See Grandma, my eyes are really dark blue....not big brown ones like daddy

See Grandma, my eyes are really dark blue....not big brown ones like daddy

Ryan and friend

Ryan and friend
Mommy, Daddy, I'm saying Hi to Grandma?

This one is for you, Grandma!


soccer with determination and no airplane distractions

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Believe in Christ and pass into LIFE

We hear that Camping was wrong, and now says it was spiritual and not a physical change -- that the end is still at hand, in October. The problem is he gives a date...No such animal, sorry. No one knows when Christ will return with a shout and glory. If I recall correctly, we have been living that "end-time promise" since Christ left, saying He would return, at the time of His Ascension.

The coming of Jesus into the world brought Judgement. (John 9:39) "For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind." Commentary says "The brilliance of Christ's light becomes illumination to some, but a blinding glare to others." (Remember why He was crucified. Those who heard and saw, but did not receive the message of Christ as the Son of God).

We are told in scripture, John 5:24 "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life."

Christ, at the end of days, will come in His glory as Judge of the world, and we call that the "Second Coming" and have been waiting with vigilance. This is not new Mr. Camping. We believe that the dead in their graves will hear His voice, and the Son of Man who has the authority to "execute judgment" will hear His voice and come forth. Those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.

John 5:21 "For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will"

In the end, it is not our choice, but His. And, if we follow Him, as we do have the ability to choose to love Him, and to serve Him by our "free will," actions and work, it really is up to God, not us. His will not ours. Some boast of "their acceptance" of God as their personal savior. It is not that simple, as a one time action that will decide salvation for you. The bible clearly says that you must be baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And, imitate and become Christ-like, in our actions toward our neighbor, doing good works. Remember, even the evil spirits knew who He was. No, it is not by our "faith' alone that we will gain the Kingdom of heaven. We at hearing, believing and following Christ, illuminated, must become new creatures, not of the darkness but of the light. Christ in us....And

We can only pray for God's mercy.

All scripture references and commentary, are taken from the Orthodox Study Bible.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Laughing All the Way to the Bank

Our little inventor of the Rapture, got one over on us to the tune of umpteen dollars, and despite the fact that many children were affected by this little white lie, he fared out pretty well, I'd say.

People, who may have gotten burnt by the last horrific tale should have learned from this experience. So many were deluded. What will it be next time? Never mind, that's not important, just raking in the loot and the laugh he got at other's expense, was probably his objective.

I guarantee, if there were a rapture, and there will never be one with other's left behind, he would miss the boat.

Where do you go from here? Since you didn't learn from your mistakes, you'll probably make it again. Somehow, you just have to hold on to the fantasy, and would rather listen to a Johnny-come-lately that does not have the slightest idea of how to "read" the bible, misinterpreting it for his own gain, than a reliable source.

Why not just find a church that is apostolic and can be traced back without change, that has passed the faith down, whole and spotless from the beginning. You can trust that they know what they are talking about. They "are" out there.

But, not in the way he is out there....If you get what I mean.

In the end, you have to ask yourself, why would God trust a secret to an ordinary man, (a nobody), when His Son, when asked, didn't even know? Isn't it enough to know that Jesus will come again and be prepared for His coming? We must keep a vigilant watch, for we do not know when. The bible does talk about that. Now for those of you wh0 are unconvinced of this hoax, show me where the word Rapture appears....I'm waiting!

Friday, May 20, 2011


Didn't know what I would entitle this post until I listened to "One Day More" from (Les Miserables) available at which came from a friend from NY this morning.

Thanks Steve, it is perfect. If you listen to the song, what can be considered a "joyful event" to some, would be horrific to others. You see, while some would be taken, those remaining would suffer a terrible loss. (I'm glad that the rapture is not one of the beliefs that I hold.) Losing those I love would be unbearable and unthinkable, in my selfishness, I can't let them go. My God is a loving God, yet another reason to hold this belief to be, "insane".

