The black man and the Jew, are my brothers
The un-Christian rhetoric and violent actions demonstrated in Charlottesville, Virginia, have demonstrated clearly the tragic climate of moral decay that has overtaken our country. The ultra left and the ultra right committed horrendous violence against one another, a scene that is being replayed throughout the land. The Church, in all her God given authority, stands firmly in opposition to the racial hatred that is at the core of the “white supremacy and white nationalism” that has spewed out hatred of blacks and Jews. As Orthodox Christians, we believe that every human being is a child of God, created in His image and likeness, and therefore we are all brothers and sisters whatever our race, nationality or creed.
Jesus Christ rebuked his disciples when they suggested that he violently retaliate against his enemies. “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” (Luke 9:55-56). The Church offers to all, without exception or condemnation, the path to forgiveness and peace in Christ. All the while rejecting the hatred and violence that has appeared on all sides of the political spectrum.
The Orthodox Church is committed to a ministry of reconciliation, insisting that all her clergy and faithful hold fast to the Christian message of healing, salvation and love offered by Christ, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. She exhorts our clergy and faithful to reject any attempts by individuals or groups to claim for themselves the name of “Orthodox Christian” in order to promote racism, hatred, white supremacy, white nationalism or neo-Nazism. This is in keeping with the Holy Gospels, the decisions of the Holy Councils and the experience of the Saints.
There is also the subtle and corrosive behavior of the ultra left that is also destroying the moral and governmental foundations of western civilization (abortion, unabashed disrespect and violation of the rule of law, coercion of those who disagree through the vehicle of the social media, etc.)
Membership in the Church is not, nor has it ever been, restricted to those of a particular race or nationality. Quite the contrary, the Church has historically, and continues to this day, to welcome all in the multicultural and multi-ethnic context of North America. Saint Justin Martyr, writing at a time when Christians were persecuted in the second century, said, “We used to hate and destroy one another and refused to associate with people of another race or country. Now, because of Christ, we live together with such people and pray for our enemies.”
May that same spirit be ours today as well, that we, as Orthodox Christians, embrace our neighbors, be they black, asian, Native American, Islamic, or whatever, as our brothers and sisters. As Christians, me must recognizes that black lives matter, just as all lives matter, and commit to reaching out to everyone in the love of Christ, ever recalling the words, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28)”.
With love in Christ,
Saturday August 19, 2017 / August 6, 2017
11th Week after Pentecost. Tone one.
Dormition (Theotokos) Fast. Fish Allowed
The Holy Transfiguration of Our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ (Second “Feast of the Saviour” in August).
New Hieromartyrs Dimitry (Lyubimov), archbishop of Gdov (1938) and Priest Nicholas Prozorov (1930), priest Andrew (Zimin), priest Sergius (Tikhomirov), Domnik, Lidia and Mary (Zimins).
New Martyr Abbacum of Thessalonica (1628).
St. Theoctistus, bishop of Chernigov (1123).
The Scripture Readings
Jesus Transfigured on the Mount
28 Now it came to pass, about eight days after these sayings, that He took Peter, John, and James and went up on the mountain to pray. 29 As He prayed, the appearance of His face was altered, and His robe became white and glistening. 30 And behold, two men talked with Him, who were Moses and Elijah, 31 who appeared in glory and spoke of His decease which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. 32 But Peter and those with him were heavy with sleep; and when they were fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men who stood with Him. 33 Then it happened, as they were parting from Him, that Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”—not knowing what he said.
34 While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were fearful as they entered the cloud. 35 And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!” 36 When the voice had ceased, Jesus was found alone. But they kept quiet, and told no one in those days any of the things they had seen.
2 Peter 1:10-19
10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Peter’s Approaching Death
12 For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. 13 Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you, 14 knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me. 15 Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease.
The Trustworthy Prophetic Word
16 For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 17 For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” 18 And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.
19 And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts;
Jesus Transfigured on the Mount
17 Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; 2 and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. 3 And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. 4 Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
5 While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” 6 And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid. 7 But Jesus came and touched them and said, “Arise, and do not be afraid.” 8 When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.
9 Now as they came down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, “Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man is risen from the dead.”