St. Paul the Apostle Orthodox Church
Sunday, March 18, 2018 Tone 8
Fourth Sunday of Lent/St. John Climacus
Repose of St. Nikolai of Zhicha (1956)
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/Children’s Choir
11:45am Youth Group/Church School
Hymns & Readings:
Tone 8 Troparion (Resurrection)
You descended from on high, O Merciful One! You accepted the three day burial to free us from our sufferings! O Lord, our Life and Resurrection, glory to You!
Tone 1 Troparion (for St. John Climacus)
O dweller of the wilderness and angel in the body, you were a wonderworker, O our God-bearing Father John. You received heavenly gifts through fasting, vigil and prayer,
healing the sick and the souls of those drawn to you by faith. Glory to Him Who gave you strength! Glory to Him Who granted you a crown! Glory to Him Who grants healing to all!
Tone 4 Kontakion (for St John Climacus)
The Lord truly set you on the heights of abstinence, to be a guiding star, showing the way to the universe, O our father and teacher John.
Tone 4 Prokeimenon (for St. John Climacus)
Let the saints exult in glory; let them sing for joy on their couches!
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 9:17-31
Then one of the crowd answered and said, “Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit. And wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I spoke to Your disciples, that they should cast it out, but they could not.” He answered him and said, “O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me.” Then they brought him to Him. And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming at the mouth. So He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it: “Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!” Then the spirit cried out, convulsed him greatly, and came out of him. And he became as one dead, so that many said, “He is dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.” Then they departed from there and passed through Galilee, and He did not want anyone to know it. For He taught His disciples and said to them, “The Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. And after He is killed, He will rise the third day.”
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!
Praise the Lord from the heavens, praise Him in the highest! The righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance. He shall not fear evil tidings. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
For Further Reading:
The Sin of Envy
The Christian concept of envy is twofold. It is the resentment experienced by one person when another person is perceived to have some good that he or she lacks, coupled with the strong desire that the other person be deprived of it.
Rather like vultures and flies, which gravitate toward stenches and festering sores, envious persons glory in the faults and failings of others, relishing the opportunity to broadcast such misdeeds to tarnish reputations.
Thus the healing of the illness of envy requires re-educating the mind as to what constitutes true good (i.e., virtue) and redirecting our fundamental, ambitious impulse away from the noxiousness of envy to this healthy end. (St. Basil the Great, On Christian Doctrine and Practice, p. 122, 129, 126)
The Ladder of Divine Ascent
Be at peace with your own soul; then heaven and earth will be at peace with you. Enter eagerly into the treasure house that is within you, and so you will see the things that are in heaven; for there is but one single entry to them both. The Ladder that leads to the kingdom is hidden within your soul. Flee from sin, dive into yourself, and in your soul you will discover the stairs by which to ascend. (St. Isaac the Syrian, from Kallistos Ware, The Orthodox Way, p. 71)
The Struggle to Keep the Fast
And so, there is a tension between the absoluteness of the vision--the perfect and only true Man, Christ--and the imperfect creatures that we are. In what way then can we say that we relate to Christ? I think we relate to Christ if we are open to his action; we relate to Christ if we long for him; we relate to Christ if we are in motion towards him.
And this is a very important thing. There is a passage in the writings of Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk, who says, we do not reach the Kingdom of God from victory to victory; more often from defeat to defeat. But, he says, it is those people--who after each defeat, instead of sitting down to bewail their misery, stand up and walk--that arrive.
And this a tension in which we all find ourselves. Unless we have a vision of the absolute, we cannot tend towards it. At the same time we must not despair of what we are, because we cannot judge our own condition; we can judge only one thing: the degree to which we long for fulfillment, the degree to which we long to be worthy of God, worthy of love, worthy of compassion--and worthy not because of any achievement of ours, but because of the longing, the hunger, and the trust that we can give to the Lord. (Metropolitan Anthony Bloom, Churchianity vs. Christianity, p. 41, 43)
However, if we pay close attention to the Lenten prayers, hymns, and Scripture readings, we quickly realize that Lent is a time when we should put greater emphasis on others rather than on ourselves as we literally lay down our life for our neighbor.
