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Messages - J. Thomas Shelley

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31
Your Turn / Re: What the heck is Jan. 1 anyway?
« on: January 02, 2022, 10:52:19 PM »
Pastor Austin's reflection demonstratess that despite many centuries of change the old Roman Indiction of September 1, later adapted and adopted by the Byzantine Church as the beginning of the Ecclesiastical year still has some residual presence in the common consciousness; a presence which will continue so long as the concepts of "academic year" and "school year" remain.

32
Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: January 01, 2022, 11:29:39 PM »
In the Orthodox Church January 1, aka "New Year's Day" is the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ and St. Basil the Great.


Basil the Great was circumcised?  :o

I know you jest, nevertheless:

The Synaxarion is silent:

Quote

Saint Basil the Great was born about the end of the year 329 in Caesarea of Cappadocia, to a family renowned for their learning and holiness. His parents' names were Basil and Emily. His mother Emily (commemorated July 19) and his grandmother Macrina (Jan. 14) are Saints of the Church, together with all his brothers and sisters: Macrina, his elder sister (July 19), Gregory of Nyssa (Jan. 10), Peter of Sebastia (Jan. 9), and Naucratius. Basil studied in Constantnople under the sophist Libanius, then in Athens, where also he formed a friendship with the young Gregory, a fellow Cappadocian, later called "the Theologian." Through the good influence of his sister Macrina (see July 19), he chose to embrace the ascetical life, abandoning his worldly career. He visited the monks in Egypt, in Palestine, in Syria, and in Mesopotamia, and upon returning to Caesarea, he departed to a hermitage on the Iris River in Pontus, not far from Annesi, where his mother and his sister Macrina were already treading the path of the ascetical life; here he also wrote his ascetical homilies.


But given his disposition toward asceticism; his pedigree; and his ancestral home the burden of proof would lie with those who would argue against Basil having been circumcised.

33
Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: December 31, 2021, 09:45:59 AM »
In the Orthodox Church January 1, aka "New Year's Day" is the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ and St. Basil the Great.

It is not a Great Feast like Christmas or Theophany, but a Feast nonetheless and one of 10 times each year when the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil is served.

The local Antiochian parish will serve Orthros and Liturgy early this evening followed by a reception/fellowship meal; the first such social event since December 18 when they had a COVID scare caused by the parent of a child rehearsing for the Christmas pagent subsequently (later that day) experiencing symptoms and testing positive.

My Greek parish will serve Orthros and Liturgy on the morning of January 1.

Both parishes will use the special "Prayer behind the Ambon" that is offered only on January 1:

Quote

O Christ, our God, accept from those who call upon You with all their heart this spiritual sacrifice without the shedding of blood as a sacrifice of praise and true worship. You are the Lamb and Son of God who bears the sins of the world; the blameless calf who does not accept the yoke of sin and who freely sacrificed Yourself for us. You are broken but not divided. You are consumed but never spent. You sanctify those who partake of you.

In remembrance of Your voluntary passion and life-giving resurrection on the third day, You have made us partakers of Your ineffable and heavenly and awesome mysteries of Your holy Body and precious Blood. Preserve us, Your servants, those who minister, our leaders, the armed forces, and the people present here, in Your holiness. Grant that we may meditate upon Your righteousness at all times and in every season. Guide us and our actions so that we may do what is pleasing to You, and may You find us worthy to stand at Your right hand when You return to judge the living and the dead.

Deliver our brothers and sisters who are in captivity, visit those who are sick, protect those who are in danger at sea, and give rest to the souls of all those who have fallen asleep in the hope of the eternal life where the light of Your face shines. Hear the petitions of all those who beseech You for Your help. For You are the giver of all good things, and to You we give glory, together with Your eternal Father and Your all holy, good, and life giving Spirit, now and forever and to the ages of ages.


34
Your Turn / Re: ELCA Transgender Bishop in the News
« on: December 29, 2021, 10:21:10 PM »
I was born in 1961 in Green Bay.  I feel bad for the young people today, having to grow up in the current culture, and wish they could have the same sort of life we knew back then.  Two parent families were the general rule.  Father working outside the home, mother working in the home.  Supper together as a family.  Very little TV and NO video games or computers or internet -- so our entertainment was in the family and/or with the other kids in the neighborhood (and there were LOTS of them!).  Playing outside in the fresh air.  Children taught to respect and obey adults -- ANY father or mother was expected to be heeded by the kids in the neighborhood.  While there were few minorities in our community, we were taught that people are people and must be respected as such.  A common view of morality.  I knew nothing about drugs and very little about alcohol usage -- the first time I saw someone under the influence of alcohol was when I was 10 or 11.  No vulgarities on TV -- now it seems that kids grow up constantly exposed to sex and violence and bad language even during "prime time".  Church attendance was normal rather than exceptional.  Wednesday evenings and Saturdays and Sundays were reserved for church activities -- no school events or sports on those days.  Being a good citizen was admired and extolled  and expected.  Sure, there were exceptions. But they were just that: exceptions.  And they were explained by our parents, with why such things were problematic.