There are other factors to consider such as; timing. The way the world is we are never on the same schedule time wise, so how can one be so precise. The bible says that Jesus is the same today, yesterday and tomorrow--there is no such thing as time with Him, it is man-made.
I have read several accounts, some say 6 P.M. some 6 A.M., What! Can no one get the story right?

Then, of course are the ridiculous pictures of people floating into the air. These are living people. Are they to go through metamorphosis in the air? Certainly at some point there would be no oxygen. And where are they going? Astronauts haven't seen anything, any place as yet. I don't think there is enough suntan lotion to prevent burning up. What kind of delivery is that in the first place. There is no pie in the sky either, what will they eat. No bathrooms, I'm not going, willingly at least. What of those who are fearful of heights. We can joke all we want, but in thinking this entire thing over, it is truly irrational.

Timing or place a time that is , is a problem. Some have claimed that Jesus is already here. If you believe that, there is little hope for you. The bible is clear on how Jesus left, from where he left, and how he is to come back. The reason He will come back, and what will transpire after His return.

No, it will not be in a spaceship as some have suggested. We are told in (Rev. 1:7 ) "Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so. Amen" After reading that, how can anyone think that He has already come back? His coming back is expected, has been expected even since He left, and will be no secret. Further, coming with clouds. There will be cosmic signs. (Luke 21:25) "And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; (26) "men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken." (27) "Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory."
The bible does not talk about rapture, and neither the Early Church...doesn't that strike you as odd?

Luke tells us when and how we are to be ready. (Luke 21:34) "But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. (Unexpectedly, means unexpectedly! We will get no warning, thank you very much, whoever started this false rumor).

Matthew gives us a little more information in saying: (Matt 24:29)"Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and power of the heavens will be shaken. (30) "then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."

Mark concurs that the Son of Man will follow the tribulation. (see Mark 13:24)

Yes, there a time for sorrow, like the birth pangs, an image taken from childbearing and the crisis associated at the consummation of the Kingdom. But, let no one deceive you, only God knows when He will make His descent. We are to expect the return of Christ, in this generation, and await with vigilance in the face of the unpredictable time of His return.

Act offers the following: (Acts 1:9) "Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight." (11)two men in white said: "Why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him Go into heaven."

We must prepare ourselves....There is but one Kingdom, the Kingdom that is here now within, and to be fully revealed when He comes. We are not called to be looking up or to be sitting idly by, but, are called to be vigilant in imitating Jesus' example of greatness, consisting in humble service to others. On this will we be judged--not in faith alone, but in deeds. There are many opportunities out there, so why are you wasting your precious time? Do something to help someone else. Give until it hurts and find your place where you belong, in Church would be a good start. Just saying!!! We are not even promised this afternoon for that matter.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Scoop from the Community Meal

Tonight's topic was reflective of the impending prediction of the coming Rapture, on Saturday. I told most of the people that I spoke with that if they were still here on Sunday morning, they were invited to attend Liturgy at 10:00. In other words, I told them as we do not believe if the Rapture theory, we would be around.

Surprisingly, some people were unaware of the prediction and for some they had heard about it yet it did not make an impression on them. Other's found the statement quite funny. One man, was sure God talked to him and he knew when the end of the world was coming. No you don't, I thought but didn't say out loud, no one does.

One lady told me as she was enjoying the Lazy Lasagna Dinner, that she was a school teacher, and that the children were asking her, "Is the end of the world coming?" She said they were quite concerned. One has to be very careful about what is being said in front of little children.

One guy said he believed in the Rapture as well as his church did. So, I repeated to him that if he was still around on Sunday, he is invited to Liturgy at ten.

I have during the week, written several posts on the subject, showing why we believe the theory of Rapture is not biblical. That is the only source that you can put your trust in. Like the children in school, many are feeling a bit uneasy.

