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Messages - J. Thomas Shelley

Your Turn / Re: Prostration during Worship
July 19, 2024, 11:42:00 PM
Quote from: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on July 19, 2024, 09:26:09 PMThe convenience of pews makes prostration inconvenient at most churches, i suppose. I wouldn't ask or expect it of our congregation. It would be something I'd do.

Prostration in worship of Christ, truly Present in the Precious Gifts albeit under the appearance of bread and wine is something which, believe it or not, varies among Orthodox jurisdictions--and largely due to Nave furnishing or lack thereof.

Most Greek parishes have pews.  Most Antiochian parishes have pews or interlocked chairs.

What to do?

Many--but by no means all--move discretely to the aisles in order to prostrate.

In my Greek parish this is further complicated by the fact that while the side aisles are carpeted the center aisle is marble. 

Prostration onto the cold marble floor (while devoid of potential "rug burns") is a full body assault.

Whenever possible I risk the "rug burns".

Kyrie eleison.
Your Turn / Re: Prostration during Worship
July 18, 2024, 01:45:52 PM
Quote from: David Garner on July 18, 2024, 10:46:01 AMI can't help with Lutheran customs, but we Orthodox generally increase prostrations during Lent, omit them entirely during Pascha, and during other seasons it tends to follow the feast (we prostrate for the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, as one example -- following the anti-Trisagion of that day, "Before Thy cross, we bow down in worship, O Master, and Thy Holy Resurrection we glorify.").

We Orthodox tend to do this more "Middle Eastern" style, as you have probably seen Muslims do it.  I believe the Western practice is to prostrate with the arms out to each side in the form of a cross.  For obvious reasons, this would be difficult to pull off if everyone in the parish does it.
The first Orthodox Priest to mentor me told me that "the Muslims stole that from the Orthodox".

In some jurisdictions and parishes triple prostrations are made before the Cross during the weekdays following the Lenten Sunday of the Cross, on Good Friday (beginning with the Orthros of the Twelve Passion Gospels sung by anticipation on Holy Thursday evening).  Some parishes encourage triple prostrations on the Sunday following the Sunday of the Cross but that practice is an outlier in which the local small "t" tradition is in conflict with the great Tradition.
Kyrie eleison for the living, including the millions of secondary victims who have witnessed this.

Memory Eternal for the attendee who took Trump's bullet.

Memory forgotten for the shooter.

* * *
Long ago I took to heart at statement by Lt.. Col. Dave Grossman "I never say the names of the shooters....they need to be forgotten;   I always say the names of their victims....they deserve to be remembered".

For example, with Columbine I never speak or write about H & K but I do honor Dave Sanders and Cassie Bagnall.
Μετὰ φόβου Θεοῦ, πίστεως καὶ ἀγάπης προσέλθετε.

With the fear of God, faith, and love, draw near.

(Deacon's acclamation while presenting the Chalice to the people just prior to Communion)
Your Turn / Re: Prayer for July 4th
July 06, 2024, 06:36:44 PM
Slavery existed north of the Mason-Dixon into the 19th Century.
Your Turn / Re: Preaching on Sunday?
July 05, 2024, 11:15:41 PM
Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on July 05, 2024, 07:20:41 PMI once heard a Lutheran speaker state that we should never read Romans 13 without also reading Revelation 13. While Paul sees the government as an agent of God; John describes the government as a "beast" that works in opposition to God. It "wages war against the saints." Both these texts are about the Roman government, but quite different pictures of it.

The Lutheran speaker may well have drawn his phrase from UMC Pr. Vernard Eller's The Most Revealing Book of the Bible.

Or maybe from Fr. Joseph McSorel;y.
Your Turn / Re: Prayer for July 4th
July 04, 2024, 08:13:46 PM
O Lord, save Thy people and bless Thine inheritance, granting to Thy people victory over all their enemies, and by the power of Thy Cross preserving Thy commonwealth.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Do Thou, Who of Thine own good will wast lifted up upon the Cross, O Christ our God, bestow Thy bounties upon the new Nation which is called by Thy Name; make glad in Thy might those who lawfully govern, that with them we may be led to victory over our adversaries, having in Thine aid a weapon of peace and a trophy invincible.