Just one year ahead of you; and yes, much the same. 

In the household where I grew up it was a law of the Medes and Persians that you voted on Tuesday (irrespective of the weather or whether you "felt" like it) and you went to Church on Sunday....with the same non-caveats.

My first conscious memory of church is that of being rocked in the "cradle room" by the mother-in-law of the man who is still my barber.

35
Your Turn / Re: ELCA Transgender Bishop in the News
« on: December 29, 2021, 08:40:08 PM »

Grandchildren Birthdays (last updated in December of 2021)

Jacob
Hans
Jewel
Rebekah
Magdeline
Hannah
Samuel
Paul
Katherine
Rolf
Andrew
James
David
John
Anastasia
Lena
Nadia
Severin
Christine
Jacob
Christian
Abraham
Søren
Idella
Elizabeth
Anne
Isaiah
Solveig
Noah
Martha
Sophia
John
Clara
Leif
Louisa
Kristiana
Andrew
Mary
Mark
Thomas
Elizabeth
Andreas
Job
Christopher
Robert
Kristin
Isaac
Heidi
Daniel
Eve
Abigail
Emily Ruth Preus (James and Theresa)         March 24, 2018
Sarah
Marian
Lars
Moses
Matthew
Joseph
Herman
Dorothy
Pricilla
Stephen
Madeline
Naomi
Anna
Cephas
David
Sonja
Lucy
Peter

And here I thought that one of my immigrant ancestors, Casper Glattfelder (emigrated 1743) was prolific with 55 grandchldren.

36
Your Turn / Re: Advent hymns and " in my heart" language.
« on: December 26, 2021, 08:48:39 PM »
The Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great is served but 10 times each year.

Tonight was the first such celebration since Holy Saturday which was nearly eight months ago.

In light of this discussion, the Priest's prayer during the Litany before the Lord's Prayer really jumped out at me:

Quote

Our God, the God who saves, You teach us justly to thank You for the good things which You have done
and still do for us. You are our God who has accepted these Gifts. Cleanse us from every defilement of flesh and spirit, and teach us how to live in holiness by Your fear, so that receiving the portion of Your holy Gifts with a clear conscience we may be united with the holy Body and Blood of Your Christ. Having received them worthily, may we have Christ dwelling in our hearts, and may we become the temple of Your Holy Spirit. Yes, our God, let none of us be guilty before these, Your awesome and heavenly Mysteries, nor be infirm in body and soul by partaking of them unworthily. But enable us, even up to our last breath, to receive a portion of Your holy Gifts worthily, as provision for eternal life and
as an acceptable defense at the awesome judgment seat of Your Christ. So that we also, together with all the saints who through the ages have pleased You, may become partakers of Your eternal good things, which You, Lord, have prepared for those who love You.

     

Theosis.  The theological matrices in Orthodox theology are not limited to the doctrine of justification; Luther and Lutherans since (this from my memory) have been desirous of initiating conversation with the Orthodox communions utilizing the Theosis as a touchpoint.

Dave Benke

Aye, but Theosis implies synergia; human cooperation with Divine grace.

Synergia has appeared to be the real stumbling block to dialog.

While all but the most works-phobic would acknowledge that the Theotokos is the paradigm of synergy; many more would relegate her to some sort of extraordinary "special case" not applicable to Christians in general.

But Dr. Luther himself wrote that "it is as impossible to separate works from faith as it is impossible to separate heat and light from fire"---the words which caused Fr. John Wesley to find his heart "strangely warmed".

37
Your Turn / Re: The Comites Christi days
« on: December 25, 2021, 06:08:09 PM »
As it did five years ago, the Synaxis of the Theotokos will fall on Sunday, the Sunday after Christmas.

The hymn quoted in my previous post is from the Orthros Kathisma and is a "repeat" from today's celebration of the Great Feast of the Nativity.  "In time I have brought forth a timeless Son":  A phrase so weighty that we who are time-bound need much of that fleeting commodity in order to begin to grasp the depth of Christ's condescention for our salvation.

The Oikos is even more profound:

Quote

By the ineffable will, born in the flesh is the fleshless One.
In body now circumscribed is the Uncircumscribed, immutably preserving both essences.
An origin receives He who in nature is unoriginate and alone transcends time.
As an infant is perceived He who transcends perfection.
Borne in arms is He who bears the universe.
Therefore as God, by His birth He crowns those who have the honor of being His kin;
 whom we glorify with faith, as we cry without ceasing,
 O Lord of mercy, save us who honor You


38
Your Turn / Re: Advent hymns and " in my heart" language.
« on: December 24, 2021, 10:15:39 PM »
The Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great is served but 10 times each year.

