Embracing Orthodoxy: The Mind and Heart of the Ancient Universal Church
In an age when many people think truth is relative, the knowledge that there is such a thing as absolute truth, is comforting. The freedom that comes with the knowledge that we are able to embrace teachings that are a continuation of an unbroken line dating back to Apostolic times, is liberating. As Orthodox Christians, we are not faced with the troubling task of interpreting the scriptures anew, or deciding moral and dogmatic teachings for ourselves, or trying to make our faith relevant for this age. Rather, we can immerse ourselves in the knowledge that we have embraced the Mind of the Ancient Universal Church.
We haven’t had to reinvent the Faith, because we have aligned ourselves with the Church that is both ancient, and relevant for the modern seeker. We know the Church’s teachings are not based on the finite mind, or the imagination of our own fallen nature, but the eternal truths that have endured from ancient of times.
It is comforting to know the Church has remained true to her inheritance for some two thousand years. It is liberating to know ancient Christian dogmas, ways of worship, and moral teachings, are guiding our lives, just as they have for two thousand years.
Truth is not relative, but is absolute. There is no greater freedom, than to be able to receive, as our own, the transcending truth that has made saints, from ancient times. There is no greater freedom than being able to embrace the absolute truth that has transcended time, space, culture, and race. No greater joy than to be counted as belonging to Christ, and having joined ourselves to the very Church He founded.
Love in Christ,
Photo: Vashon Island, as seen from the newly opened Dune Peninsula Park, in Tacoma, WA. This waterfront park sits on the site of what used to be Superfund wasteland. Crews moved 400,000 cubic yards of dirt and installed a woven geotextile cap over the land for safety. Decades in the making, this park offers unparalleled views of our island paradise. The park is called Dune, after the 1965 science fiction novel by the author Frank Herbert, a Tacoma native.
Wednesday July 10, 2019 / June 27, 2019
4th Week after Pentecost. Tone two.
Apostles’ (Peter & Paul) Fast. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)
Venerable Sampson the Hospitable of Constantinople (530).
St. Joanna the Myrrh-bearer (1st c.).
New Hieromartyr Priest Gregory Nikolsky of Kuban (1918).
New Hieromartyrs Alexander and Vladimir priests (1918).
New Hieromartyr Peter priest (1939).
Uncovering of the holy relics of Optina Elders: Ambrose, Leonid, Macarius, Anatole I, Anatole II, Barsanuphius, Hilarion (1998).
Venerable Serapion of Kozha Lake (1611).
Venerable Severus, presbyter of Interocrea in Italy (6th c.).
Venerable George of Mt. Athos and Georgia (1066) (Georgia).
Venerable Martin of Turov (1146).
Commemoration of the victory of the Russian Army of the Battle of Poltava on June 27, 1709.
Martyr Anectus of Caesarea in Cappadocia (304).
Hieromartyr Pierius, presbyter of Antioch (Greek).
St. Luke the hermit (Greek).
Matryrs Mark and Marcia (Greek).
Hieromartyr Kirion II, Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia (1918) (Georgia).
Hieromartyrs Crescens, Maximus, and Theonest, bishops of Mainz (Germany) (5th c.).
The Scripture Readings
2 God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, 3 “Lord, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life”? 4 But what does the divine response say to him? “I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 6 And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.
7 What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded. 8 Just as it is written:
“God has given them a spirit of stupor,
Eyes that they should not see
And ears that they should not hear,
To this very day.”
9 And David says:
“Let their table become a snare and a trap,
A stumbling block and a recompense to them.
10 Let their eyes be darkened, so that they do not see,
And bow down their back always.”
Israel’s Rejection Not Final
11 I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. 12 Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness!
Woe to the Impenitent Cities
20 Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent: 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you.”
Jesus Gives True Rest
25 At that time Jesus answered and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from thewise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. 26 Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.