Tomorrow is Friday and as we prepare for the weekend ahead, I thought I'd add a few more reasons why I believe we'll be here on Sunday. Look for that post tomorrow.

Being Churched

The pastor of our church wrote an interesting article about, well you can see it for yourself, if you go here.

My friend, who had cancer and has passed away had only one prayer and that was for her daughter. She wanted to live long enough to see that she was "churched." Her prayer was granted. Recovering from the first episode of cancer, she lived long enough to achieve that goal.

It is true that outward signs do not give us the faith we as Christians possess, and it is true that if you took them all away, we would still be Christ bearers, as He lives within us.

Raised as a child of the sixties, I saw the absurdity of gathering wealth in structured buildings, while people were hungry and needy. Church is far more responsible for the well-being of our neighbor. We are called to the ministry of feeding and responding to the needs of those who have little or none. I often spoke of this to my grandmother, saying it isn't the size and majestic dwelling of the church that mattered. Well this year, that majestic church almost closed, due to lack of participants. The faith of some has dwindled in this area as church attendance has been on the decline. Unfortunately, some churches were taken away, and some have left, joining churches in other area towns. Faith cannot be found in materialism. Disputes arose as to who gets what and where will the money (thinking it theirs) go. It should have never been about a building in the first place, but for the good of the church itself, the continuation of the faithful.

My view has always been, do not break the backs of people with grandeur of a place. The focus must always be on the worship. Having the best organ, and marble around, you saw where that got them. God does not want your money, He wants your heart. He wants you to care for His creations and to live in peace with yourself and your neighbor.

Growing up then, meant you and your friends shared a common belief, and could celebrate it together, openly without concern of offending other's who had a different belief system. As a child, one of my favorite memories was to visit the creche, nativity scene that was an outdoor scene, with live animals. This was a Christian town and we all were faith filled, putting God first and not activities, such as is the case today, as some put little importance on "God first".

Going to church I heard the Gospel message and was filled with the faith that comes first by hearing the Word of God. Many of my relatives who came from communist countries, had no faith to share with the family, as they did not believe, and were not baptized, and that is where it all begins.

Those that believe that faith can be snuffed out by closing churches, or not allowing the symbols of the faith, given to us by our for fathers are deluded. Christ is the head of our church, and our faith is within us, and it is commanded and taught by Christ in (Matthew 28:19-20) "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.

One of my favorite passages to date, is when Jesus, speaking to Peter says the following found in (Matthew 16:18) "On this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it."

The true rock and foundation is Christ, not Peter, but to the confession of Peter and his faith is the promise that the gates of Hades is overcome and Christ is Risen, and death is no more.

This is the promise that we need to receive, treasure and share with the world, that in having faith in Him, we too can live now and forever. Your treasure is within.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

144,000 and the May 21st disConnection

Now about the number 144,000, a curious number indeed. How does this number fit in with the May 21st account of rapture, (which will not happen) and is a debunked theory.

The following is from the Book The Apocalypse, In the Teachings of Ancient Christianity written by: Archbishop Averky Taushev & Father Seraphim Rose.

Rev. 7:4-8 "And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed a hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. Of the tribe of Judah were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nepthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand."

Commentary: "This sealing will be with the Israelites, who before the end of the world will be converted to Christ, as St. Paul predicts (Rom. 9:27; 11:26). In each of the twelve tribes there will be twelve thousand sealed, and 144 thousand in all. Of these tribes only the tribe of Dan in not mentioned, because from it, according to tradition, will come Antichrist."

"The precise equality of the numbers of those saved from each tribe, it seems to me, indicates the fruitfulness of apostolic seed, because the number twelve taken twelve times and multiplied by a thousand gives the number indicated here, for they were the disciples of the seed which fell on the ground and brought forth the multiple fruit of universal salvation" (St. Andrew, ch 19)."

Rev. 7:9-14 "After this I beheld, and lo, a great multitude,which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb." "And one of the elders answered saying unto me. What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes., and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."

