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From the Weekly Bulletin (week of June 6, 2010)

posted Jun 8, 2010, 12:44 PM by Ilya Buchkin
       Today was Amy Jongeling's last day with us before she relocates to New York to continue her medical residency at Columbia University.  We will miss Amy's contributions to our mission, some of which include her choir leadership, her Sunday Scool teaching and her organization of our week-long staffing of the Overflow Homeless Shelter this past winter.  Many years to you, Amy!
June Parish Council Meeting-
       Our June Parish Council meeting will be held on Monday, June 14 at 7PM.  All are welcome to attend. 
New Pamphlets in the Narthex-
       Recently, we have added to the selection of pamphlets in the literature racks in the narthex.  Topics include the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Church Etiquette, Inner Beauty and Modesty, the Five Stages of Sin, The Road out of Sin, the Problem of Evil (or "If God is Good Why Do Bad Things Happen"), and St. Xenia of St. Petersburg. Please take and read whatever looks interesting to you and then share with others.  We also now have some church "business" cards available in the narthex.  Anyone can carry around a few of these, and if in conversation with someone, the subject of St. Raphael Church comes up, and you feel it is appropriate to share with them a little information about our church, handing them one of these cards is an easy way to do so.
Apostles' Fast-
       In memory of the Holy Apostles and their suffering and labor, we began the Apostles' Fast on May 31 and continue until the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul on June 29th.  Please ask Fr. Ignatius if you have any questions about fasting. 
When to Call the Priest (Adapted from Fr. John Peck)-
       Many are confused about when they should call the parish priest in the many events of life. Calling the priest is necessary to maintain the bond of love in our community and to bring the Grace of God into our lives through the Holy Sacraments. The priest should be aware of the spiritual and physical needs of all our families in order to be the pastor. The priest should not be seen as “too busy”!  He is here to shepherd us and his first priority is the people of the parish.  Should any of the following needs or situations arise, call Fr. Ignatius at 319-400-7522 or email him at frignatius@straphaelorthodoxchurch.org:

Whenever you, or someone you know, needs prayer

Whenever there is a major medical procedure or visit to the hospital

Whenever there is an emergency room visit to the hospital (before, or during, not only after please!)

Whenever a family member is close to death or has a life threatening illness

When a baby is born

Prior to a medical procedure- ask to be anointed at the end of the Divine Liturgy

Prior to a major travel event- ask for travel prayers at the end of the Divine Liturgy

When a family is making a major family decision- advice can be sought

When opening a new office, moving to a new home or you buy a new car

When getting engaged or making marriage plans

When you are having struggles with the Faith

When you would like to schedule time for confession

When you would like to have a pastoral visit

When you have questions about the Faith

When you have a conflict with someone that you cannot resolve

Whenever you have an unexpected trip to the hospital or spend the night in the hospital

When you need help with funeral plans (everyone does)

When you have a question about the Scriptures

When you have a question about God

When you have a question about yourself      

63rd Annual Midwest Diocese Parish Life Conference-
       Hosted by St. George Cathedral of Toledo, OH, laity and clergy from around our diocese will gather June 30-July 4 for the 2010 Parish Life Conference at the Hilton Garden Inn in Perrysburg, OH.  This year's conference will feature speakers Fr. Thomas Hopko and Dr. Albert Rossi and much more.  For more information, go to http://www.midwestplc2010.org/  
Sacred Music Institute-
       The 25th Annual Antiochian Archdiocese Sacred Music Institute will be held at the Antiochian Village in Western Pennsylvania from July 28-August 1.  If you are interested in learning more about Orthodox Church music, this is an excellent opportunity.  For more information, go to http://www.antiochian.org/sacred_music_institute
Thoughts on Stewardship-
        Ephesians 5:23-27, 29- “For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, His body, and Himself the Savior.  As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands.  Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.  For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church.”         

