Orthodoxy and beauty are inseparable
Orthodox Christianity attracted me from my very first encounter with the magnificence of its churches and the grandeur of her divine services. Having grown up amid the natural beauty of Northern Idaho, with mountains and lakes that could take our breath away, I’d previously found inspiration primarily in the world of nature.
Orthodoxy and beauty are inseparable because God and beauty are inseparable. The beauty of a sunset is a reflection of our Creator, just as is the interior of a temple reflects our experience with this Creator God. We humans were formed as physical beings, placed in a material world and invited to commune with our Creator. The majesty and beauty of the created world inspires us to an awareness of God’s presence.
Created in God’s image, we in turn become creators. A bouquet of flowers placed in our icon corner has an internal affect on us. The beauty that comes from the artist’s brush or the poet’s voice, is an act of a creator. Taking our creative instincts into the realm of the spiritual unites us with God and connects us to the eternal. This is why an artist or a poet can experience the eternal when creating something of beauty.
God is the Creator of heaven and earth and is present through His creative energies. The material world, being good, is an important means through which God expresses Himself. It is through God’s created beauty that we are drawn into a relationship that is meant to be eternal, and through which Divine Revelation can transform our nature. Then creation is completed and the created is united to the Creator.
Love in Christ,
Monday September 11, 2017 / August 29, 2017
15th Week after Pentecost. Tone five.
Fast. Food with Oil
The Beheading of the Glorious Prophet, Forerunner, and Baptist John.
Commemoration of orthodox soldiers killed on a battle fields.
Venerable Alexander, abbot of Voche, of Galich (16th c.).
New Martyr Anastasius of Bulgaria (1794).
St. Sebbi, king of the East Saxons (694) (Celtic & British).
Venerable Theodora, nun, of Thessalonica (892) (Greek).
Venerable Arcadius of Arsinoe, Cyprus, bishop and wonderworker (Greek).
Translation of the relics of Venerable Joseph the Sanctified of Samaka (Greek).
New Hieromartyr Peter, metropolitan of Krutitsa (1936).
Sts. Candida (418) and Gelasia (422) of Constantinople.
The Scripture Readings
John the Baptist Beheaded
14 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the report about Jesus 2 and said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead, and therefore these powers are at work in him.” 3 For Herod had laid hold of John and bound him, and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife. 4 Because John had said to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” 5 And although he wanted to put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet.
6 But when Herod’s birthday was celebrated, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herod. 7 Therefore he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask.
8 So she, having been prompted by her mother, said, “Give me John the Baptist’s head here on a platter.”
9 And the king was sorry; nevertheless, because of the oaths and because of those who sat with him, he commanded it to be given to her. 10 So he sent and had John beheaded in prison. 11 And his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought itto her mother. 12 Then his disciples came and took away the body and buried it, and went and told Jesus.
Feeding the Five Thousand
13 When Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself. But when the multitudes heard it, they followed Him on foot from the cities.
25 And as John was finishing his course, he said, ‘Who do you think I am? I am not He. But behold, there comes One after me, the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to loose.’
26 “Men and brethren, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to you the word of this salvation has been sent. 27 For those who dwell in Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they did not know Him, nor even the voices of the Prophets which are read every Sabbath, have fulfilled them in condemning Him. 28 And though they found no cause for death in Him, they asked Pilate that He should be put to death. 29 Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb. 30 But God raised Him from the dead. 31 He was seen for many days by those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are His witnesses to the people. 32 And we declare to you glad tidings—that promise which was made to the fathers.
John the Baptist Beheaded
14 Now King Herod heard of Him, for His name had become well known. And he said, “John the Baptist is risen from the dead, and therefore these powers are at work in him.”
15 Others said, “It is Elijah.”
And others said, “It is the Prophet, or[a] like one of the prophets.”
16 But when Herod heard, he said, “This is John, whom I beheaded; he has been raised from the dead!” 17 For Herod himself had sent and laid hold of John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife; for he had married her. 18 Because John had said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”
19 Therefore Herodias held it against him and wanted to kill him, but she could not; 20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just and holy man, and he protected him. And when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.
21 Then an opportune day came when Herod on his birthday gave a feast for his nobles, the high officers, and the chief men of Galilee. 22 And when Herodias’ daughter herself came in and danced, and pleased Herod and those who sat with him, the king said to the girl, “Ask me whatever you want, and I will give it to you.” 23 He also swore to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half my kingdom.”
24 So she went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask?”
And she said, “The head of John the Baptist!”
25 Immediately she came in with haste to the king and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.”
26 And the king was exceedingly sorry; yet, because of the oaths and because of those who sat with him, he did not want to refuse her. 27 Immediately the king sent an executioner and commanded his head to be brought. And he went and beheaded him in prison, 28 brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother. 29 When his disciples heard of it, they came and took away his corpse and laid it in a tomb.
Feeding the Five Thousand
30 Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught.