At the center of the gospel passage in Luke 17, about the ten lepers is the idea of thanksgiving. In the Old Testament Law, we see different kinds of sacrifices brought to the Tabernacle, and one of those is a thank-offering. The word “eucharist” means ‘thanksgiving’, and the connection between our thanksgiving/eucharist and the thank-offerings of the Old Testament is no mere coincidence. There is a direct connection.
Under the Law, there were also sin offerings: in a sense these are offerings that need to be given for the sin of the people. But a thank-offering is a free will offering, an offering to God out of our gratitude. And that is what we offer in the liturgy, as well.
But this extends beyond the Liturgy. Christ dwells among us, indeed he dwells in us, and our heart is his altar. The priest in the church offers sacrifices on behalf of all the people, but each of us are priests of the altar of our hearts.
Continue reading “The Ten Lepers and a Life of Thanksgiving”
So much of our society trains us to focus on ourselves, on our rights, and to judge others as respecters or offenders of those rights. This past weekend, in Bend, some alleged social media posts from the shooter who took the life of two innocents revealed this to the extreme. Remembering wrongs others commit against us and the lack of forgiveness is toxic. What we see in Christ’s Gospel is quite the opposite, not focused on the wrongs of others, but on our own spiritual state.
After the story of the man forgiven a massive debt, who turns around and requires someone else to repay him a much smaller debt, resulting in his re-judgment with the same harshness he used, the passage ends: So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.
So, we know what not to do. But what should we do? How should we act?
Continue reading “We Determine How Strictly We Are Judged”
In preparing the hymnography for the next couple days’ services to celebrate the Church New Year on September 1st, the prayers for God’s blessing on the beginning of this next year immediately took my mind to the accursed events this past weekend here in Bend. It is perfect timing to be asking for God’s blessing right now:
Here are two of the main hymns of this celebration:
O fashioner of all creation, who in thine authority hast appointed the times and seasons: bless thou the crown of the year with thy goodness, O Lord, preserving in peace thy rulers and cities, and save us through the prayers of the Mother of God.
Continue reading “Preserving in Peace Thy Rulers and Cities”
It is important that we pray, but hard to know what or how to pray, especially in such difficult circumstances. The following prayers are intended to give us a way to pray both for the peaceful repose of those who died, and also for those effected by this dreadful event. If you do not have access to this, you could also just pray the psalm by itself, or even more simply, the Jesus Prayer: Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
40-Day Prayer for the City of Bend
Through the prayers of our holy fathers, Lord Jesus Christ, our God, have mercy on us. Amen. Glory to thee, our God, glory to thee.
O heavenly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of truth, who art everywhere present and fillest all things, treasury of blessings, and giver of life: come and abide in us, and cleanse us from every impurity, and save our souls, O good one.
Continue reading “How to Pray after the Shooting in Bend”
Jesus rebuked even his own disciples: Why could we not cast him out? His answer: Because of your unbelief. If the Apostles were unbelievers, who is a believer? Yet, Christ does not cast them out or reject them, but rebukes them to their benefit, that they might be nourished and perfected.
Continue reading “We Need Only a Mustard-Seed-Sized Faith”