Orthodoxy is all about community. The fierce individualism found in much of what claims to be Christianity is in opposition to the Orthodox understanding of faith. The Church as the Body of Christ is where we are united in Christ, becoming part of community. The ancient Greek word Ecclesia literally means to be called into authentic community.
It is within the Church that our personal transformation is intimately connected with the interaction we have with others, and runs side by side with our fellow believers. Ecclesia in modern usage refers to the Church and her role as a spiritual hospital, a place wherein we receive the healing that comes from Christ.
This truth is demonstrated by the fact that we are called by the scriptures to be at peace with our brethren before receiving the Holy Mysteries. We are asked to forgive others as we would be forgiven. We are even called upon by Christ to love our enemies.
Our Christian faith cannot be lived in a vacuum. Our personal transformation requires working out our salvation within community. Even the confession of our sins takes place within this community, for each time we sin, we sin against the whole of the Body of Christ.
Love in Christ,
Tuesday May 27, 2014
Sixth Week of Pascha. Tone five.
Martyr Isidore of Chios (251).
St. Isidore, fool-for-Christ, wonderworker of Rostov (1474).
New Hieromartyr Peter priest (1939).
Venerable Nicetas, bishop of Novgorod and recluse of the Kiev Caves (1108).
Martyr Maximus, under Decius (250).
Venerable Serapion the Sindonite, monk, of Egypt (542).
St. Leontius, patriarch of Jerusalem (1175).
Trebensk (1654) and Yaroslavl (Pechersk) Icons of the Mother of God (1823).
New Martyr John-Raiko of Shumena, Bulgaria (1802)) (Greek).
New Martyr Mark of Crete, at Smyrna (1643) (Greek).
First opening of the relics (1846) of St. Tikhon of Zadonsk (1783).
St. Aprunculus, bishop of Clermont in Gaul (Gaul).
Sts. Alexander, Barbarus, and Acolythus, martyred at the Church of Holy Peace by the Sea in Constantinople (Greek).
St. Andrew, abbot of Raphael (Tobolsk) (1820).You can read the life of the saint by clicking on the highlighted name.
The Scripture Readings for the Day
19And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new doctrine is of which you speak? 20For you are bringing some strange things to our ears. Therefore we want to know what these things mean.” 21For all the Athenians and the foreigners who were there spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing.
Addressing the Areopagus
22Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; 23for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription:
TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.
Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: 24“God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. 25Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. 26And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, 27so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’
19The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, “You see that you are accomplishing nothing. Look, the world has gone after Him!”
The Fruitful Grain of Wheat
20Now there were certain Greeks among those who came up to worship at the feast. 21Then they came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him, saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”
22Philip came and told Andrew, and in turn Andrew and Philip told Jesus.
23But Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. 24Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. 25He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.
Jesus Predicts His Death on the Cross
27“Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. 28Father, glorify Your name.”
Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.”
29Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to Him.”
30Jesus answered and said, “This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake. 31Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. 32And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” 33This He said, signifying by what death He would die.
34The people answered Him, “We have heard from the law that the Christ remains forever; and how can You say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this Son of Man?”
35Then Jesus said to them, “A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going. 36While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” These things Jesus spoke, and departed, and was hidden from them.