For something the Orthodox Christian uses every day, the choice of prayer book can make a big difference. I have been using the St. Tikhon Monastery Press Orthodox Christian Prayers prayer book for quite a while now, and will share some thoughts on it, so you can make a more educated decision when trying to choose a prayer book for yourself.
Initially, I would like to share some of the features of this prayer book for those who wonder if they should order one and do not have a chance to pick one up and thumb through it, but then eventually, I would also like to share some of my little “hacks” for the book: things like marking tones to aid in singing and how I use some of the information included here that most prayer books do not have.
Continue reading “What Prayer Book to Buy”
If any of us were asked to define it, we likely would not give a very biblical answer…or a very Christian answer. And by “Christian” I mean, defining it as Christ does in the words of the Gospel reading this Sunday.
Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
Knowing God is eternal life. If eternal life were just living forever, as a matter of length of time, then those in hell, those in punishment, those outside of the grace of God, also have eternal life. That is forever, too, but obviously not what Christ means by “eternal life”. Eternal life is not about length of time.
Continue reading “What Is Eternal Life”
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”