Russian Orthodox Church
of St Nicholas
Dallas, Texas
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Phone:972 529-2754
nicholas@orthodox.net

Redeeming the Time Vol. 02.13 9th Sun After Pentecost Jul 27/Aug 9 1998


Redeeming the Time

St. Nicholas Orthodox Church Dallas, TX

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

July 27/August 9, 1998

Ninth Sunday After Pentecost

The stilling of the storm

Holy Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon

Vol. 02.13

News and Announcements *

David Miller's back surgery *

St Nicholas Upcoming Events and Plans *

Choir Practice Planning *

Reader's classes *

Youth Group News *

Many Years! *

Questions about St Christina *

Questions about Matt 14:22-34 - Jesus Walking on the Water (9sunape) *

Answers to Questions about St Christina *

ANSWER 1 *

ANSWER 2 *

ANSWER 3 *

ANSWER 4 *

ANSWER 5 *

ANSWER 6 *

ANSWER 7 *

ANSWER 8 *

ANSWER 9 *

ANSWER 10 *

Answers to Questions about Matt 14:22-34 - Jesus Walking on the Water (9sunape) *

ANSWER 1 *

ANSWER 2 *

ANSWER 3 *

ANSWER 4 *

ANSWER 5 *

ANSWER 6 *

ANSWER 7 *

ANSWER 8 *

ANSWER 9 *

ANSWER 10 *

News and Announcements

David Miller's back surgery

David had back surgery Tuesday, Aug 4th. At the present time, his recovery is going very well. He is in Plano Presbyterian Hospital, Room 516, phone (972) 608-8516. Some in the church will be building a ramp for him at his home, because he will not be able to negotiate stairs safely for a while. Please remember to pray for David, especially during his recovery period.

St Nicholas Upcoming Events and Plans

Choir Practice Planning

Fr Seraphim has become aware that some may have trouble with gathering for choir practice on Thursday evenings after Moleiben. Therefore, the choir is asked to meet this Sunday after Liturgy to discuss all possible scheduling options. Please plan on attending this meeting - if you do not voice your opinion at this meeting, your opinion cannot contribute anything. We must give fair warning that practice will probably become obligatory for those who wish to sing in the choir, except under special circumstances, which should be discussed with Fr Seraphim and the choir director. Following are some of the possible times the choir may meet (on a WEEKLY BASIS!) All have their advantages and disadvantages.

Day/Time

Comment

Thursday evenings after Molieben

  • Some are already in church this day for the Moleiben, therefore, there is no additional trip to church needed for those already there.
  • No services will be disrupted.
  • The church and choir area may be used.
  • It may be expensive for some to come to church this additional day if they do not already come.

Sunday morning before Divine Liturgy (9am?)

  • Everyone is already coming to church this day, but it may be a little bit early for those who are not "morning people".
  • The services (hours and communion prayers) may be disrupted by the singing
  • It will not be possible to use the church, because of the other services going on. Practice would be in the kitchen (still somewhat disruptive) or outside on fair weather days.
  • Choir members who need to go to confession would need to do this on Saturday or another day, or before 9am Sunday morning. In addition, they would need to say their communion prayers at home.

Sunday Afternoon

  • Everyone should already be at church
  • It makes for a long afternoon.
  • There are other things we sometimes do on Sunday afternoon as a church, such as catechetical lectures, church council meetings, etc.

Saturday afternoon, before Vespers

  • Many people should be coming to church already anyway
  • The church and choir area may be used.
  • This option will take a lot of dedication - people often think of Saturday as "their" day.

The progress of the choir has been fantastic, and we should want to build on these accomplishments. Singing in the choir is a ministry to God and to the faithful in the church, and therefore demands effort of us, both during and outside of the services. Thanks in advance for your participation.

Reader's classes

There will be regular reader's classes soon, which will be obligatory for all those who wish to read in the church. Fr. Seraphim will be contacting the readers and those who wish to learn to become readers about this very soon. As we read for the edification of others, and to glorify God, we must learn to read in the correct manner, and with reverence, piety and a sense of responsibility. Reading is an honor to be taken very seriously. May God grant His mercy and grace upon our readers!