Tonight was the first such celebration since Holy Saturday which was nearly eight months ago.

In light of this discussion, the Priest's prayer during the Litany before the Lord's Prayer really jumped out at me:

Quote

Our God, the God who saves, You teach us justly to thank You for the good things which You have done
and still do for us. You are our God who has accepted these Gifts. Cleanse us from every defilement of flesh and spirit, and teach us how to live in holiness by Your fear, so that receiving the portion of Your holy Gifts with a clear conscience we may be united with the holy Body and Blood of Your Christ. Having received them worthily, may we have Christ dwelling in our hearts, and may we become the temple of Your Holy Spirit. Yes, our God, let none of us be guilty before these, Your awesome and heavenly Mysteries, nor be infirm in body and soul by partaking of them unworthily. But enable us, even up to our last breath, to receive a portion of Your holy Gifts worthily, as provision for eternal life and
as an acceptable defense at the awesome judgment seat of Your Christ. So that we also, together with all the saints who through the ages have pleased You, may become partakers of Your eternal good things, which You, Lord, have prepared for those who love You.

     

39
Your Turn / Re: Vesting
« on: December 24, 2021, 05:12:34 PM »

As for the summer heat, I have two responses. First, the service only last 50minutes. Bear it. Second, air conditioning.

Cotton or poplin for summer. 

Robert Gaspard Co has some tasteful ultra lightweight chasubles.

40
Your Turn / Re: Vesting
« on: December 24, 2021, 04:00:06 PM »
Teaching is key.

One Trinity Sunday when the First Lesson was the Shema passage from Deuteronomy my sermon consisted of "getting dressed" in front of the congregation; explaining the meaning of each piece and praying the appropriate Vesting Prayers, using both the Roman and Orthodox versions.

The springboard for me was the injunction "bind them as a sign upon your hand..."  from Deuteronomy, one of the many meanings of the maniple.


41
Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: December 24, 2021, 01:46:07 PM »
Very appropriate reading as we prepare to hear the evangelion to the shepherds of Bethlehem which begins "Fear not!"

https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2021/12/pandemania_and_the_psychology_of_fear.html

42
Your Turn / Re: Vesting
« on: December 24, 2021, 11:34:32 AM »
Vestments also take any attention away from the person and present the symbolism, colors, and the ceremonial aesthetic of the service. I have always felt that they also prepare me for what I am about to do, the sacramental nature of what I am about to do, and the office to which I have been called. Perhaps in secular terms, vestments serve the same purpose as a uniform on a cop or a formal coat and top hat on a doorman.

A good day to agree with Charles. A blessed Nativity!

Aye.

In my former life I vested with alb, stole, chasuble...and in the latter years, maniple for Eucharistic services.

For non-Eucharistic services: Cassock and surplice with tippet for the Hours, cope added for solemn Vespers.  Stole instead of tippet if I was preaching.

The Vesting Prayers of both the East and the West are wonderful reminders of the great spiritual meaning of each piece.  In ensemble, they are reminders of the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6) with the cincture as the girdle of truth, the stole as the sword of the spirit, the maniple as the shield of faith, and the chasuble as the breastplate of righteousness. 

43
Your Turn / Re: Advent hymns and " in my heart" language.
« on: December 23, 2021, 05:39:28 PM »
From the Nativity encyclical issued by Archbishop Elpidophoros of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America:

"Therefore, this Christmas, let us celebrate these gifts, together with all of the other spiritual gifts that we receive from our Heavenly Father. He sent His Only-Begotten Son to be with us – beginning in the Cave in Bethlehem, but continuing in the cave of every human heart."

https://www.goarch.org/-/message-christmas-2021-archbishop-elpidophoros
 

44
Your Turn / Re: Advent hymns and " in my heart" language.
« on: December 22, 2021, 12:52:38 PM »
That hymn, Richard, was in the SBH. A Christmas hymn.

We always sang it in Methodist Sunday School.

I never knew of that hymn until in my later teens while serving as Organist in a former EUB congregation.

45
Your Turn / Re: Advent hymns and " in my heart" language.
« on: December 22, 2021, 12:10:27 PM »
Popped up in my morning readings:
"But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”   So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.   Galatians 4:4-7


The passage is the appointed Epistle for the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom on the Feast of the Nativity.

The first Psalm verse of the First Antiphon for the Nativity also references the heart:

Quote

 I will give thanks to You, O Lord, with my whole heart;
I will tell of all Your wondrous things.


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