Becoming our home grown philanthropic selves
As any history buff knows, these times we are living in can sometimes seem like reruns. News reports are filled with stories of wars, disasters, dictators, attacks on the innocent, increased crime, and the ever present persecution of Christians in various parts of the world. We’ve witnessed the increased attacks against Coptic Christians in Egypt, as well as the expulsion of the entire Christian population from parts of Syria. Political unrest is happening in many parts of the world, and genocide is being perpetrated upon ethnic groups in parts of Africa. The number of families found homeless is nearing the percentages that were found in the Great Depression.
Times like ours call for us to become spiritually fit so that we can be beacons of light among those who have lost all hope. The challenges that face all of us are not for the faint of heart, yet the spiritually fit can triumph over anything, and we must continue trying to encourage this new generation of young people, and equip them for whatever may be coming.
We have before us many challenges, and hardships, and those who have developed a strong faith must be willing to sharing their faith based strength with those who are on the edge.
A study of history can show us that we are not the only people who’ve faced these problems, and we will not be the last. What is missing, it seems to me, is the sense of community, of a people who are united to find solutions, and not simply war with each other. The present political climate in the United States, with it’s polarization of good people, can not lead to the solutions we need to turn things around. What is needed is for people of faith to step forward and help those who have lost homes, jobs, and hope, and offer help in whatever way we can. Walling ourselves off from those who’ve fallen through the cracks will not make things better.
During times like these we must refocus our attention on the things that build up community. Rather than giving ourselves over to entertainment, or on-line friendships (which are not always bad), we can involve ourselves in active philanthropic activities, such as volunteering in soup kitchens, tutoring homeless kids, manning childcare centers that help parents have the freedom to find jobs, or perhaps volunteer to be job counselors. We can look in on the elderly lady living next door, or the young mother whose husband is serving in the military. We can join others who serve Meals on Wheels programs that make sure the elderly and shut-ins eat balanced and nutritious meals.
We can volunteer to teach English as a second language to immigrant families, or drive seniors to doctor appointments. We can fill the gas tank of a struggling family at the next pump, or pay for the groceries for the single mother standing behind us in the checkout line.
When seeing someone on the bus that is looking lost in worry, we can offer to pray for them, or even invite them to church with us on Sunday. We can purchase a few extra hamburgers, with the intention of giving them to the homeless people asking for spare change at the entrance to the fast food restaurant. We can offer to sit with a sick relative or neighbor, and let the caregiver have a few hours to get outside for some much needed leisure time. We an offer to take a neighbor out to lunch, who we know is going through some difficult times. We can buy a fistful of McDonald’s coupons, and give them to anyone who asks for a handout. The coupons are not that expensive, the person gets several meals out of them, and when you’re desperate for a meal, it’s a real treat. As we hand the person the coupons we can ask them to pray for us, so they are able to preserve their dignity, and feel less like a beggar.
Whatever struggles we have on our plate will seem like nothing, once we’ve given ourselves over in service to others. Even when we are struggling to make ends meet, the power of giving can change our life for the better. By becoming philanthropists, and focusing on others in need, our own problems will seem less serious. We can even rally fellow parishioners or neighborhood friends who feel the same way, and start a project together, and thus help a lot of people in need.
With love in Christ,
Photo: This was taken on one of my favorite hikes, around Fisher Pond on Vashon Island.
Wednesday March 7, 2018 / February 22, 2018
Third Week of the Great Lent. Tone six.
Great Lent. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)
Uncovering of the relics of the Holy Martyrs at the gate of Eugenius at Constantinople (395-423).
New Hieromartyr Priest Michael Lisitsyn of Ust-Labinskaya, Russia (1918).
New Martyrs Joseph Smirnov protoierey, John Kastorsky deacon, Vladimir Ilinsky priest. John Perebaskin (1918).
New Martyr Theoktista Michailovna, fool-for-Christ of Voronezh (1936).
New Hieromartyrs Michael, John, Victor, John, Sergius, Andrew priests, New Hieromartyr Sergius and Antipa, Virgin-martyr Parasceva, Martyr Stephen, Virgin-martyrs Elizabeth, Irina and Barbara (1938).
Martyr Andrew (1941).
New Hieromartyr Philaret (1942).
Martyrs Maurice and his son Photinus, and Martyrs Theodore, Philip, and 70 soldiers, at Apamea in Syria (305).
Venerables Thalassius, Limnaeus, and Baradates, hermits of Syria (5th c.).
Venerable Athanasius the Confessor of Constantinople (826).
St. Telesphorus, pope of Rome (127).
St. Papius of Hierapolis (2nd c.).
Venerable Peter the Stylite of Mt. Athos (Greek).
St. Abilius, patriarch of Alexandria (98).
St. Titus, bishop of Bostra in Arabia (378).
Holy Nine Children of Kola: Guarami, Adarnasi, Bakari, Vache, Bardzini, Dachi, Djuansheri, Ramazi, and Parsmani (6th c.) (Georgia).
St. Leontius of Lycia (6th c.).
Sts. Babylus and his wife Comnita of Nicosa (7th c.).
Martyr Anthusa and her 12 servans (Greek).
St. Blaise, bishop (Greek).
The Scripture Readings
12 Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Lord has performed all His work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, that He will say, “I will punish the fruit of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his haughty looks.”
13 For he says:
“By the strength of my hand I have done it,
And by my wisdom, for I am prudent;
Also I have removed the boundaries of the people,
And have robbed their treasuries;
So I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man.
14 My hand has found like a nest the riches of the people,
And as one gathers eggs that are left,
I have gathered all the earth;
And there was no one who moved his wing,
Nor opened his mouth with even a peep.”
15 Shall the ax boast itself against him who chops with it?
Or shall the saw exalt itself against him who saws with it?
As if a rod could wield itself against those who lift it up,
Or as if a staff could lift up, as if it were not wood!
16 Therefore the Lord, the Lord[a] of hosts,
Will send leanness among his fat ones;
And under his glory
He will kindle a burning
Like the burning of a fire.
17 So the Light of Israel will be for a fire,
And his Holy One for a flame;
It will burn and devour
His thorns and his briers in one day.
18 And it will consume the glory of his forest and of his fruitful field,
Both soul and body;
And they will be as when a sick man wastes away.
19 Then the rest of the trees of his forest
Will be so few in number
That a child may write them.
The Returning Remnant of Israel
20 And it shall come to pass in that day
That the remnant of Israel,
And such as have escaped of the house of Jacob,
Will never again depend on him who defeated them,
But will depend on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.
6 Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters were on the earth.
7 So Noah, with his sons, his wife, and his sons’ wives, went into the ark because of the waters of the flood. 8 Of clean animals, of animals that are unclean, of birds, and of everything that creeps on the earth, 9 two by two they went into the ark to Noah, male and female, as God had commanded Noah.
12 If you are wise, you are wise for yourself,
And if you scoff, you will bear it alone.”
The Way of Folly
13 A foolish woman is clamorous;
She is simple, and knows nothing.
14 For she sits at the door of her house,
On a seat by the highest places of the city,
15 To call to those who pass by,
Who go straight on their way:
16 “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here”;
And as for him who lacks understanding, she says to him,
17 “Stolen water is sweet,
And bread eaten in secret is pleasant.”
18 But he does not know that the dead are there,
That her guests are in the depths of hell.