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From the Weekly Bulletin (week of August 1, 2010)

posted Sep 7, 2010, 1:16 AM by Ilya Buchkin
Nightly Services During Dormition Fast-
       Beginning August 1, there will be nightly services (usually the Paraklesis Service at 7PM) until August 14.  Please consider taking time to attend some of these.  They are a good way to recharge and be refreshed spiritually. 
 
Free Lunch Program-
       We will minister to our community by serving food at the Free Lunch Program on Tuesday, August 3 from 11:30AM-1:30PM.  Please contact Fr. Ignatius if you are able to participate in this good work.
 
Blood Drive-
       The Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center will be receiving blood donations at the Choices Medical Clinic (821 S. Gilbert St.) on Wednesday, August 4 from 3PM-6PM.  Call 337-0575 to reserve your time.  They advise you to eat before donating and to bring a photo ID. 
 
Vesperal Liturgy for Transfiguration-
       We will gather at 6PM on Thursday, August 5 to celebrate the feast of the Transfiguration of Christ with a Vesperal Liturgy.
 
Holy Bread-
       We need a volunteer to provide the holy bread for next Sunday, August 8. 
 
Save the Date!-
       Bishop MARK will be with us in Iowa City for our patronal feast day November 5-7.  We will have multiple services during the weekend, including both on that Saturday and (of course) Sunday morning.  As we get closer to the date, more details of the schedule will be made available.  Please reserve this weekend on your calendar to be available to be with Bishop MARK and the rest of the faithful of our mission. 
 
Dormition Fast-
       In order to properly prepare for the great feast of the Dormition, when we celebrate the falling asleep of the Holy Theotokos, we have now entered into a short season of fasting which lasts from August 1-14.  Please speak with Fr. Ignatius is you have any questions about this fasting period.
 
Spiritual Retreat at New Gracanica Monastery-
       This retreat has been cancelled due to low registration numbers.  The monastery hopes to host a similar retreat next summer.
 
Baptism of Lucia Johnson-
       All are invited to witness the baptism of Lucia Johnson at 9AM on Sunday, August 15.  The baptism will replace the matins service that day. 
  
Thoughts on Stewardship-
        “One of my earliest childhood memories is of piling into the back of our family car on Sunday morning and heading off to our little Baptist church in Klamath Falls, Oregon. Along with ensuring that my brother and I were properly cleaned and dressed for the occasion, my father would always drop several coins into our hands, so that we in turn could drop them into the offering plate at church. Tithing was something Dad faithfully practiced all his life, and he wanted to make sure his sons followed suit. Having lived with this tradition for so long, and loving it so much, it is hard for me now to stop and look at it objectively. But since the concept has become somewhat an object of debate today, I would like to examine both the myth and the realities behind this practice, and to follow the trail of the tithe.” 
- Fr. Thomas Zell, "The Trial of the Tithe", Again, Fall 2005
      
Do You Have a Prayer Request?
       Please give it to Fr. Ignatius and he will distribute it by email to all those on the Prayer Chain.  If you wish to join the Prayer Chain, please let Fr. Ignatius know. 
 
Coffee Hour-
       On Sunday, August 8, the St. Raphael team is responsible for bringing food for coffee hour and for cleaning up the fellowship hall afterward. 
 
Church Cleaning-
       During the week following Sunday, August 8, the St. John the Baptist team will be responsible for cleaning the nave, narthex, stairs and bathrooms of the church.
 
Food For Thought-
 
[T]he first and only commandment by God is to love God Himself with all our heart.  Subsequently, whatever we do in church, has this precise purpose.  And that is why we go to pilgrimages, why we fast, why we pray, why we go to confession, why we light candles, why we read the lives of the saints, why we do everything: it is our way of loving Christ.
 
Now, where is the mistake?  The mistake is that unfortunately, we say that we do all these things in order to become good people...to become better people...and that is where the big hoax lies.  It is the step that we all stumble over.  Because, if the purpose of the church was just to make us better people, then there wouldn't be any need for a personal relationship with Christ, nor would there be any reason for Christ to have come to the world.  Why do you think we aren't able to understand the saints?  Or, to say something simpler, why can't we understand those who love God?
 
We tend to say "is it necessary to do this thing in order to be saved- to be near to God?  Is it necessary- let's say- to depart to the mountains?  Must we go and do all these things?"  Of course not.  It is not a neccessity.  If we could understand that our relationship with God is not only for the sake of salvation, but is a relationship of love, only then will we understand the saints also and why they did the things they did (which can't be intepreted rationally).  This is because love transcends logic....
 
[T]he church does not teach us just to become good people- not in the least.  It is only natural, that we have to become good people, because if we don't, then what have we succeeded in doing?  These are nursery school things.  Our Church teaches us to love Christ- to love the person of our Lord Jesus Christ.
 
Inside the church, a relationship develops.  It is a personal relationship between man and Christ; not with the teaching of Christ- no- not with the Gospel.  The Gospel is something that helps us reach the point of loving Christ.  When we reach that point of loving Christ, the Gospel will no longer be needed.  Nothing will be needed...all these things will cease...only man's relationship with God will remain.  That is the difference between the Church and religion.
 
Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol, Cyprus- excerpted from "Curing the Sickness of Pharisaism"- a transcribed recorded homily, emphasis in original transcript
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