St. Paul the Apostle Orthodox Church
Sunday, March 11, 2018 Tone 7
Third Sunday of Lent/Veneration of the Holy Cross
St. Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem (638-644) (Great Lent Fast--W, O)
Prosfora: Need volunteer
Altar Servers: V. Weis, J. Fencik
Greeter(s): M. Jobst, M. Brausch
Epistle: A. McLarnan
Donut Sponsor(s): Need sponsor
Chapel Vacuum: Tatiana Jacobs
Candle care: Janine Elash
Counters: B. Garber, P. Friesel
9:00am Hours: A. McLarnan
9:30am Divine Liturgy of St. Basil
11:30am Fellowship Hour: Team 2
11:45am Youth Group/Church School
Hymns and Readings:
Tone 7 Troparion (Resurrection)
By Your Cross You destroyed death. To the thief You opened Paradise. For the Myrrhbearers You changed weeping into joy. And You commanded Your disciples, O Christ God, to proclaim that You are risen, granting the world great mercy.
Tone 1 Troparion (for the Cross)
O Lord, save Your people, and bless Your inheritance! Grant victories to the Orthodox Christians over their adversaries; and by virtue of Your Cross, preserve Your habitation!
Tone 7 Kontakion (for the Cross)
Now the flaming sword no longer guards the gates of Eden; it has been mysteriously quenched by the wood of the Cross. The sting of death and the victory of hell have been vanquished; for You, O my Savior, have come and cried to those in hell: “Enter again into Paradise!”
In place of the Trisagion (Holy God…), we sing:
Before Your Cross, we bow down in worship, O Master, and Your holy Resurrection, we glorify.
Tone 6 Prokeimenon (for the Cross)
O Lord, save Your people and bless Your inheritance!
Epistle: Hebrews 4:14-5:6
Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. For every high priest taken from among men is appointed for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. He can have compassion on those who are ignorant and going astray, since he himself is also subject to weakness. Because of this he is required as for the people, so also for himself, to offer sacrifices for sins. And no man takes this honor to himself, but he who is called by God, just as Aaron was. So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was He who said to Him: “You are My Son, today I have begotten You.” As He also says in another place: “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”
Gospel: Mark 8:34-9:1
When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” And He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power.”
Hymn to the Theotokos
All of creation rejoices in you, O Full of Grace: the assembly of Angels and the race of men. O sanctified temple and spiritual paradise, the glory of virgins, from whom God was incarnate and became a Child – our God before the ages. He made your body into a throne, and your womb He made more spacious than the heavens. All of creation rejoices in you, O Full of Grace. Glory to you!
The Light of your countenance has shown on us, O Lord. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
For Further Reading:
Death: Sojourn to Life
I was in wonder as I crossed
the borders of Paradise
at how well-being, as though a companion
turned round and remained behind.
And when I reached the shore of earth,
the mother of thorns,
I encountered all kinds
of pain and suffering.
I learned how, compared to Paradise,
our abode is but a dungeon;
yet the prisoners within it
weep when they leave it!
I was amazed at how even infants
weep as they leave the womb--
weeping because they come out
from darkness into light
and from suffocation they issue forth
into this world!
Likewise death, too,
is for the world
a symbol of birth,
and yet people weep because they are born
out of this world, the mother of suffering,
into the garden of splendors.
Have pity on me,
O Lord of Paradise,
and if it is not possible for me
to enter your Paradise,
grant that I may graze
outside, by its enclosure;
within, let there be spread
the table for the “diligent,”
but may the fruits within its enclosure
drop outside like the “crumbs”
for sinners, so that, through Your grace,
they may live!
(St. Ephrem the Syrian, Hymns on Paradise, pp. 106-108)
The Way to Joy? Take Up Your Cross
The argument based on a historical defeat of Christianity cannot be sustained. The kingdom of God cannot be imposed; if it is to be brought about we must be born again, and that supposes complete freedom of spirit. Christianity is the religion of the Cross, and it sees a meaning in suffering. Christ asks us to take up our own cross and carry it, to shoulder the load of a sinful world. In Christian consciousness the notion of attaining happiness, justice, and the kingdom of God on earth without cross or suffering is a huge lie: it is the temptation that Christ rejected in the wilderness when he was shown the kingdoms of the world and invited to fall down and worship. Christianity does not promise its own necessary realization and victory here below; Christ even questioned whether he will find any faith on earth when he comes again at the end of time, and foretold that love itself will have grown cold.