Youth Group News

We had the first meeting of the St. Nicholas Youth Group last week. Congratulations to our first president, Irene Lewis, our first secretary/treasurer Genevieve Holland, and our first Historian Joseph Sanchez! We will meet again next week (August 16) to vote on our patron saint, and begin discussing fundraising and other activities. All youth are invited.

Many Years!

Many years to Mary Wilder who celebrated St Mary Magdalene last Tuesday.

Many years to Christina Holland and Christina Lewis, who celebrated St Christina last Thursday. We sang a molieban at church Thursday evening to St Christina, and sang her canon.

Questions about St Christina

QUESTION 1

What does the name Christina mean?

QUESTION 2

When is St Christina commemorated? What "rank" is her feast?

QUESTION 3

Approximately when did St Christina live, and where? What was her upbringing?

QUESTION 4

Because St Christina is a _______, icons of her show her holding a ______. Explain

QUESTION 5

What is the Gospel reading that commemorated St Christina? Why?

QUESTION 6

How did St Christina learn the Christian faith? Did she have obstacles?

QUESTION 7

When was St Christina baptized? Be careful answering this one!

QUESTION 8

Describe St Christina's passion.

QUESTION 9

Approximately how old was St Christina when died?

QUESTION 10

St Christina's relation and conflict with her parents deserves careful scrutiny, and has much to teach us.

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What should we learn about faith and priorities by observing St Christina as our example? What words of Christ should come to mind when we contemplate Christina's struggles with her parents (if you cannot quote them directly, just give the gist of them in a paraphrasement).

This is a very important concept, which too many fail to understand, and many even fail to convert to the Orthodox faith because of problems similar to, but much less extreme than Christina's.

Questions about Matt 14:22-34 - Jesus Walking on the Water (9sunape)

QUESTION 1

"And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up into the mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, He was there alone. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary."

Why did Jesus go up into the mountain to pray?

QUESTION 2

"And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up into the mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, He was there alone. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary."

There was another time when the Apostles were in a boat that was in a storm.

  1. Was this earlier than this event or later?
  2. Describe this other event.
  3. What can we glean from the order of the events?

QUESTION 3

"And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea." (Matt 14:25)

What time is this? Does the time teach us something important about the spiritual life?

QUESTION 4

Why did Jesus constrain his apostles to get in a ship? Hint: This followed which event? How did the Jews view Jesus after this event?

QUESTION 5

The boat the disciples were in is a wonderful image of what? Explain

QUESTION 6

Why did Peter get out of the boat and come to Jesus? The reason is important, and has serious implications.

QUESTION 7

What happened to Peter as he walked on the water towards Christ? Why? Answer with more depth than just recounting the event. There is a deep meaning and lesson here.

QUESTION 8

Coming back to the metaphor the boat represents, evaluate Peter's action in this light. What made his action dangerous? How do we "step out of the boat" in our life?

QUESTION 9

What is the spiritual meaning of the miracle? Of course, this is an "open ended" question, and hard to answer. So is the question of how we are to live our life, moment by moment. Think a bit, and focus on one or more of these things:

  • Jesus went up alone to a mountain to pray
  • The disciples were in a boat which was beset by terrible waves and winds.
  • Jesus came to the disciples in the fourth watch of the night.
  • Peter faltered after he left the ship.

QUESTION 10

Peter's experience walking on the water, feeling fear, and beginning to sink before being saved by Christ, foretold a future important experience. Which?

Answers to Questions about St Christina

ANSWER 1

The name Christina means "Little Christ".

