- Yesterday’s service commemorated the exile of Adam from Paradise. The gospel reading (Matthew 6:14 – 21) of the day gave to us clear direction from Christ which can be summed up as the “three F’s”– forgiveness, fasting and faith. Today, we begin Great Lent – the Day of atonement, reflection and prayer. So, how are they all connected?
- Let us go back to the beginning – even before the creation itself. We know that God preordained everything. That there is a divine plan and for every beginning there must be an end which is known to God. As Christ reminds us: ” I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end” (Rev 22:13).
- Here is the great news! God thought that we are so worthwhile that despite our failings, our sins, our flaws our selfishness and our exile we were worthwhile persevering with. Indeed, his son is prepared to and does lay down his life so that we can be saved. This is our highly God thinks of us: “for God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16).
- But salvation is a co-activity between God and man. So, what is our part? That is where we now need to look to the “three F’s”. Without each one of us making an effort how can we be possibly saved? Christ himself says “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” why? He himself provides the answer: “for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”.
- So, during this coming Lenten period of fasting, prayer and forgiveness let each and every one of us hold fast on to the one central thought: God in his wisdom continues to persevere with us so He continues in his patient love awaiting our repentance and return – even though we may not be able to see it – for after all we have the mark of God within for “God created man in His Own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Gen 1:27). If God is with us, who should we fear!
- The program for Lent will be as follows:
- Compline: 3:15 PM to 4:15 PM (or thereabouts) on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays;
- Salutation to the Mother of God: Fridays 6:45 PM to 8 PM;
- Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts: 7:30 AM Wednesdays and Fridays;
- Adult Education Class Tuesday 6:45 PM;
- Saturday morning from 7:45 AM matins in Greek and from 9 AM divine liturgy in English.
- This Grace Bishop Nikandros is making a pastoral visit to Perth his itinerary is Friday evening from 7 PM salutations at the church of the Annunciation; Sunday morning divine from 8 AM liturgy at St Constantine and Helene and Sunday evening Vespers at the Monastery from 6 PM.
Around our church
- Our food store requires the following : two minute noodles; short grain rice; canned tomatoes; oil (vegetable and olive); spaghetti both packets and shapes; canned fish and sugar).
- To those who may not be aware our parish of St Nektarios as a radio programme in Greek broadcast on 6 EBA FM each Friday from 6 PM to 7 PM, during which program I speak in Greek generally on the coming Sunday’s gospel.
- Also note that from Thursday, 21 March I will be commencing in English on behalf of St Nektarios to be known as “The Hour of Orthodoxy”. The purpose of the program is to declare to the world (and we will be live streaming on the net as well as being broadcast) just what treasure we have in our Orthodox faith. The program will be from 2 PM to 3 PM and repeated each Tuesday from 5 PM to 6 PM. There will be a talkback segment – so it promises to be lively. Please support it.
Thought of the week
From the Psalmist: the Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is a stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (27:1) which finds a response in Isiah: “fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand” (41:10)… Have a blessed 40 day fast.
Till next time.
Father John Athanasiou 0411 061 554