From the Pastor

Greetings in the month we celebrate the Independence of our Country from the tyranny of rulers who desired power and position rather than serving the people. Our Lord Jesus Christ, himself is the great liberator, for in emptying the tomb, it was a Declaration of Independence. Christ’s raising from death and his ascension into heaven declared him, and subsequently all of us, to be free from the shackles of the devil, the dominion of death, and the idea that life is all there is and then come death Freed from the curse of Satan, freed from the chains the squashed hopes and dreams, an eternity in the heavenly kingdom, our Lord’s Resurrection declares that there is no victory in death any longer, nor is there fear, nor even a sting to it. With his Resurrection, our Lord gave to us, what Jefferson wrote as part of the Declaration of Independence. “We have “unalienable rights, among these, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” in God. These “rights” as expressed by Jefferson, and offered by our Lord, are with us now and do not end in a graveyard, but continue to escort us into eternity.

As Orthodox Christians in this nation, for more than six generations, we share in the freedoms offered in the Declaration of Independence, but also the freedoms offered by our Lord. We have our beloved parish of St. George with worship and services, with festivals and gatherings, sharing our faith and our heritage as Americans. The freedom offered by our Lord and our determination to cherish and share it, has contributed to the vitality we have as a community of faith.

Our liberty in Christ frees us from the bondage of sin and death through the power of the Resurrection and the presence of the Holy Spirit.  As the Apostle Paul states in his Epistle to the Galatians, this liberty is to be led by the Spirit and should not be an opportunity to do the works of the flesh or fulfill selfish desires.  Instead, this freedom should produce and nurture the fruit of the Spirit, leading each person in love and acts of service toward others.

From our Declaration of Independence, we have an inherent right to exercise our choices for governmental leaders who will guide to the fulfillment of these freedoms articulated.  Civic engagement is an important facet of our lives, as we express concern for the social environment in which we live and for those with whom we share it.  This was a principle that was recognized by the founders of our country.  A democratic government and a stable and free society necessitate the active participation in the political and civic life of the nation.  They affirmed that participation should not be forced or coerced, but they also recognized that the well-being of the nation would be dependent on a robust and responsible engagement by the people.

From these given freedoms, we give thanks in each Divine Liturgy, and may we use both of these “freedoms” as an opportunity to participate fully in our faith and to share our faith with our friends and neighbors. To stop and take time to glorify our Lord and God for the sacrifice he endured for us. At the same time, we give thanks to the many who gave of their life, their fortune and their livelihood to secure these freedoms we enjoy, both in Christ and In our country. God bless America.

 May we all have:  The strength of Samson

             The prayerfulness of Hannah

             The wisdom of Solomon

             The heart of David

             The patience and integrity of Job

             The courage of Moses

             The prophetic voice of John the Baptist

             The humility of the Virgin Mary

             The love of Mary Magdalene

             The hope of the myrrh-bearing women

             The faith of Peter

             The perseverance of Paul

             The eloquence of Luke the Evangelist

             The boldness of John Chrysostom

             The peace of Seraphim of Sarov

             The zeal of St Innocent of Alaska.

             And the radical love and hospitality of Maria of Paris.

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