The late Orthodox liturgical theologian Alexander Schmemman referred to Lent as the Lenten Spring, a new birth, where we turn away from the darkness of sin and once again turn back to God:
For many, if not for the majority of Orthodox Christians, Lent consists of a limited number of forma, predominantly negative rules and prescriptions: abstention from certain food, dancing, perhaps movies. Such is the degree of our alienation from the real spirit of the Church that is almost impossible for us to understand that there is “something else” in Lent-something without which all these prescriptions lose much of their meaning. This “something else” can best be described as an “atmosphere,” a “climate” into which one enters, as first of all a state of mind, soul, and spirit which for seven weeks permeates our entire life. Let us stress once more that the purpose of Lent is not to force on us a few formal obligations, but to “soften” our heart so that it may be open itself to the realities of the spirit, to experience the hidden “thirst and hunger” for communion with God.
The grace has shown forth, O Lord!
The grace which illumines our soul.
This is the acceptable time!
This is the time of repentance!
Let us lay aside all the works of darkness
And put on the armor of light
That passing through the fast as through a great sea
We may reach the resurrection on the third day
Of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior, of our souls. (Apostikha for Forgiveness Sunday)
(William C. Mills, Let Us Attend: Reflections of the Gospel of mark for the Lenten Season, p. V, IX-X, 1)
To Know God is More Than Just to Think About Him
He presented Himself to them living (Acts 1:3). With these words, Luke is telling us that the fullness of time has come (Gal 4.4), that God’s promises have been fulfilled. Christ had to suffer, rise from the dead, ascend into the heavens, and resume His place at the right hand of the Father, in order to ensure the promise of their salvation; so that their deepest desires would not remain unfulfilled.
Thus Christ presented himself living in order to show his disciples that, if there was any point to their existence, it was precisely the vision of God: in seeing the living Christ. True communication with God is not simply thinking about God; neither is it a loving disposition toward Him. Instead, it is perfect knowledge of Him, a “grasping” of God in the sense of taking possession of Him, making Him your own, having an experience of God as living. And that God is living means that I stand in relation to him as to life itself, a relationship in which the two of us - two lives, two activities, two persons - live and move together, in a process of mutual giving and receiving.
By saying that He presented Himself living, Luke is telling us that the aim of life is the vision of God: to see and enjoy the living God. Thus if I am unable to see God, or lay hold of Him, or win Him over; if I am unable to love God truly, with a love that is a true dynamic embrace, then God for me is not a living God: He is a dead God. And Luke’s words are consequently a testimony to the resurrection. In Christ, God became man, suffered, was buried, and rose from the grave - without ever ceasing to be the Son and Word of God - so that man might share in His divinity and thereby partake fully of true life. (Archimantride Aimillianos, The Way of the Spirit, p. 167-168)
Recent Posts on Fr. Ted’s Blog
The time for repentance is at hand! 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 1 Saturday left on which Fr. Ted will be hearing confession. (There will be no confessions this coming Saturday evening, March 25 as we will be celebrating Vespers at Annunciation Greek Church that night for their Parish Feast Day).
We will begin learning a new hymn today to sing on the Sunday of the Myrrhbearing women (April 22) and April 29. Any kids who would like to sing, meet in the church at 11:30.
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 21, we will discuss the readings for the fifth weekend of Great Lent: Hebrews 9:24-28, Mark 8:27-31 and Hebrews 2:11-18, Luke 1:24-38. Please join your fellow Orthodox in discussing these Scriptures as part of your Lenten effort this year.
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.
