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October 08, 2006


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This reminds me of people who like to church-hop! They are looking for the perfect pastor and church and never seem to stay in any place for any length of time. Unfortunately, they will never find that place. My prayer is that people will connect with a church and call it their home and work together through the good and bad that happens and be supportive.

Lord forgive us for not always being supportive of Your church and not keeping our eyes focused on You. Help us Lord! In Jesus Name. Amen!

How do we recapture this spirit of looking out for our brothers and sisters, rather than rushing to judgement?

What does the rush to judgement say about our judging of our selves?



Hi Seraphim,

Thanks for posing both questions -- they're important ones. Slowing down, and choosing a more loving, grace-filled response seems like the thing Jesus would do. This should be our first aim. But should it be our only aim? That's where a topic such as this becomes difficult terrain to navigate. When does love move beyond always assuming the best (e.g. motives, intent, circumstances), and become willing to "sharpen", "motivate", "correct", or even "reprove"? At one level at least, it seems that even to suggest such things is to be chastised.

Any further thoughts?

During a particularly hard time in my marriage, as I was watching my husband nod off during sermon after sermon, I felt so inclined to pinch, nudge, and elbow him to listen. Feeling so inclined, I did. Acting like his Holy Spirit, I just knew this was his only hope to redeem our marriage difficulties. I was without grace, without full knowledge of the heart of God. Instead of kindness, I held onto self-piety. Love instead of never feels like it will work, but it does.

One of the guys who comes out to Freedom almost always falls asleep in the worship. We meet in livingrooms with nice comfy chairs, so that isn't too surprising. I couldn't help asking him about it one day and his response surprised me. He told me that those were the best sleeps he got! This is a guy with lots of kids, very little income and a chaotic household - the times they came out were some of the few times they would get a sitter. Far be it from me to deprive him of what he obviously needed - a safe place to sleep.

One of my homiletics professors told us a preacher should "give them inspiration or give them rest." That has comforted me on many occasions. :)

Great comments, everyone!

When I first read this particular quote, it reminded me of a mentor -- years ago -- who told me that often times, the most "spiritual" thing we can do is sleep.

Through the years, as I've gone away for personal prayer retreats, I've often either started with or included extra periods of sleep. I can't speak for others, but for me, it seems to sharpen the clarity and increase my ability to hear what God would say to me.

It may well be that the couple of people who frequently sleep during our worship services end up hearing God more clearly than most.

I used to get bugged by seeing my kids sleeping in church...til we started spending time at monasteries. The nuns told me that it is good that they feel comfortable in God's house. In a way thery are sleeping right in God's lap.

Now when the deacon is falling asleep during Fr.'s sermon....that's another story.....


"Now when the deacon is falling asleep during Fr.'s sermon....that's another story....."

LOL! You got that right!

Are there "hymnals" in the Orthodox Church that you could throw at a snoozing deacon?

No, but the service book we call "The Five Pounder," works quite well.....

Incidentally, the problem isn't nearly so bad since I got off midnights....... ;-)

But, thank God we have never had any service books thrown like THIS I read today:

In a village there served a priest who was constantly quarreling with the church reader. The reader had not finished seminary and thus he could not become a priest, so his dream was at least to be made a deacon. Unfortunately, he could not count on the support of the priest whom he hated and with whom he rudely quarreled. Once during service the priest and the reader quarreled over something; the priest raised his voice, the reader did not yield and answered with insulting words. The priest was enraged and tried to hit the reader with the incense burner. The latter threw several heavy books at the priest, until in the end they literally began fighting, to the great chagrin and temptation of the people. The rumor of the fight of the priest and the reader in God’s temple spread all over the village, and the case was reported to the bishop in the city as well. This bishop was a very wise man. He called the priest and the reader to himself to question them and find out who was to blame. He called the priest first and asked him:

- “Tell me how it all happened. Honestly confess the truth!”
- “I, holy Bishop, was serving in the church,” the scared priest began to justify himself, “and I told the reader to read more slowly, but he attacked me with insults, began to throw the church books at me, and even hit me with his fists. I grabbed the incense-burner to defend myself, but I did not do anything to him.”
- “So he is to blame?” asked the prelate.
- “Yes, holy Bishop, he is to blame!”
- “So he started the fight?”
- “Yes, Bishop, he started the fight.”
- “Then you are a martyr,” continued the prelate. “You poor man, how long you have put up with this spiteful reader, and you have never complained! This is what I have thought of to reward you with a compensation: tomorrow I will elevate you to the rank of archpriest. Do you hear, child, even tomorrow! Get ready!”

The priest was moved by the unexpected rum of the matter and said: “But, Bishop, I am not worthy to be an archpriest. I am guilty of the quarrels too, and, it seems, my guilt is greater than the reader’s. I started the quarrels!”

- “So, there is a conscience in you? Praise God, praise God!” rejoiced the prelate. “Then you fully deserve the rank of archpriest.

The priest, repenting, began to cry.

Then the bishop sent for the reader. The reader came in worried and saw that the priest was crying and that the prelate . did not stand grim and stern, but was smiling in a fatherly way.

- “What do you say? Who started the fight?” asked the prelate.
- “It was not me, but the priest!” said the frightened reader to justify himself.
- “The priest said the same, that he is to blame. That means that you are innocent. Because you endured innocently, like a martyr, the insults of the priest for such a long rime, I have decided to ordain you as a deacon tomorrow! Are you ready?”

The reader expected a punishment, but now he was being offered the deaconship that he had dreamed of for so long! Yet his soul was so disturbed! He felt so unprepared because of his quarrel with the priest. Suddenly, he fell at the feet of the bishop and said through his tears: “Holy Bishop, I am not worthy to be a deacon. I am more to blame than the priest.”

The bishop lifted him up from the ground and, embracing him, said: “It is today that you are most worthy, because you repent, just as the priest repented. That is why I will certainly make him an archpriest and you, a deacon. Make peace!”

The two recent enemies embraced and forgave each other with deep contrition. On the next day, during the Divine Service, the bishop rewarded both of them with clerical ranks and sent them to their village in peace.
They returned reconciled and joyful, to the wonder of the whole village. From that day they lived like true brothers and never quarreled again.

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