God is a merciful God, quick to forgive, quick to show mercy, quick to embrace us when we turn to Him. In all of eternity our God chose to create humankind in His image and likeness, offering His creatures the opportunity to commune with Him in the endlessness that is time. He’s given us free will, allowing us to choose, or not to choose, a relationship with Him. We, in our freedom, can choose between good (God) and evil (Satan), as is our choice.
We can usually tell the difference between good and evil. Murder and theft are obviously to be found in the evil camp, whereas kindness, philanthropic deeds, mercy and love, are in the camp of holiness, and the divine. Yet so many feel that God is simply a myth, a nice idea, but hardly believable. If this God they’d like to believe in were truly real, wouldn’t He make it easier to see Him, and seek Him out? If we are free to chose God, why doesn’t He make Himself easier to find? Why does this God expect us to believe in Him when we can not see Him, or feel Him? If there be a God, why doesn’t He simply make Himself known, letting us choose or not choose communion with Him?
These are questions that many people pose, at least to themselves. Many want to believe there is a God who cares for them, and is capable of making a difference in their day to day struggles, but just can’t quite surrender to belief. The nihilistic philosophy that has possessed the hearts of many young people today is based on the despair of an age that has seen so many wars, so much poverty, so many murders, so many children abused, and a seemingly hopeless future. How can there be a God when so much suffering abounds in this world? How can there be a God when even innocent people, good people, suffer?
Where is God? He is in the sunrise. He is in the glorious mountains, and the vast sea that stretches beyond the horizon. He is in the tender touch of a mother’s hand on her newborn baby. He is in the protective arm of the police officer who comforts the lost child. He is in the words of absolution pronounced by the priest after a good confession. He is in the smiling face of an old woman at the site of a young couple holding hands. He is in the wonder of the cosmos on a darkened night. He is in the giggle of a small child playing with his grandfather. He is in the warmth of a kitten held in one’s hand. He is in the cross that bore the Son of Man. He is in the bread and wine that become His body and blood. He is the transforming Spirit that changes hearts and makes men saints. He is closer to us than our own breath, more loving than a grandmother’s embrace of a sick child. He is everywhere, for there is no place He can not be. He fills all things. He is everywhere to be seen if only we look with open eyes and open hearts.
With love in Christ,
Friday August 8, 2014
9th Week after Pentecost. Tone seven.
Fast. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)
Hieromartyrs Hermolaus (305), Hermippus, and Hermocrates at Nicomedia.
New Hieromartyr Sergius priest (1937).
Venerable Moses the Hungarian, of the Kiev Caves (1043).
Martyr Parasceve of Rome (138).
St. Iakov (Netsvetov) of Atka-Island and Ikogmute, mission priest to the Yup’ik on the Yukon River (1867).
Martyr Oriozela of Reuma in Byzantium (ca. 250) (Greek).
Venerable Ignatius, monk, of Mt. Stirion (Greek).
Virgin-martyr Jerusalem of Byzantium (Greek). /font>
Venerable Gerontius, founder of the Skete of St. Anne, Mt. Athos (13th c.) (Greek).
St. Sava III, archbishop of Serbia (1316) (Greek). 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
1 Corinthians 14:26-40
Order in Church Meetings
26How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. 27If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. 28But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God. 29Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. 30But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent. 31For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. 32And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. 33For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.
34Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says. 35And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church.
36Or did the word of God come originally from you? Or was it you only that it reached? 37If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord. 38But if anyone is ignorant, let him be ignorant.
39Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues. 40Let all things be done decently and in order.
Jesus Cleanses the Temple
12Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. 13And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’”
14Then the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them.