Forgive me for not being with you today. Much to my horror, my retina (aka 'Old Reliable') came detached on Thursday, necessitating yet another surgery, my third, on Friday. The surgeon forbids me to serve this Sunday, but said I should be able to return to work (slowly) on the 18th. Please pray that this is so, and also that my retina stays attached. Otherwise I may have to be known as "Fr. Lawrence the one-eyed", which sounds a bit too much like a cyclops and may scare the children.
I have not much wisdom to share with you--just my still unalterable conviction that God never gives us more to carry than He knows we can bear. Our secular culture does its best to build into us the expectation that everything will always go smoothly--that retinas never detach, that we will never become sick, or that we will be easily and permanently healed when we do; that we will always have secure and well-paying jobs, that our marriages will be effortless, that nothing bad will ever happen to our children, that Oil of Olay and hair implants will keep women and men looking youthful until they die, unwrinkled and unbalding, at the age of 107.
It is, of course, a lie. All men until lately knew that in this age we are passing through a vale of tears; that health is precarious at best and soon gone, that life is uncertain and that earthly joys bloom like wildflowers and then vanish away. The wise did not entrust their souls and their happiness to anything in this age. The wise who were Christians entrusted their souls and their happiness to Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God. That is where our real security lies, and where our real and lasting joy awaits us. As St. Peter says, we will then "obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and unfading, reserved in heaven for us, who are protected by the power of God through faith, for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time" (1 Pt.
1:4-5). We are called to enjoy the blessings God gives us in this age, but to recognize them as the passing joys that they are, and as pledges of the eternal and unshakable joys to come. God has given us, even in this age, many good gifts: sight, good weather, music, chocolate, friendship, the laughter and noise of children, wine that gladdens the heart of man, the faces of those who love us. We accept these gifts into our open hands with thanksgiving. But we await with trembling hearts an even greater gift: the eternal weight of glory that Christ will bestow on the Last Day. That is our real treasure, and where our hearts should be even now.
Meanwhile, God never gives us more to carry than He knows we can bear. We are, it would seem, stronger than we sometimes think--especially if our burden makes us look to Him for the strength we need. When He loads us up, our knees (or at least my knees), sometimes buckle a bit. I wasn't quite expecting that much weight. But after a bit of buckling and moaning, we are required to get under the load and get on with our journey. It is a journey we should make with light hearts, for it is leading us straight into the arms of Jesus and the Kingdom of God.
all my love in the Lord,
Bulletin items Nov. 11
**IMPORTANT** This Wednesday marks the beginning of the Advent Fast. Please remember not to bring meat, dairy, or eggs to the Sunday Feast. Fish, however, is permitted during weekends.
There is a beautiful Hogwarts Gingerbread Castle made by Sandy Folster in the hall. We will be raffling it off to raise money for St. Arseny Camp. If you wish to purchase a ticket please speak to Dn. Kurt Jordan.
Services this week:
Wed. Nov. 14—Vespers 7 pm
Sat. Nov. 17—Vespers 7 pm