"He Who ordereth all things according to His providence / granted thee the name of Christ / as thou didst deserve; / for thou didst have a better end / in both thy name and thy works, / having betrothed thyself to Christ / piously and with faith. / And as the daughter of the King of heaven // thou dost rejoice with Him, praying for us, O martyr." (Vespers for St Christina, Sticheron at "Lord I have cried", Tone 4)

"Thou didst truly demonstrate the twofold working of thy Christian name: / in betrothing thyself to Christ in the purity of thy virginity, / with the blessing of the Father and by the activity of the Spirit / thou didst shine forth more brightly than the rays of the sun / in thy steadfast endurance of torture. / Wherefore, thou didst offer thyself / as a pure and unblemished sacrifice on the altar of heaven, / and dost rejoice forever with the choirs of virgins and martyrs. / With them, O Christina, namesake of Christ, // beg thou that peace and great mercy be given to those who honor thee." (Glory at Lord I have cried)

ANSWER 2

St Christina is remembered July 24. This is Aug 6 on the civil calendar. Her feast is a "six stichera" service. This means that 6 stichera are sung for her during vespers.

ANSWER 3

St Christina lived in the third century, when paganism was still very prevalent. She grew up in the city of Tyre. Her parents were pagan, and her father Urban was the governor. She was brought up in idolatry until Christ revealed Himself to her at the age of about 11. Her father made her live in a tower in order to hide her great beauty until she was full grown. In her tower, Christina saw the beauty of God's creations and yearned to know the True God. God saw this, and revealed Himself to her through His angel.

ANSWER 4

Because St Christina is a martyr, icons of her show her holding a cross in her right hand. By Holy Tradition, martyrs are depicted holding a cross, which indicated their willingness to give up their temporal lives for Christ, just as Christ gave up His human life on the cross.

ANSWER 5

The Gospel reading for St Christina, and most women martyrs is about the "sinful woman" who anointed Christ's feet shortly before His passion (Luke 7:36-50). The woman "loved much" because she had been "forgiven much". The martyrs love much because they are also illuminated with the knowledge of the forgiveness of God.

"Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little." (Luke 7:47)

All of us has much that is forgiven. Those who truly love God are those who feel this forgiveness in the depths of their being. Such ones perform outstanding acts of love and devotion, like the woman who anointed the Lord, and all the martyrs who laid down their life for the one Who calls them "friend".

ANSWER 6

St. Christina's parents were pagans, and did not teach her about the True Faith. She didn't learn of it until Christ revealed it to her through His angel when she showed a great desire to learn of God. She then smashed all the idols in her tower, thus incurring the wrath of her father, who had her tortured.

ANSWER 7

St Christina was baptized by her blood at her martyrdom for Christ.

" Thy ewe-lamb Christina, O Jesus, crieth out with a loud voice: / "I love Thee, O my Bridegroom, and, seeking Thee, I suffer. / I am crucified and buried in Thy baptism. / I suffer for Thy sake, that I may reign with Thee; / I die for Thee, that I may live with Thee. / Accept me, who sacrifice myself for Thee with love, like an unblemished offering!" // By her supplications save Thou our souls, in that Thou art merciful." (Troparion for St Christina, Tone 4)

ANSWER 8

When St Christina was illuminated with the truths of the Christian faith from the angel, her pure soul loathed all the idols surrounding her, and she smashed them to pieces. This action enraged her father Urban, who, forgetting his natural love for his daughter, tortured her. The evening before he planned to have her executed, Urban, in full health, was taken from this life. She was then tortured by Urban's two successors, the first being Dion, who also died unexpectedly. Her last persecutor, Julian, cut off the holy one's breasts and also her tongue, which the holy one threw back in his face, blinding him. After many other tortures, which inspired many of the inhabitants of Tyre to follow the Christian faith, she was finally beheaded.

"Neither the passionate attachment of thy parents, / nor the pleasure of food, /nor possession of riches, O glorious one, nor threats of torments, / neither fire, the sword, the abyss or the wheel, / nor yet the attack of wild beasts / were able to separate thee from the love of the Creator, O virgin martyr Christina, // thou glory and boast of the martyrs." (Vespers, "Lord I have cried", Tone 4)

ANSWER 9

St Christina was just a girl when she was martyred, eleven years old.

ANSWER 10

We must love the Church and Christ above all, including family, and follow Him even unto death. Christ said, "He who loves husband, or wife, or mother or father or son or lands more than Me is not worthy of Me." This means that we need to give up these temporary things, such as family, if the prohibit us from following Christ.