"According to St. Andrew of Caesarea, these in white robes "are those of whom David speaks: if I should count them they are more in number than the sand (Ps. 138:18 Sept.)--those who earlier suffered as martyrs for Christ and those who, from every tribe and people, are to receive sufferings with courage in the last times. By the pouring out of their blood for Christ some of them have made white, and others will make white, the garments of their deeds" (St. Andrew, ch. 20)."

"In their hands they have palm branches--signs of victory over the devil. Their lot is one of eternal rejoicing before the throne of God."

"One of the heavenly elders explains to St. John that these are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb. All these signs indicate clearly that these are martyrs for Christ, and the reference to great tribulation causes some commentators to suppose that these are the Christians who will be killed by Antichrist in the last period of the world's existence."

"Romans 11:26. Isaiah also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved."

"Romans 11:26. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.
II Cor. 6:16. "What? Know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh."

In reading the work quoted above, I do not see a connection with the May 21st accounting of the rapture of the 144, thousand, do you?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Predictions of the May 21st, Happening are Not Accidental

Usually my blogs reflect something that I hear or see during the day. Today, I received feedback about the belief that Jesus has returned, and on May 21st. he is coming for His 144,000 followers to Rapture them out before the great Tribulation. When, I read that He has a computer I lost it. How ridiculous! First of all, Jesus does not need a computer, or a billboard or any of us for that matter, to set-up the "big day" that is "undisclosed". Sadly, many are lost and they could be sharing in the Kingdom now by receiving the body and blood of Christ.

Later in the morning, I stumbled on an old bookmark. It said, "Jesus in me loves you!" I know where Jesus is, in me. Today's reading will help the unbeliever to understand, and then to seek, while there is still time, salvation, by worshiping in the only true church and way of life, the Orthodox faith, unchanged to this very day.

The true church of Christ given through Him and his apostles to us, is still here present on this earth, in which we can consume the real flesh and blood of Christ, Jesus. John in Chapter six, verse 51 "I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world." (52) The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, "How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?"

Some find this hard to believe, that Jesus is present in the Eucharist which is in fact, the Body and Blood of Christ, yet, they believe all this other hogwash. I'm happy to tell you that the Word of God is True, and these are the Words of our Lord and Savior. In verse (53) it continues "Then Jesus said the them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. (54). "Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." (55) "For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. (56) "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him." (57) "As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me.

(65) And He said, "Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father."

I saw a video this morning, a young man troubled by certain changes in his church, which did not follow the teachings of Christ, in scripture. There is but one way. You are rightly confused and should be looking for another place. Run as fast as you can. You are being mislead.

Finally, as read in the book written by: Archbishop Averky Taushev and Father Seraphim Rose, entitled "The Apocalypse, In the Teaching of the Ancient Christianity, on page 257, chapter 20, "The Word of God speaks of only two comings of Christ in the world: the first in lowliness, when He came to redeem us; and the second in glory, when He will appear to judge the living and the dead. Chiliasm introduces one more--a third coming of Christ a thousand years before the end of the world. The Word of God knows no such thing."

"The Ecumenical Council in 381, condemned the teaching of the heretic Apollinarius concerning the thousand-year reign of Christ. At the same time this was confirmed by the introduction into the Symbol of Faith of the words "of His Kingdom there will be no end." Christ is coming back, again, one more time only.

"The Word of God teaches only of two kingdoms of Christ; the Kingdom of Grace which will continue until the end of the world (1-Cor.15:23-26), and the Kingdom of Glory which will begin after the Last Judgment and will have no end (Luke 1:33; II Peter 1:11)."

Sorry, there will be no rapture of the 144,000 on Saturday, nor will there a thousand year reign. Your waisting your precious time. Better yet, why don't you find a bible and read it, and stop bothering your neighbors with all that bunk.

Wait! It could be that the predictions of the May 21st, happening "was no accident", but an invitation, a wake up call, for you to come to the truth before it's too late.