Tolstoy believed that Christ's commands could be easily fulfilled simply by recognizing their truth. But that was a mistake of his over-rationalizing consciousness; the mysteries of freedom and of grace were beyond him, his optimism contradicted the tragic depths of life. "The good which I will I do not," says the apostle Paul, "but the evil which I will not, that I do. Now if I do that which I will not it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me." This testimony of one of the greatest of all Christians unveils the innermost part of the human heart, and it teaches us that the "failure of Christianity" is a human failure and not a divine defeat. (Nicholas Berdiaev, Tradition Alive, pp. 96-97)
Confess Your Sins so that You May Be Healed
Confession extends the healing of baptism to the realities of sinful life after baptism. “Confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects.” Accountability to the other, and ultimately to the Other, is a healing act of humility, a necessary and often painful condition for real change and repentance. When one bares one’s soul to at least one other person then real accountability and potential for change can occur. (Daniel B. Hinshaw, Suffering and the Nature of Healing, p. 243)
The Icon of the Crucifixion
The icon encourages us to reflect on this climax to our Lord’s earthly life; his work has been accomplished, and he commends himself to the Father. The following verses come to mind: ‘I glorified thee on earth, having accomplished the work that thou gavest me to do’ (John 17:4); ‘It is finished’ (John 19:30); ‘Father, into thy hands, I commit my spirit’ (Luke 23:46). And these verses from the letter to the Hebrews seem equally appropriate: ‘Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith’ (Hebrews 12:1-2); ‘So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Therefore let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing abuse for him. For here we have no abiding city, but we seek the city which is to come’ (Hebrews 13:12-14).
The following extract from St. Theodore the Studite’s On the Adoration of the Cross shows how the victorious nature of Christ’s death on the Cross was interpreted by a great teacher of Orthodox theology (759-826):
How precious is the gift of the cross! See, how beautiful it is to behold!...It is a tree which brings forth life, not death. It is the source of light, not darkness. It offers you a home in Eden. It does not cast you out. It is the tree which Christ mounted as a king his chariot, and so destroyed the devil, the lord of death, and rescued the human race from slavery to the tyrant. It is the tree on which the Lord, like a great warrior with his hands and feet and his divine side pierced in battle, healed the wounds of our sins, healed our nature that had been wounded by the evil serpent. Of old we were poisoned by a tree; now we have found immortality through a tree.
...By the cross death was killed and Adam restored to life. In the cross every apostle has gloried; by it every martyr has been crowned and every saint made holy. We have put on the cross of Christ, and laid aside the old man. Through the cross we have joined Christ’s flock, and are granted a place in the sheepfold of heaven. (John Baggley, Festival Icons for the Christian Year, pp. 108-109)
Recent Posts on Fr. Ted’s Blog
The times when Fr. Ted is at the church for Confession is listed in the weekly schedule. Coming the sacrament of Confession to receive Christ’s forgiveness is something we all are to do every year as part of our Christian discipline. We do Confession for our own salvation, for in our sins being forgiven, we are united to Christ and we are given eternal life. Lent is half over, there are only three more weeks of Lent to come to Confession and only 2 Saturdays left on which Fr. Ted will be hearing confession. (There will be no confessions Saturday evening, March 25 as we will be celebrating Vespers at Annunciation Greek Church that night).
Our next Tuesday morning meet up will be this Tuesday (March 13) beginning at 9:30. See you there! Anyone is welcome.
Wednesday Bible Study
Throughout Great Lent we will be discussing on Wednesday mornings the Epistle and Gospel readings for the Saturdays and Sundays of Great Lent. Please join us to consider these essential Scripture lessons and to share what value these readings have had in your spiritual life. This Wednesday, March 14, we will discuss the readings for the fourth weekend of Great Lent: Hebrews 6:9-12, Mark 7:31-37 and Hebrews 6:13-20, Mark 9:17-31. Please join your fellow Orthodox in discussing these Scriptures as part of your Lenten effort this year.
Those in the Diocesan St. Macrina program will be starting their next class, Spirituality, on Saturday, March 17 from 2-4:30pm. The class will be open for those who want to audit the course as well.
Parish Council meets Tuesday, March 20 at 6pm.
Erin Ferdelman has organized another ladies’ coffee night on Friday, March 23 from 7-9:30pm at Panera Bread in Beavercreek (2751 Fairfield Commons Blvd). All ladies are welcome to come for fellowship & good conversation.
Serving at St Vincent DePaul
What a great way to serve during Great Lent! The first fifth Saturday of 2018 (March 31) is this month so it's time to serve at St Vincent de Paul (120 W. Apple St. 45402) again. For those new to this we make sub sandwiches for the single woman and families who stay at the shelter. Come at 9:15am and stay till about 1pm. Please call or email Matthew Jobst if coming.
St. Paul members have the opportunity to sponsor a Pascha lily to honor or commemorate the memory of a loved one. The names of those honored will be included in the Pascha bulletin. The cost for each pot is $9.50 from Furst Florist. Those sponsoring lilies will then be able to take the lilies home after the Pascha liturgy on April 8 to plant and remind them of their loved one and the resurrection every spring.
