The great divide between the secular state and the Christian faith has grown substantially during my lifetime. Gone are the days when our nation was based on Christian values and where religion played an important role the public life of this country. The notion that we must separate Church and State has gained such momentum as to have emboldened Christianophobia. It was never the intent of the Founding Fathers for religion to be kept quiet and forced into the back streets of our nations political life. Rather, they simply intended that no one religion would gain the status of a State Church.
We are seeing increasing attacks by avowed atheists, bent on ending the public display of Christian symbols. Books being written by atheists, along with public mocking of the beliefs of Christians as being myths, has become more and more militant. The atheists have turned their radical beliefs into a form of religious bigotry. In their attacks on Christians, they’ve turned atheism into a militant form of religion, with the demand that it become a sort of state church, not unlike that which happened during the militant atheism of the Soviet Union.
The response of Christians can not be to simply surrender, for this is truly a wholesale assault on Christianity. We will not tolerate attacks on Judaism or Islam, yet our government and judicial institutions are allowing slanderous attacks on the beliefs of millions of Christians. This will continue until we Christians decide enough is enough. We must stand firm in our witness to Christ, and take hold of our constitutional right for free expression of our faith, including the right to bear witness in the public square.
If our nation is to justly care for her poor and disenfranchised, Christians must be allowed to continue to influence our governmental and legal institutions in the light of the teachings of Christ. The separation of religion from the public square is breeding defeat, and undermining the very values that have made our nation strong. As a people, we must put aside our focus on consumption and personal comfort. We must put an end to the selfish me-first hedonism that has become the norm, and reclaim the moral and biblical values that have made our country great.
Part of the problem stems from the fact that much of American protestant Christianity has itself become secularized. In an attempt to become more relevant in today’s culture, many of them have lost the leaven that transforms lives and makes a difference in how the greater culture around us sees religion. We’ve lost our way as a nation because the majority of our denominations have lost the pure essence of Christianity.
While this has happened, American Orthodoxy has been caught up in trying to preserve ethnically centered communities. We’ve failed to reach out with the same power and authority that drove our forefathers in the faith. Satisfied with doing the services correctly, and meeting the social and religious needs of our people, we’ve forsaken our duty to the greater culture around us. We’ve betrayed our biblical calling to transform the society around us with the leaven that resides within the Church. We’ve failed to reach out to the society around us, and infuse the American culture with the transformational power of the Orthodox Church. Focusing on the preservation of our ethnic enclaves, we’ve betrayed the dynamic faith that once infused whole nations, such as Greece and Russia, with an Orthodox culture that brought healing to pagan lands, and the Light of Christ to people previously lost.
With love in Christ,
Tuesday June 3, 2014
Afterfeast of the Ascension. Tone six.
The Meeting of the “Vladimir” Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos (was established to commemorate the deliverance of Moscow from an invasion of Tatars led by Khan Makhmet-Girei in 1521).
Holy Equals-to-the-Apostles Emperor Constantine (337) and Helen, his mother (327).
St. Constantine (1205) and his children Sts. Michael and Theodore, wonderworkers of Murom.
Uncovering of the relics of Blessed Andrew of Symbiksk (1998).
Venerable Cassian the Greek, monk, of Uglich (1504).
Synaxis of Hieromartyrs of Kerel.
Synaxis of Hieromartyrs of Ufa.
Honour list of Icon of the Mother of God “Virgin of Tenderness” from Pskov-Pechersk (1524), Zaonikievsky (1588), Krasnogorsk, or Chernogorsk (1603), Oransk (1634).
Venerable Agapitus, abbot of Markushev (Vologda) (1578).
St. Basil, bishop of Ryazan (1295).
St. Hospicius of Trier (Gaul).
New Martyr Pachomius of Patmos (Mt. Athos) (1730) (Greek).
Hieromartyr Secundus and those with him in Alexandria (356).
St. Cyril, bishop of Rostov (1262).
St. Helen of Dechani, Serbia (1350).
You can read the life of the saint by clicking on the highlighted name.
“Blogs and social networks give us new opportunities for the Christian mission…Not to be present there means to display our helplessness and lack of care for the salvation of our brothers.” His Holiness Patriarch Kirill
The Scripture Readings for the Day
Arrested in the Temple
26Then Paul took the men, and the next day, having been purified with them, entered the temple to announce the expiration of the days of purification, at which time an offering should be made for each one of them.
27Now when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews from Asia, seeing him in the temple, stirred up the whole crowd and laid hands on him, 28crying out, “Men of Israel, help! This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against the people, the law, and this place; and furthermore he also brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place.” 29(For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian with him in the city, whom they supposed that Paul had brought into the temple.)
30And all the city was disturbed; and the people ran together, seized Paul, and dragged him out of the temple; and immediately the doors were shut. 31Now as they were seeking to kill him, news came to the commander of the garrison that all Jerusalem was in an uproar. 32He immediately took soldiers and centurions, and ran down to them. And when they saw the commander and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul.
2They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. 3And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. 4But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them.
And these things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you.
The Work of the Holy Spirit
5“But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ 6But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. 8And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
12“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.