Spring Church Cleaning Day
In preparation for Pascha, the church cleaning day will be Lazarus Saturday (March 31) from 9am-12pm. Volunteers are needed to clean/organize classrooms, wipe down fellowship hall tables/chairs, clean windows, and do all kinds of detail cleaning. It is helpful if you bring your own cleaning supplies and rags. See you all there!
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.
Myrrh Bearing Girls
On Great and Holy Friday, April 6, we would like to have Myrrh Bearing Girls to accompany the tomb of Christ. Any girl in first grade or older is invited to participate. The girls will need to wear all white dresses and we will be meeting in the hall at 6:30pm before the Holy Friday service. Please sign up your daughter on the signup sheet in the foyer. See Maria Brausch or Kerrie Weise with any questions.
Keeping Vigil at the Tomb of Christ
Volunteers are needed to keep an all-night vigil at the Tomb of Christ (in the church) April 6-7. Beginning at 9:00 pm, volunteers will chant or read psalms for hour time slots for the whole night until the 9 am Holy Saturday Liturgy in the morning. Please arrive about 5 minutes before your shift begins. More than one person may sign up for any time slot and the sign up sheet is on the bulletin in the foyer.
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 email@example.com. 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: Ellie Cross, Rebekah Russ, Brian Garber, Victor Weis, Holly Delong, Andrea Champ, David Beleney
Namedays: Dot Federinko
Anniversary: Mark & Erin Caldwell
God grant you many years!
This Week’s Schedule:
Monday, March 19 (Great Lent Fast
9:30am Office Hours
Tuesday, March 20 (Great Lent Fast)
6:00pm Parish Council
Wednesday, March 21 (Great Lent Fast)
9:30am Office Hours
11am Adult Discussion: The New Testament Readings of Great Lent
6pm Presanctified Liturgy followed by lenten potluck
Thursday, March 22 (Great Lent Fast)
6:00pm Canon of St. Andrew
Friday, March 23 (Great Lent Fast)
9:30am Office Hours
Saturday, March 24 (Great Lent Fast--W, O)
7pm Vespers at Annunciation Greek Church
Sunday, March 25 (Great Lent Fast--F, W, O)
Prosfora: S. Pacak
Altar Servers: V. Weis, J. Fencik
Greeter(s): D. Federinko, B. Edwards
Epistle: S. Pacak
Donut Sponsor(s): Edwards
Chapel Vacuum: Need volunteer
Candle care: Need volunteer
Counters: K Henry, M. Brasch
9:00am Hours: S. Pacak
9:30am Divine Liturgy of St. Basil
11:30am Fellowship Hour: Team 4/Children’s Choir
11:45am Youth Group/Church School
Upcoming Dates to Remember
Tuesday, March 27 Meet-up for moms/kids/etc., 9:30am
Friday, March 30 Presanctified liturgy
Saturday, March 31 Lazarus Saturday/Spring Church Cleaning/St. Paul’s serving at St. Vincent DePaul
Holy Week Schedule
Palm Sunday: April 2
5pm, Vespers of Palm Sunday
Great and Holy Monday: April 3
8:30am, Bridegroom Matins
6:00pm, Bridegroom Matins
Great and Holy Wednesday: April 4
9:30am, Presanctified Liturgy
6:00pm, Holy Unction
Great and Holy Thursday: The Mystical Supper, April 5
6:00pm, Vespers-Liturgy, lenten potluck following
Great and Holy Friday: The Crucifixion of the Son of God, April 6
11:00am, 6th and 9th Royal Hours
7:30pm, Lamentations at the Tomb
9:00pm-9:30am, All Night Vigil
Great and Holy Saturday: Christ’s Descent into Hades, April 7
11:30pm, Nocturnes of Pascha & Midnight Paschal Procession
Pascha Sunday: The Resurrection of Our Lord, God & Savior Jesus Christ, April 8
12:30am, Paschal Matins
1:15am, Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom
2:30am, Blessing of Paschal Baskets, Pascha Agape Fellowship Celebration & Potluck
12pm, Vespers of Pascha