"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. {35} For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. {36} And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. {37} He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. {38} And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. {39} He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it." (Mat 10:34-39)

"Desiring the heavenly Father, / O glorious one, / thou didst spurn thine impious father; / and loving the Jerusalem on high / as thy mother, / thou didst reject thy mother's overweening love, / and, deified by Christ with all, / thou didst afterward lay down thy life, O martyr, // undaunted by tortures."

(Vespers, "Lord I have cried", Tone 4)

Answers to Questions about </FONTMatt 14:22-34 - Jesus Walking on the Water (9sunape)

ANSWER 1

St John Chrysostom answers this question well:

"To teach us, that loneliness and retirement is good, when we are to pray to God. With this view, you see, He is continually withdrawing into the wilderness, and there often spends the whole night in prayer, teaching us earnestly to seek such quietness in our prayers, as the time and place may confer. For the wilderness is the mother of quiet; it is a calm and a harbor, delivering us from all turmoils." (Chrysostom HOMILY L. MATT. XIV. 23, 24)

ANSWER 2

At an earlier time, the Apostles were with Jesus in a boat that was beset by a storm, while Jesus was asleep. The Apostles were terrified, and woke Jesus, saying "Lord, save us: we perish." (Matt 8:25). The Evangelist reports their amazement: "... the men marveled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!" (Mat 8:27)

This event, chronicled in Matthew 8:23-27 was much earlier in Jesus' ministry. At this time, the Apostles were still unformed, and weak in faith. They were terrified in a boat with the God-man right beside them, because they did not really understand all things about Him yet. Jesus taught them and strengthened their faith gradually, by degrees, and in the same way teaches us. Later, when their faith was stronger, and able to endure more, He allowed the Apostles to flounder in the waves an entire night without him, because they were ready for this greater test.

"He Himself then went up thither with this object, but the disciples are tossed with the waves again, and undergo a storm, equal even to the former. But whereas before they had Him in the ship when this befell them, now they were alone by themselves. Thus gently and by degrees He excites and urges them on for the better, even to the bearing all nobly. Accordingly we see, that when they were first near that danger, He was present, though asleep, so as readily to give them relief; but now leading them to a greater degree of endurance, He doth not even this, but departs, and in mid sea permits the storm to arise, so that they might not so much as look for a hope of preservation from any quarter; and He lets them be tempest tossed all the night, thoroughly to awaken, as I suppose, their hardened heart." (Ibid.)

ANSWER 3

The night was divided into four "watches" of 3 hours each. The last watch was just before dawn, at the end of a long night. The long duration of the Apostles' all night struggles should teach us that we also must endure temptations a long time, with patience and faith. Our society teaches us to believe in "quick fixes" and to love comfort and an easy way of life, but none of these things are compatible with the Christian way of life.

"And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved." (Mat 10:22)

ANSWER 4

Immediately previous to constraining His disciples to get into a ship, Jesus had fed a multitude with five loaves and two fishes. The Jews had a very carnal view of the Messiah. They expected Him to be a King who would crush all their enemies, such as the hated Romans. An army needs significant supplies, especially food, in order to wage a war. The miracle of the loaves gave them confidence that they could crush the Romans, and they desired to make Jesus their king. Jesus fled from them for this reason.

"Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world. {15} When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone. " (John 6:14-15)

ANSWER 5

The Church has always used the image of the boat as a metaphor for the Church herself. When we are within the boat, we are safe, even though beset by waves. The sides of the boat are the rules and canons of the church, the disciples represent all Christians, and the stormy sea is our life.

ANSWER 6

The Evangelist reports that:

"And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. {29} And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus." (Mat 14:28-29)

Peter, OF HIS OWN WILL, asked to leave the boat and come to Jesus. Jesus allowed him to do this, and the result was very instructive for us. We must strive to do things not of our own will, no matter how honorable our intentions, but always seek God's will. We must not take our ability to do something as God's permission and blessing.

