Fr. Gerasim's visit last Saturday is sure to be a highlight of the summer. Please continue to pray for him and for our diocese. Pray that God would provide a good shepherd to serve as our Bishop. In his homily on Saturday night, Fr. Gerasim encouraged us to "preach the gospel at all times, and if necessary use words." What might this look like for us? Here are some practical things I have learned from trying to put this advice into practice in my neighborhood.
1. Be available. If you are always busy working alone or consuming entertainment, you will miss opportunities to preach the Gospel. You make time for other people to be involved in your life. Be involved in your community. Last night Marcy helped to plan a neighborhood party while I stayed home with the kids. Instead of watching TV or reading a book, we went outside to ride bikes and saw a neighbor unloading a moving van. We helped him and the kids had a great time. The Gospel was preached without words, but this wouldn't have been possible if we hadn't made ourselves available.
2. Live your Faith. Preaching the Gospel without words does not mean you are shy about your faith, and if you live your faith your friends will certainly notice. When we had our neighbors over for dinner recently, we said a traditional Orthodox prayer aloud before dinner. We did not consider whether or not this would offend them or make them uncomfortable. Ours is an Orthodox Christian home, so we pray at the appointed times. If you set aside Saturday night and Sunday morning for Church, observe feasts and fasts, pray at appropriate times and have an icon corner in your home, you will be preaching the Gospel to those around you.
3. Look for people who are open to the Gospel. In Luke 10:5-7, Jesus tells His disciples to look for the people who are open to their message and stay with those people. As you make yourself available while living your faith, you will find people who enjoy your friendship and are intrigued by your Christian lifestyle. Stay with them. Invest in that relationship. The Holy Spirit may have already started to work in their life.
- This Sunday we celebrate the Nativity of St. John the Forerunner. We usually commemorate saints on the day of their death, but we also remember the birthdays of St. John and the Theotokos because of their prominent role in the life and ministry of Christ. You can read the first chapter of Luke's Gospel to learn more about the Nativity of St. John the Forerunner.
- The Apostles Fast began last Monday. This fast lasts until the Feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul on June 29. We do not eat meat or dairy during this time. Wine and oil are permitted on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. On Saturday and Sunday fish is allowed as well. It is also important to increase prayer during the fast and come to confession. Confessions are heard Saturday after Vespers and Wednesday after Bible Study.
- This Wednesday we will study the sacraments of Baptism and Chrismation. Vespers begins at 6:30 and the study starts at 7.
- Ladies please join us for another fun night out together. This time we are planning to go to Fire It Up Pottery off Fairbanks in Winter Park to create some art and laughter! The date is June 26, Tuesday from 7-9 pm. Check out the website http://www.allfireduponline.com/ or talk to Marcy Hickman for more information.
- The Playground will be up on Saturday, July 14. On Saturday night after Vespers, we will bless the playground and celebrate with a family cookout at the Church.