Donations can also be made to help cover the cost of the other flower arrangements that will decorate the Tomb of Christ and be placed over the icons and around the church.
If you are paying by check please note “Easter Lily” and/or “Pascha Flowers” in the memo line. If you would like to pay by cash, please see Father Ted or Erin Caldwell.
Pascha Celebration Alcohol Use
The Paschal celebration meal / blessing of the baskets following Liturgy on Pascha is wonderful time for rejoicing, fellowship and sharing. Often times along with our meal, alcoholic beverages are included to “gladden the heart of man”. However, in recent Paschal celebrations there has been a proliferation of the quantity (and strength) of alcoholic beverages which may increase liability risks for the entire church community. There have been a couple of instances of parishioners becoming intoxicated at our agape feast. Furthermore, there have been several reports of people feeling as though alcohol has been pushed on them even after they declined to drink. Intoxication at any church event is unacceptable. No one at a parish event should ever feel as though they are being peer pressured into drinking. Beyond the dogmatic reasons for sober behavior, driving home intoxicated is a liability for the entire parish exposing us to the risk of litigation.
In order to mitigate and correct these issues, all members are reminded that while families may bring alcohol for their own use at the Pascha agape celebration, no one is to bring alcohol solely for mass distribution. This applies to all forms of alcohol including frozen drinks, homemade alcoholic beverages, and rare/expensive hard liquors. As always if consuming alcohol, please know your own limits. It is not appropriate for you or anyone else at a church celebration to become intoxicated. Please be courteous and respectful to your fellow parishioners: please do not encourage someone else to drink alcohol. They may be abstaining for health reasons, past addiction problems, or because they know they can't control their drinking. You may be leading them into temptation.
If we cannot get everyone to voluntarily cooperate with appropriate use of alcohol at the Pascha agape meal this year, Parish Council for the safety of all and for liability reasons will be forced to forbid the consumption of alcoholic beverages entirely at the church following our midnight celebration.
St. Paul Prayer Team
If you would like to submit prayer requests for the prayer team, forms can be found on the greeter’s table. Please place requests in the box on the greeter table or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to be a part of praying with the team - and pray daily for others in the parish, or if you have further questions please contact Mark Pearson.
This month we are donating our charity fund to the Oasis House which helps women who are victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. Please pray for women and children who are victimized by the sex trade. Stop purchasing pornography and instead give your money to agencies which help the victims of sexual trafficking and exploitation. Help women and children get out of sexual slavery - don’t enslave them by purchasing pornography. Mary of Egypt, whom we commemorate during Great Lent, is a well known saint of the church who got out of prostitution and sexual exploitation in order to follow Christ. Ask her to pray for women and children who are victimized by sexual exploitation and ask her to pray that you might be healed of your own addiction to pornography.
Birthdays: Rebekkah Gresh, Sandy Pacak, Tatiana Fenner, Ellie Cross
God grant you many years!
This Week’s Schedule:
Monday, March 12 (Great Lent Fast)
8:30am Matins 9:00am Confession 9:30am Office Hours
Tuesday, March 13 (Great Lent Fast)
Wednesday, March 14 (Great Lent Fast)
8:30am Matins 9:00am Confession 9:30am Office Hours
11am Adult Discussion: The New Testament Readings of Great Lent
6pm Presanctified Liturgy followed by lenten potluck 7:15pm Confession
Thursday, March 15 (Great Lent Fast)
5:30pm Confession 6:30pm Catechism/Inquirer’s Class: Session 6
Friday, March 16 (Great Lent Fast)
8:30am Matins 9:00am Confession 9:30am Office Hours
Saturday, March 17 (Great Lent Fast--W, O)
12:30-1:30pm Confession 2-4:30pm Class on Spirituality
5pm Vespers 5:45pm Confession
Sunday, March 18 (Great Lent Fast--W, O)
Prosfora: D. Federinko
Altar Servers: D. Abshear, B. Garber
Greeter(s): D. Helferich, G. Friesel
Epistle: L. Short
Donut Sponsor(s): Helferich
Chapel Vacuum: S. Osman
Candle care: R. Helferich
Counters: L. Wagner, J. Wiese
9:00am Hours: L. Short
9:30am Divine Liturgy of St. Basil
11:30am Fellowship Hour: Team 3
11:45am Youth Group/Church School
Upcoming Dates to Remember
March 9-10 Pysanky Workshop
March 14 Presanctified liturgy
March 21 Presanctified liturgy
March 23 Ladies Coffee Night
March 30 Presanctified liturgy
March 31 Lazarus Saturday/Spring Church Cleaning/St. Paul’s serving at St. Vincent DePaul