The Holy Fire from the Lord's Tomb in Jerusalem was brought to St Herman's and burns on our altar and on our "Golgotha" Table.
DONATIONS FOR FLOWERS to decorate the Tomb of Our LORD have been given in memory of (Check for accuracy):
William & Kostandina Caris
Georgia & William Cohan
William & Mary Gay
Lawrence F Gregory
Kaye & Clark Henrikson
Robert B Johnson
Russell & Florence Joseph
Helen & Dean Kossaris
Jim & Marlene Kuzma
Frank & Helen Leschak
Mark & Ruth McIntyre
Walter & Melba Rinker
Harold & Gloria Rossow
Fay & Verleen Sams
Roy & Goldie Sams
Lee & Ethel Sams
Evangellos & Chariclia Savvas
Jim D. & Dorothy Savvas
Bob & Lillian Slater
Walter & Geneva Smith
Louis & Areta Thomas
Bill & Nicki Thomas
David & Jan Wesche
Kenneth & Pearl Wesche
Charlie & Lola Williams
Vern & Sarah Williams
Donations for flowers as a memorial to departed loved ones may be given to John, our treasurer.
MEOCCA BRIDEGROOM MATINS are served at 4 pm today here at St Herman’s! SINGERS ARE WELCOME (even singers with children!) to sing in the MEOCCA choir this afternoon. Please come to the 3 pm rehearsal.
DELICIOUS FISH DINNER following the Matins service this afternoon. Still accepting volunteers to help with set-up, serving and clean-up. Talk to Miriam!
HOLY WEEK & PASCHA NOTES:
- We need 12 Candle Holders for the evening service of great and holy Thursday. Be here at 650 pm to get your instructions.
- At Agape Vespers on Pascha afternoon, we read the Gospel in as many different languages as we have people who can read the Gospel in a different language. See Fr Paul to read the Pascha Agape Vespers Gospel in your favorite foreign language!
- All are invited to Joe & Billie’s after Pascha Vespers next Sunday. Agape Vespers are at 4 pm.
CONGRATULATIONS TO our newly baptized and chrismated “children” of God: Dan, Marisa, Vivian, Lauren, Howard, Blake, Matthew, Robert, Dawn, Lisette, and Joe!
CONFESSIONS: if you’ve not yet given your confession, please speak with Fr Paul about when he may be available to hear it. Holy Unction presupposes confession. Make every effort, then, to give your confession before Holy Unction on Wednesday evening to receive that sacrament.
RED-DYED EASTER EGGS for Pascha Night! We ask each family to bring one dozen hard-boiled, red-dyed eggs to be placed in a basket at the foot of the ambo on Pascha Night. They are a symbol of the Resurrection—going back to a story told of Mary Magdalene. They are distributed to each of the faithful at the conclusion of the service.
RESTRICTIONS placed by Presbytera’s employer on summer vacations means Fr Paul & Presbytera will take their summer road trip after Pascha. They will return from vacation on May 26. We’ll be served by Fr Thaddeus (May 5) and Fr John Schroedel (May 12 & 19).
SUMMER IN THE LIBRARY is what we call adult ed in the summertime. We’ll talk on: “Male, Female, Erotica and the Image of God,” beginning June 2.
TWO YAL RETREATS. 1. May 3-5 at the St. Iakovos Retreat Center. Led by Paul Karos. 2. May 17-19 at the Karos Cabin. $20 registration fee. Call Fr Jason Houck: 612-825-9595.
On the First Sunday of Great Lent, we read from John 1. The LORD says to Nathaniel: “Hereafter, you will see the heavens open and the angels of God descending and ascending on the Son of Man.” (Jn 1:51) The heavens opening refers to the LORD’s Baptism at the Jordan, and to His Ascension. The angels descending and ascending refers to the LORD’s Cross as well as to the Theotokos; for they are the “Ladder” by which God descends to earth and again ascends to Heaven.
