bills for these kids!
My daughters and I have this little game we play. I ask them “How much do you love me?” And they, giggling and smiling, try to stretch their little arms as wide as they can and say “This much, daddy!” Of course then they ask me how much I love them and I make as big a show as I can to stretch my arms as wide as I can and say “This much, baby girl!” And then we all start trying to compete and see who can stretch their arms wider! It all ends with much stretching, laughing, and smiles! It’s a fun game.
There is a joy in recalling those moments in life when something was told to you, or some example was given to you, or something happened to you to “turn the light on” in your heart or mind. One such instance came when our merry band of spiritual seekers were working our way to the Orthodox Church.
We were blessed to have some teachers who had traveled a similar path
Just in case you missed it, here’s the first Faith Encouraged Live show!
The Spiritual Discipline of Hospitality flows from the truth that we are created in God’s image and He knows Himself as Persons in Communion. Turns out we will only know our true selves in communion too!
Today we celebrate the destruction of mortality by holding high the vehicle if our Lord’s execution. We do this to make an open spectacle of His total victory over humanity’s enemies Forever! We do this also to completely BANISH the FALSE notion that our lives can be compartmentalized into the physical and the spiritual. Jesus saves us as whole persons. Our Orthodox faith is very physical to teach us that our very…