ANSWER 7

Peter left the boat with holy zeal, and the best of intentions. After walking for a bit, a strange thing happened: "But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me." (Mat 14:30) Peter began to look at his external circumstances, and he who was walking on the tempestuous and dangerous sea, feared the wind, and much lesser danger. He only began to sink when he became afraid of the wind. So it is with human nature. We sometimes fear lesser things because of the frailty of our nature, and lose our faith.

ANSWER 8

The only way to be saved is to remain in the Ark, that is the Holy Church. The Christian life is much more than a set of beliefs; it is membership in the body of Christ, and a way of life. The Holy Spirit has clearly marked the path for us; we need only to follow it with faith. Anytime we choose our own way, rather than the way of life handed down to us, we venture out onto the waves of life without any protection. Alas, it seems that the major reason why people make little progress in the Christian life is because of their pride and self-will, which constantly whispers to them another way.

ANSWER 9

After a great miracle, Jesus retired to a mountain to pray. Is this not to teach us to seek after God with all our heart, and to rid ourselves of distractions? While Jesus was on the mountain, the disciples were beset by a great storm, during the night, when men are most afraid. The God-man was protecting them, although He was not with them in the boat. So it is with us, who are protected by God, although we do not always perceive His presence.

The boat which protected the disciples from the waves represents the church, and the Christian way of life. If we remain in the boat, that is, if we live as the Holy Spirit has revealed through the mind of the church, we are protected from the stormy waves of this temporal life.

The disciples battled the storm through the long night, and only near dawn did Jesus come to them. We must battle our passions throughout our whole life, and our full reward only comes at the end, after we have endured.

"Meanwhile the ship which carries the disciples, that is, the Church, is tossed and shaken by the tempests of temptation; and the contrary wind, that is, the devil her adversary, rests not, and strives to hinder her from arriving at rest. But greater is "He who maketh intercession for us." For in this our tossing to and fro in which we toil, He giveth us confidence in coming to us, and strengthening us; only let us not in our trouble throw ourselves out of the ship, and cast ourselves into the sea. For though the ship be in trouble, still it is the ship. She alone carrieth the disciples, and receiveth Christ. There is danger, it is true, in the sea; but without her there is instant perishing. Keep thyself therefore in the ship, and pray to God. For when all counsels fail, when even the rudder is unserviceable, and the very spreading of the sails is rather dangerous than useful, when all human help and strength is gone, there remains only for the sailors the earnest cry of entreaty, and pouring out of prayer to God. He then who grants to sailors to reach the haven, shall He so forsake His own Church, as not to bring it on to rest?" (Blessed Augustine, Sermon 25 on the Gospels, Matthew 14:24,)

ANSWER 10

Peter's great zeal and love for the Lord prompted him to ask to leave the boat to join Him on the waves. This was actually a bad judgement on Peter's part, because his fledgling faith in the Lord could not withstand the wind, and he faltered. This event mystically foretells Peter's threefold denial of the Lord, after his firm promise that He would never deny him.

"Redeeming the Time" is an almost weekly Journal of St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, Dallas Texas. Distribute this text if you wish, but only if attribution and all contact information are included. I would appreciate being contacted if any large-scale use of this text is desired. All unsigned or unattributed portions © 1998 Fr Seraphim Holland. All rights reserved

Address: 2102 Summit, McKinney TX 75071

Phone: 972 529-2754

Email: seraphim@orthodox.net

Some of the Items available on the St Nicholas Web Page:

All back issues of Redeeming The Time

http://www.orthodox.net/redeeming

Thoughts on the Sunday Gospels (homilies)

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons

Questions and Answers about Orthodoxy

  • A frequently growing list of over 30 sets of 10 questions with answers about the Scriptures, Orthodox Doctrines, feast days, liturgics, etc.

http://www.orthodox.net/questions

Complete ROCOR Parish directory

http://www.rocor.org/directory/parishes


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Russian Orthodox Church
of St Nicholas
Dallas, Texas
Phone: 972 529-2754
Priest Seraphim Holland

nicholas@orthodox.net
Web Editor:
Fr. Seraphim Holland
Email:
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Phone:
972/529-2754
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2102 Summit, McKinney TX 75071, USA

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