The commentary of the Orthodox Study Bible, says of (John 6:60,61) "Even His disciples took Christ's teaching of His Body and His blood as a hard saying (v.60), and many of them departed from Him (v.66). The Lord Jesus is aware of the thoughts of men." 6:66 "To reject Jesus' teaching on the sacramental eating of His Body and drinking of His Blood is to walk with Him no more."

While we await the return of Christ, let us learn to walk with Him. Just saying!

The verses are taken from the Orthodox Study Bible.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

It Comes Down to What You Want...

The words of Jesus are specific. Today's gospel takes us to a place where the waters are stirred for a healing. The paralytic is asked in (John 5:6) "Do you want to be made well?" This is a strange question because it implies that we are responsible for what we get, if we but say the word. Is it really so simple? All we need to do is say so. The problem for most of us is indecision. We expect Jesus to make the choice for us, or for that matter, other's as well.

A short time ago we read about Jesus and his dealings with the centurion, who testifies in the gospel of Matthew, "but only speak a word, and my servant will be healed." Jesus said, (Matt 8:10) "Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel." The faith of this man was thought comparable to worshiping pagan gods, as was the belief of many of the Romans. He didn't say my servant "might" or "may" be healed. He said "WILL" be healed.

Just say it! Like the Centurion, who at the foot of the cross, announced Jesus, to truly be the Son of God.

Jesus told us if we had but the faith of a mustard seed,(Matt 17:20)"you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you."

We are victims of indecision. We are afraid. Often we are seekers of change, but we don't know what we really want and are afraid to find out. We really can't be sure that change will be better for us. What will we have to leave behind? We do not have a firm conviction...

Time to step out of the boat and face the reality that was yours all along. The truth will set you free. Or could it be that you haven't received because Jesus knows your heart is not ready. Remember, he will give you your hearts desire, especially what we keep secretly, but never from Him.

The paralytic stepped out in faith, he really desired to be made well, irregardless of how that decision changed his life.

(Scripture references are taken from "The Orthodox Study Bible")

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Debunking the May 21st Rapture theory

Many have talked about the "Rapture of the church, as being on Saturday, May 21st. Today, I will share my thoughts as to why this information, which is not an Orthodox belief, is totally wrong and misconstrued. Rapture is a word that indicates to be "transported," It is the idea of which some Christians erroneously get from their understanding of being "caught up" and set aside, before the great tribulation. You have all seen the commercials, one taken, one left behind. The bumper sticker's on cars are funny as well, to those who know it to be a "falsehood".

It isn't that we don't believe in the words transformed to, or caught up, but it is a theory developed from a selected gospel passage and not taken from the whole. The following, disproves the rapture, showing it to be an incorrect belief.

Today's gospel reading reminded me that Philip, (one of seven deacons--Acts 6:3) was found at "Azotus," after the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the Eunuch saw him no more;" (Acts 8:39). (40)"But Philip was found at Azotus." (A Eunuch was an unmarried man who was devoted to the services of his master, and had come to Jerusalem to worship.) An angel directed Philip to explain the gospel of Isaiah, the prophet. This led to the Ethiopian's conversion, by hearing, acceptance and baptism. "Caught away" can mean many things, and to arrive at the correct understanding sometimes, can be difficult.

After the completion of the work of Christ, He was "caught up" to God and His throne. Christians call this the "Ascension". (See Rev.11:5).

Different times of the year we celebrate "feast days" that use words like "translated to life" such as the feast day of the Dormition of Mary the Mother of God, the Theotokos. One such hymn also states that she was translated by the "One who dwelt in her virginal womb!" Her body was buried in Gethsemane, by the apostles "who from the ends of the earth" being gathered together, another mystery, "appeared" and laid her body in burial. The Virgin Mother's body was mysteriously removed from the earth, being (translated) to be with her Son, Jesus.