Ask yourself the following- "What does this message from God require from me, His loyal servant?”   What must I change in my life to be able to follow this teaching in both word and in deed?”
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.   
Holy Bread and Coffee Hour-
       On Sunday, June 13, the Abuissa family will provide the holy bread.  Thank you in advance.  Anybody who would like to bake the holy bread can sign up to do so.  We do not have anyone signed for most of the rest of the year.  Please look at the sign-up sheet, and put your name down as you are able.  Food and clean-up for coffee hour will be provided by the St. Raphael team.
Church Cleaning-
       During the week following Sunday, June 13, the St. John the Baptist team will be responsible for cleaning the nave, narthex, stairs and bathrooms of the church.
Food For Thought-
One of the stories that have proved troubling to students of Holy Scripture over the years is the account of Uzzah, who stretched forth his hand to steady the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark, we recall, was being carried by ox cart in order to be installed at David’s projected new shrine at Jerusalem. Some obstacle, however, perhaps a bump in the road, caused the oxen to lurch, nearly upsetting the cart and putting the Ark in danger. The Bible describes the scene:

“Uzzah put out his hand to the Ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. Then the anger of the Lord was aroused against Uzzah, and God struck him there for his error; and he died there by the Ark of God” (2 Samuel 6:6-7).

The shock of readers is surely understandable. Wasn’t Uzzah’s sudden reaction, after all, simply an instinctive response to save the dignity of the Ark? To the extent that we can even describe his deed as intentional, wasn’t that intention good and honorable? How is it, then, that the all-seeing Lord, the God who searches hearts, did not look favorably on what Uzzah did? Shouldn’t he have been rewarded rather than punished

The problem is not a recent one, and readers of the Bible have pondered it for centuries. For example, the Jewish historian Josephus, writing about the same time as some New Testament authors, explained that Uzzah was struck dead for touching the Ark,

“since he was not a priest” (me on hierus — Antiquities of the Jews

This explanation of Josephus is based on prescriptions in Numbers 4, which lists the duties of priests and Levites in regard to the treatment and transportation of the Ark.

This interpretation of the event, which does not necessarily imply a conscious moral failing on the part of Uzzah, is essentially sound, I believe. The Ark of God was very holy, and holiness is dangerous. Uzzah was hurt when he touched something holy.

In this respect it is important to reflect how little we know about the divina, the things of God. The little we do know will prompt us, surely, to be cautious in how we handle them, even in our minds.

The things of God are not what we want or imagine them to be. God Himself determines what they are, and God has not the slightest concern for our own interpretations of them. Their holiness is real, objective, and even physical.

Holiness is likewise not dependent on man’s recognition of it. It resembles electricity in this respect. The trespasser who is electrocuted when climbing too high on a high voltage tower perishes without regard to his own understanding of what he is about, or his innocent intentions, or his personal theories concerning electricity.

David learned this lesson about holiness from the death of Uzzah. Consequently, when the Ark was later returned to Jerusalem, it was borne, not by ox cart, but on the shoulders of the Levites, as it was supposed to be and as God had prescribed (1 Chronicles 15:2,15; Deuteronomy 10:8; 31:25; 1 Samuel 6:15).

David perceived what must be perceived by any who would approach the living God in worship–God decides the nature, structure, and spirit of the worship. Our religious feelings—whether by private or corporate preference–do not determine how we worship. The content and form of our worship has been established, rather, by the inherited, authoritative transmission of the worship itself. We hand it on as we have received it. We do not take it upon ourselves to give form to the worship. If we are faithful, the worship gives form to us, and the example of Uzzah instructs us on the peril of acting otherwise.

Correct (“orthodox”) worship is not the uninformed, spontaneous outpouring of human activity, and the worshipper must be on guard against identifying his personal impulses with the agency of the Holy Spirit.

Undisciplined, off-the-cuff people are far more likely to act under the impulse of suspect and impure spirits than under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. For this reason, mere spontaneity and a “sense of fulfillment” in worship are not adequate nor reliable indications of the agency of the Holy Spirit.

David perceived that correct worship is not chiefly concerned with meeting the religious needs and aspirations of human beings, but with the glory of God, which is inseparable from His holiness. The fundamental ground of true worship is not the religious nature of man, but the glorious manifestation of God. Indeed, any worship that is not a response to God’s Self-revelation must of necessity be idolatrous, the worship of something that man himself creates from the resources of his own religious nature.

For worship to be authentic and true, therefore, God Himself takes the initiative.

God must be revealed in order for man to worship correctly, and God determines how He is to be worshipped.

Otherwise, man is simply worshipping the works of his own hands, the thoughts of his own mind. Orthodox worship does not consist in the attempt to express man’s religious aspirations, but in meeting, in faith, the manifestation of God in His truth. If man thinks to worship God without rules and rubrics, heaven only knows what he is up to.

"The Objective Nature of Holiness" by Fr. Patrick Reardon as published by The Preacher's Institute at