But, the LORD’s WORD to Nathaniel goes back to Jacob’s dream in Genesis: “And Jacob dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth [this is the Cross of the Savior], and the top of it reached to heaven [Mt 27:51, “And behold, the curtain of the temple (hiding the sanctuary where earth and heaven meet) was split from the top to the bottom [from heaven down to hell]; and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. And behold, the LORD stood above it and said, ‘I am the LORD God of Abraham your father, and the God of Isaac. The land whereon you lie, to you will I give it and to your seed…And Jacob waked out of his sleep, and he said: Surely, the LORD is in this place and I did not know it…It is the house of God, the gate of heaven. And Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillow, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it. And he called the name of that place Bethel (House of God).” (Gn 28:12-19)
The stone Jacob anoints with oil is the Christ, the Messiah, the “Anointed” Stone the builders rejected, that became the Cornerstone, buried outside the city (Mt 21:39), of the New Temple whose veil, the risen Body of the Savior or His Church, stretches from hell up to heaven. The Cornerstone, then, is the crucified, dead and buried, risen and ascended Body of Christ, the Foundation of His Church – and we are the living stones the LORD is making smooth (through the trials and afflictions of this life) that He may use us in the building of His Church. We are, perhaps, the living stones that have become the children of God, crying out because Israel would not: “Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the LORD! [the Cross].” He comes to open the Doors of the “land,” the Kingdom of Heaven He promised to give to Jacob and to the nations, the Gentiles, who would be blessed in his Seed, the LORD Jesus Christ, the Seed of Abraham (Gal 3:16).
This reading from the First Sunday of Lent, then, looks ahead to Lazarus Saturday (the end of Great Lent), to Palm Sunday and to Great and Holy Friday, when we read from Ezekiel 37:1-14, the vision of the valley of dry bones, in front of the LORD’s Tomb after we have come back in and passed under the epitaphios or the plashchanitsa or the shroud – the icon of the corpse of God – that we carried with us, like the Israelites carrying the Ark, when we processed three times around the Church. These readings thus enclose as in the Ark—icon of the Theotokos—the whole of Lent and Holy Week within the fulfillment of the prophets. Our reading from Ezekiel concludes with this WORD of the LORD: “I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves [think the raising of Lazarus. It is the last miracle Jesus performs before His Passion. It is the definitive sign by which He reveals His identity as the God incarnate who heals, by His own death and resurrection, Israel of her idolatry and raises all mankind to life from the death caused by our idolatry]. I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land [the Garden of Eden].”
This only skims the surface of the depths of the vision of the glorious mysteries of Christ. Most eloquent orators are rendered mute as fish when they try to speak of your mysteries, O Theotokos – Mother of Our LORD Jesus Christ, our God and Savior! So we hear in the Akathist Hymn to the Theotokos. Let’s not depend on the orators, then. Let’s listen to the WORD of God and let the WORD of God be our teacher. The Church is proclaiming a sermon, the WORD of God, whose words – like radiant life-giving and healing beams of uncreated Light streaming from the Face of God, the Sun of Righteousness enthroned in the heavens, working salvation in the midst of the earth from within the mystery of His Sabbath Rest, the Tomb of His Saving Pascha – sound forth from end to end of the universe, following the beams of His Cross that stretch from top to bottom, from end to end of the universe. These words are the “stem” of the Savior’s humility and love, whose full blossom opens on the Cross from which He cried out with a “great voice” when He created the world in Light and Life, when He cried out to Lazarus, “Come forth!” when He cried out on the Cross, “It is finished!” To receive the Faith of the Church is to receive this inexpressible WORD of divine humility and love into one’s heart and soul. To unite oneself to Christ in the likeness of His death is to enter, body and soul, the mystery of His Tomb that opens on the other side onto the Garden of Eden in the Light and Life of His Holy Resurrection. Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Christ into His Tomb. Lose yourself for His sake that you might find yourself in His Tomb, in the deep that is beyond all things, the mystery of your own heart (Jer 17:9 Septuagint) that opens onto the Kingdom of Heaven in the glorious Resurrection of our LORD, God and Savior, Jesus Christ.