The difference is not that we do not believe that we will be raised, it is more the understanding of when. Acts 1:9 tells us that Jesus was "taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight." (11) "This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven."

No one knows the time when Jesus will come for us. As far as being isolated and protected in order to prevent participation in the great tribulation by way of the "rapture" can be disputed by the gospel readings. (Matthew 24:44) "Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect."(Matthew 24:3-14). "But he who endures to the end shall be saved." (31)."And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." The time of the Resurrection is found in (1Cor:52)"in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."

Finally, we learn that the dead in Christ will be raised first. (1Thessalonians 4:16) (15)"For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep."For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. "then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord."

Some say we are experiencing the "birth pangs" and looking at the news each day, one may find agreement with that statement. Clearly, beyond that, who knows the day and the time? we must constantly be on our guard in preparedness. Of course, there is always the possibility....."in just a twinkling of an eye"

(All Scriptural references have been taken from the Orthodox Study Bible)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Judgement Day has come to Area Churches

Just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down, the medicine go down, the medicine go the most delightful way. Whether or not the news was well received or not, the parishioners must face the music and dance to the "piper". The only alternative to taking the prescribed medicine, is to go somewhere else. Such important news to be mulled over on "mother's day" was I think, poor timing, but none the less, Judgement Day has come, and three out of four churches will consolidate, merging as in a marriage arrangement, like it or not.

A decision has been made, reflecting a sign of the times, and it's difficult for many to accept. This is not a new story, it's been happening everywhere else, but somehow, you never think it will happen in your town. Time will show that the Bishop, I think, wisely chose. Certainly, it was a no-brainer. The business decision, for the good of the entire church, probably had little to do with the petitions of people who carried signs asking drivers to "honk" if they agreed that their church should remain open. The church of choice was not different, but larger, and can accommodate all parishioners, including the other three churches, involved in this transaction. It was, in the end, a matter of common sense. The once majestic town with many churches has become tarnished. People of all denominations have fallen away from the responsibility of supporting their parish by their presence, and in short, even with all effort could not alter the course of the sinking ship, "the Mother Ship," which in it's magnificence, could not support itself, and must weather the adjustment in it's consolidation effort.

It's almost like building a huge house in anticipation of having a large family which grows up and leaves. Aging parents find it difficult and costly to maintain and inevitably must close shop or size down. Sometimes, you must put the property on the chopping block.

Selling out leaves a feeling of great loss. Much will need to be given up. The church family will need to sacrifice for the good of the whole. After all, how do you give up what has come to be a landmark in your town?

It's like taking one for the team. Not a good feeling, but in the end the right choice.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Mother's Day Bake Sale

Tomorrow stands will be selling flowers and stores will be crowded to the max for those wishing to purchase the perfect gift for their mother.

I recall my son Bill picking violets from along side the house and proudly bringing them to me, without stems. I was so happy to get the thoughtful gift, I placed them in an ashtray added water and we watched them float around. Last week, I had Nate and Ryan for the day. We went out back to swing, it was Ryan's first time on the swing with grandma and Nate. I had often taken Nathan on the swing even on rainy days, then it was with cushions and a radio of course. He'd often take a nap, especially after swim and playtime in the pool. Ryan also enjoys carriage rides and walks (or scooter rides) with Nate, then we swing. While we were on the swing, I pointed out the violets, growing in bunches bordering the house, to Nathan and told him the story about his daddy.

Bill has always given me so much, and now I observe how much he has to give to his family. He likes surprises and I'm sure he won't forget his lovely wife, who deserves so much for being the wonderful mom that she is. Steve always made me wonderful cards, complete with Hallmark on the back. Bill and Steve always had a great sense of humor and they always made me feel special on my "special" day.

Years ago, it was customary to visit your mom on mother's day bringing mostly flowers, chocolates or something that we know she will love. Then, mom would take out the coffee pot, in those days it was brewed on the stove, or an electric model that plugged into the wall. Now, we have coffee bars where people make their own and have many choices to mull over. Always, mom always had some of her special pastries to serve to us.

