Friday, November 16, 2018

Byzimom's take on Advent- the Nativity Fast

"The Nativity Forty-day Fast represents the fast undertaken by Moses, who — having fasted for forty days and forty nights — received the Commandments of God, written on stone tablets. And we, fasting for forty days, will reflect upon and receive from the Virgin the living Word — not written upon stone, but born, incarnate — and we will commune of His Divine Body." - St. Symeon of Thessalonika (1381-1429 AD) 

It is clear that the fast is designed to prepare us both physically and spiritually for the coming of the Savior at Christmas.  We are asked to abstain from meat and dairy products, eggs and oil, just as we do during the Great Fast, but the rules are a bit less strict.  We may eat fish and are allowed oil and wine on Tuesdays, Thursdays and weekends, and on feast days such as the Presentation of the Theotokos and St. Nicholas day.  

Many of us haven't given the Nativity Fast our full attention over the years, partly because we haven't been aware it existed in certain regions.  Growing up, I didn't even realize it was a "thing"! 
Sadly, among my community here it has fallen into the category of "things the old people used to do", that is...until some of us decided to revive it.  What a wonderful tool the practice of fasting an be!  How well it aids us in growing closer to God!  If only people would try it!  That said,  I challenge those of you who are new to the idea to come along with us and take a second look at fasting with the Church this season.  Start slowly.  Add on from year to year, one step at a time, and grow in your fasting practice.  Its a good idea to begin together, as a family, building community with like-minded Christians who are striving right along with you." --- read Lynn's entire post at byzimom.com 

The Nativity Fast is here!

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Sunday, October 7, 2018

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society: a lovely movie for tens and adults

Image result for guernsey literary and potato peel pie society
ah Netflix.... clicking through the shows and movies....blech...meh.... saw it....blech- and then ahh! Perhaps this selection will be worthwhile! yes- this priest's wife- raised on the British shows on PBS 30 years ago... it was satisfying- perhaps a bit predictable- but lovely!

how to be a Christian in our nit-picky, negative world: a guest post by Judie Jolma

"I recently began studies for a Masters of Theology and was surprised by my impressions after the first class. Introduction to Theology was almost entirely apologetic in nature. Instead of embarking on a study to delve deeper into an understanding of what our hearts love, it was a defense - an argument - to prove our position‘s validity for those who don’t believe. Are we insecure in our belief? Do we think that love can be inspired by arguments? (Don’t mistake these comments as relativistic slop that does not demand holiness. That is not my point.) 
There is a place for apologetics, to be sure. But when so many encyclicals are specifically drafted for this cause it colors the nature of our faith. We have somehow abandoned our first love, abandoned the way of the lover in Song of Solomon who searches for the fairest of ten thousands, whose hands drip with myrrh. And this departure has come from the shepherds (hirelings) who lead us. Do our hearts faint being love-sick for our Lord, our bridegroom? Or do we live in a passionless faith where we choose sides like a political party? 

Do our faces shine because they reflect the light of the Father - like the moon reflecting the sun? Or do we live a cold, calculating faith inspecting the correctness of our brother’s beliefs? We worry about definitions and proper form. We check the boxes, and like the Pharisees thank God that we are not like that tax collector. 

The whole church needs a course correction. We are all guilty of the sin of the older brother in the story of the prodigal son. We need to abandon the notion that intimacy can be charted and measured. We need to stop running away from the negative and run toward the true, good and beautiful.

Put away these petty arguments. Pray like a lover. Reach out in the liturgy to touch the priest’s vestments and be healed of all that hurt that inspires you to fight and strive. Can’t we all see how much woundedness there is coming from each person around us? Hurting people hurt people. But only the lover sings.

Go to liturgy and sing."
---Judie Jolma 
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