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Dinner has ended and the sweet aroma of name day bread is wafting its way towards the table where four anxious children await a slice. You see…today is my son, Christopher's, name day and we are just about to begin our family’s name day tradition.
Every year on Holy Saturday, I grab my Bible and gather my kids into the kitchen to bake Resurrection cookies. It is such a fun way to remind them of the story of Christ’s Crucifixion, and it helps them share in the joy of His glorious Resurrection!
*tip: i have the verses bookmarked and numbered for easy reference.
Everyone knows that eggs are associated with Pascha/Easter, and that red eggs are readily available from Orthodox Christians. There are traditions and folklore to explain the reasons. I'm sure you've heard them all. After a week at a monastery, I found the best explanation for why we have so many eggs as part of our celebration. And just recently, I found a great recipe for naturally dyed deep red eggs.
When we think of Christmas, we think of our families, of the Liturgies, yes, of the gifts, of the reunions, etc. Often we forget about those who serve us this day. No, I am not simply talking about the priests, deacons, subdeacons, chanters, etc., who serve in the various Liturgies. I am talking about those who are unseen and, all too often, forgotten.
Fear of loss has long been the foil to unfettered happiness. And no time is this more apparent than during the holidays.
This week we give thanks in a special way in the United States of America. This week is Thanksgiving. This week we give thanks for all that the Lord has given us. But, in our giving thanks for what the Lord has given us, let us not simply give thanks as though it all belonged to us. Let us rather give thanks for those things over which he has made us stewards. Let us determine in our hearts to correctly use what God has given us.
In August, not long ago, the Rev. Dr. Phil Snider made a speech in Springfield. He was speaking to their City Council on behalf of a proposed amendment which would add LGBT people to the list of minorities protected from discrimination, making it illegal for businesses and landlords to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, or transgendered employees, customers, and tenants.
I was tired. Tired in body. Tired in soul. I had sat by my mother’s bed for two weeks walking her from this life to the next. The extended family had taken shifts keeping vigil around the clock; my shift was during the dark, still hours of the night.
Sometimes it takes years for words of wisdom to sink in and really make sense. It’s like the words sit there and wait until the day when the mind and heart are ripe and ready to absorb echoes from the past.
As a kid in elementary school, after being asked what church I went to, the typical response I received was, “what’s that? I’ve never heard of that church before.”
Last week, I baked prosphora for the first time in a while. This is such a special blessing for an Orthodox Christian! To give an offering to our Creator, created from our own hands, one that will be transformed by the Holy Spirit and then returned to us as the Body of our Lord, for the salvation of our souls. A mystery indeed!