Mother's day was always pleasant, and it usually began with going to church together. Mom's wore corsages, white or red, determined by whether your mom was living or not. We had a large family, so rarely did we go out to dinner. I recall mom cooked on Mother's Day, mostly spaghetti and meatballs.

I am baking today for the Mother's Bake Sale which will be held tomorrow at St. Michael Church hall. It is fun to be able to purchase a plate full of our family's "favorites" in anticipation of their visit, or, to bring out treats when we meet for dinner, on a different occasion. Tonight, I will bake my mom's special recipe of cinnamon roll-ups with maple syrup and walnuts. It is great with coffee, anytime. Several people have asked me over and over to make them. After all, the woman at our church work so hard for the ladies organization, which exists to help the parish and the priest. They are such an asset to our parish, especially in July, when we have our Parish Festival.

Besides, I know that you'll be there. So it's sweets for the sweet and honey for honey. And, just imagine how happy your friends and family will be to be the happy recipients of the goodies. Lunch will be served, and I know you'll not want to miss that! Happy Mother's day to all you moms out there. Enjoy your special day and your weekend. Thanks for all you do, you are loved and appreciated.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Doubting Thomas Reveals All

Doubting Thomas in the end reveals "all" to us when he said, "My Lord and my God." Jesus was called Lord in many of the scriptures, known by His followers and Thomas, as "Lord," until that special day when the "doubter" encountered Jesus, the Risen Lord, with an unusual invitation and, to answer his famous "unless I see statement."

On that day, Thomas was privileged, (singled out), to place his hands on the wounds of the Resurrected Jesus, to acknowledge and reveal to us, that the person in front of him, was in fact, Jesus, "Lord and God."
This is the long awaited "confirmation" of who Jesus is....He is not just Lord but, Lord and God. Thomas, the doubter, doubts no more..... Jesus did not have to prove who He was, but did so for all of us, especially for the non-believers.

Taken from the Orthodox Study Bible, guideline reference, (Jude 9:4) "Only Lord God is better translated "only Sovereign." That is: Christ, Jesus the Risen Lord is as He said, in (John 10:30) "I and My Father are one." (31) At hearing this, the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. (They wrongly called it blasphemy) The evidence came through the lips of Thomas, the doubter, like him doubt no more!

The Jews in the Old Testament had a name for God, and they also used the title Lord. The Proper name of God in the Hebrew Language was Adonai, meaning Lord. (We say, Lord Jesus, Son of God.)

Doubting Thomas, eye-witness to God in the New Testament called Him "Sovereign"when he said, "Lord and God". ("Jesus reveals Himself as fully God: One means one in nature. He was God before the Incarnation, and He remains fully God after that union of God and man in His one Person."). The Father and the Son are two Persons, distinct, united in essence, will and action.

Jesus is coming and "every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him." (Rev. 1:7)

The One sitting the throne says, (Rev. 1:8)"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, says the Lord, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."

Through the witness of Thomas, Jesus proves His Divinity. We must rely on the "findings of Doubting Thomas, who said, "Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe." (John 20:25). (29) "Jesus said to him, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

Thomas did not touch Jesus for proof, but his words revealed "all" for all eternity, Jesus is Sovereign, Lord and God.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

My Cup Runneth Over

Island coconut coffee in hand and relishing each and every sip, I am feeling quite pampered just knowing that God has given me the ability to be surrounded by so many loving people and so much beauty. Yes, I'm a mounds girl, and I've had a passion for coconut all my life. I know that coconut is good for you and it's now available as a milk substitute, which is wonderful in cereal.

It's hard for me to understand how people prefer violence over peace, seemingly wanting to do battle all the time. Everything said lately, brings about opposition and separation, when life was meant to be lived and enjoyed--lived as if we were all brothers. The fact that people are rejoicing over a death brings about sadness, first of all that people can be misled to do violence to other's and live to that purpose. What a waste of goodness. God tells us that vengeance is His and He shall repay. We are told not to judge.

