Message from Fr Gary November 2016

What are Sundays For?


Recently I came across an advertisement that said, “Sundays are for the LA Times.” In the ad, various people, representing every demographic, wonder their kitchen with a mug of coffee, proclaiming, “Sundays are for the LA Times.” Their statement implies, “We have worked hard all week long, it is time to curl up in a ball and spend the day reading the newspaper.” Another commercial shows a young man taking a load of his clothes down to the laundry room. As he opens the washing machine it is packed with dried concrete. Confused the young man turns around, and with the rift of a bass note, a bowling ball glares at him. Fade to black and we see, “Sundays are for bowling.” This ad, just like the LA Times commercial, implies, “Stay home and watch bowling.” So, according to leading Advertising Executives, “Sundays are for staying home and resting.”

 

They’re right. Stay home and rest. That is exactly what Sunday is for, being home and resting. Certainly, this truly depends on your definition of “home” and “rest.” Isaiah 44 warns, “17 From the rest he makes a god, his idol; he bows down to it and worships.

 

He prays "Save me; you are my god." 18 They know nothing, they understand nothing; their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see, and their minds closed so they cannot understand.”

 

We should redefine rest and must plan our time wisely. I was once told that Sunday is the only day of the week that laundry can be done. “Father, my week is so hectic that I just can’t be in Church on Sunday. I need the morning to rest and the day to complete tasks.” This interpretation of the Church, trivializes our worship and the Divine Liturgy. To our children it conveys a message that Church is trivial and insignificant.

 

Our faith in God serves as a source of energy and vitality. It must be anchored in our Church. We read in the 59th Psalm, “O my Strength, I sing praise to you; you, O God, are my fortress, my loving God.” Recall the comic book, “The Green Lantern.” This superhero has a Power Battery that is used to recharge the ring every twenty four hours. Certainly, we need recharging too. The Divine Liturgy is exactly that, a source of power and solitude. An opportunity to reconnect and refresh ourselves in Christ.

 

The Church, in Her infinite wisdom, declares that the Divine Liturgy’s central focus is the reception of Holy Communion. This “Comeunion” nourishes and strengthens us through the remission of sins and the promise of everlasting life. This is the reason why the Church prescribes Divine Liturgy be celebrated at least once a week.

 

Don’t allow simple tasks and errands keep you from participating in the Divine Liturgy. Do not allow the season to dictate how you spend your time renewing yourself in Christ. Sanctify the hours of 9:00 am – 12:00 noon every Sunday as your time with God and fellow Orthodox Christians.

 

Our Parish celebrates Divine Liturgy weekly, on Sunday mornings, beginning with Orthros at 9AM and Divine Liturgy at 10AM. That allows plenty of time for other fun activities! One day soon, maybe a different advertisement will be seen on TV. Imagine, a family walking into St. Demetrios Church, the door being held open by a helpful young adult who kindly greets them. They light their candles, do their cross and as they prepare to enter the Church they turn to the camera and say, “Sundays are for Church.”

 

See you on Sunday.

In Christ’s Service,

Fr. Gary Kyriacou

Fr Gary

Tags: Faith Message from Fr Gary

Message from Fr Gary

Fr Gary

Christ-Centered Parish


I learn a lot of interesting things at committee meetings. At one meeting, when discussing the newsletter of our parish, The Myrrh-Bearer, someone frankly said, “Nobody reads that.” That person is either right or wrong depending on how much further you go into this message. At our most recent Parish Council meeting, a parish council member, politely, combined the conversation about healthy church finances with the status of our relationship with Christ.

It wasn’t me, I wasn’t preaching, it was one of YOUR ELECTED OFFICERS, that was sharing this thought. I was mesmerized by his conviction; I looked around at the other members and they were too! The Holy Spirit was present. His inspiration moved us to take the conversation about Parish financial health to a new level.

“Every year we consider ways to raise money. What fundraisers can we hold? How will we meet our obligation to the Metropolis and Archdiocese? How can we motivate better giving? Instead,” he went on, “How can we serve Christ? How can we instill a deep love for Jesus, in every member, young and old, so that our Parish becomes financially healthy and shows greater concern for how Christ-Centered we are as a group?”

It was refreshing to hear a leader of our community express these thoughts. I have offered them in the past, but it is cliché for the priest to say it, because I’m supposed to. A group begins to reexamine the metric for success when a respected member of the Parish Council looks intently at his peers and says, “Are you concerned for your salvation?” If we look at our challenges through the lens of salvation, that is, how what we do will enhance our relationship with Christ, a new perspective is born.

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