Sometimes, knowing that it will be taken care of is enough. Enough to let go and let God. Years ago the old saying was "what goes around, comes around." I didn't understand what that meant then, but it means what you do to others may come back to haunt you. Is in not better then, to practice goodness....Love, and it will be returned to you?

What do you rejoice over? Hopefully, your answer will not be someone Else's death. If that is the general opinion, then we have in fact, become "a culture of death and destruction,"even if we didn't start it. Our defense may be necessary, but more so, our goodness. Love annihilates evil.

You get what you give in life. Plant seeds of beauty, kindness and gentleness. Love often and be an example of love, not hate.

It may surprise you that through the years and through the grace extending from forgiveness, you can eventually love someone that has hurt you, changing your attitude toward them completely.

Looking at those who live to hurt others are sadly, "needy" and, somewhere within each of them, their is some "goodness." They are loved by others, their families and friends. Keep in mind that God is the creator of all and He does not make junk. Ideologies may not change, but the heart of man can, with God's help.

We will always have enemies, sometimes "we" are our own worse enemy. If we delight in the violence toward others as they do toward us, then we have also become "the enemy." God tells us clearly that peoples can change with examples of goodness, caring and sharing. Turn the other cheek, if you can. Make your enemy the plight of the world instead, -- hunger, poverty, ignorance and want. Give hope to the widows and orphans and lonely. Share your talents and gifts with others, and it will all come back to you.

We are instructed in Hebrews 13:8 "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." (12:14) "Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord."

Before the departure of the Lord, he clearly told us what we should be seeking on earth--peace. (John 14:27) "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; (The Orthodox Study Bible) When we decide to kill we are overstepping the right of God, who is the author of life and death, even from the womb. Clearly, in my opinion, we had other options.

Let us, in these troubled days of war, in which many will seek us with ill-will and vengeance, try to find in our midst, forgiveness and develop a spirit of "peace on earth and good will."

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What do you think?

It is often said, "I wasn't there so, I don't know!" Sounds harsh, but unless you see something from your own eyes, there can be doubt. Jesus knew that, as he addressed Thomas, who required to even touch the wounds of the risen Christ, as evidence, before he would believe. Bin Laden is another example for the sceptics, who have had no evidence of the much celebrated death of someone that was "believed" to be alive and now, even the body was quickly discarded. Some people require more "proof" than a statement and a reaction to it. Some would even say we are being misled for political gain. Personally, I always had no doubt that Jesus rose from the dead. Doubting Thomas seals the deal for those who are in question, "seeing is believing." How do we resolve the question for those who require proof in the case of Bid Laden? Some need to look upon the dead for themselves, to leave no question in their minds.

Evidence is important in determining an outcome and, for proving the case. The gospels make it very clear, as both the old testament, and new, foretold of the birth and death, and Resurrection of Jesus. Eyewitness accounts "confirm" for us what we in fact, believe without seeing, that this was not just an ordinary story. Jesus even raised Lazarus from the dead, after four days decomposing, for us to understand, "resurrection" and show us that He is the author of both Life and Death.

Sort of like the tissue box story. We need not wonder anymore as to who was putting the used tissues back in the box. It was our little grandson, caught in the act by grampy. Some things are trivial and of little importance, however some things matter a great deal, as the death of Bin Laden.

Jesus does not leave us to "wonder" but, provides for all time by the "evidence" through the gospels, written by "eyewitnesses." He leaves nothing unresolved, to the imagination.

Some agree that the story of the "alleged" death of Bin Laden, needs to be "verified" to prevent misconstruing the story or, just to substantiate it. The "non belief" factor exists, on the day ironically, that we are reminded of "doubting Thomas." Just suggesting, once again, that some require, proof, and ask, "where is the evidence?"