Both now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

O Champion dread, who cannot be put to confusion, despise not our petitions, O Good and All-praised Theotokos; establish the way of the Orthodox; save those who have been called upon to govern us, leading us to that victory which is from heaven, for thou art she who gavest birth to God, and alone art blessed.

+ + +
These "Royal Troparia" are said at the beginning of every Orthodox Orthros exeept during Bright Week.
Your Turn / Re: Preaching on Sunday?
July 02, 2024, 11:27:20 PM
Time for an east of the Bosporus perspective.

Our Pascha was May 5, our Pentecost was June 23.   So on Sunday we will be serving the Second Sunday after Pentecost in our one-year lectionary..

Epistle:Galatians. 3:23 – 29; 4:1 – 5
Brethren, before faith came, we were confined under the law, kept under restraint until faith should be revealed. So that the law was our custodian until Christ came, that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a custodian; for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise. I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no better than a slave, though he is the owner of all the estate; but he is under guardians and trustees until the date set by the father. So with us; when we were children, we were slaves to the elemental spirits of the universe. But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

Gospel:Matthew. 4:18 – 23

At that time, as Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left their boat and their father, and followed him. And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every infirmity among the people.

Freedom in Christ requires synergy, our active participation, appropriation, and appreciation of the call of Christ.   

In the case of the Apostles that required leaving patterns and vocations of the past in order to uncover their new avocation of proclaiming the Kingdom with the same (and greater) signs and wonders as had their Lord (and ours).

Freedom in Christ also requires appreciation that our newly freed compatriots are a motly band comprised of people of diverse classes, former creeds, and conditions.

The common thread is that we must truly and unreservedly engage with the Paschal Mystery:  Die to the patterns, prejudices, and vocations of the past in order to experience Life in full abundance in the Kingdom of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Those who dare may compare and contrast the Kingdom with "the kingdoms of this world"....
Quote from: David Garner on June 29, 2024, 10:56:24 PM
Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on June 29, 2024, 04:59:14 PMOur Lutheran skepticism of these source has led us to be ambiguous about Mary's perpetual state.

First, not all Lutherans are skeptical of Mary's perpetual virginity.  Second and more to the point, if you are skeptical of her state due to your skepticism about the sources, it's only because you consider them sources in and of themselves rather than evidence of the true source, the Apostles and the Church.

Sola Scriptura turns to sand when one understands--and however reluctantly acknowledges-- that the canon of Scripture did not descend from Heaven like Moroni's or Mohamed's golden plates but was in fact established by the Councils of the Church.
Your Turn / Re: St. Lucia, Dec. 13
June 26, 2024, 06:26:44 PM
Kontakion of Martyr Lucia

Third Tone †

We extol with fervent love thy most illustrious contest,
and we praise and honour thee as a chaste virgin and victor;
for since thou didst seek the beauty of Christ and none else,
thou didst hate all things corruptible,
O wise Lucia.
Wherefore, when thou wast beheaded,
thou wast adorned with an incorruptible crown.

†Special melody "Awed by the Beauty" commonly known as "The Akathist Hymn"
As best as I can construct from contemporary practice borne of personal experience, there is a continuum

1) Baptized, believe in the Real Presence, and in every doctrine of the parish/Chuch:

Orthodox Christian, LCMS, and conservative Church of the Brethren

2) Baptized, believe in the Real Presence and in every doctrine of the parish /Church except for Orthodox Christians who are welcome anyway, especially if they are Married to Catholics:

Roman Catholic Church

3) Baptized, believe in the Real Presence:

Most Episcopalian and all Anglican (ACNA)
Most UMC (caveat that the Real Presence doctrine is fuzzy at best)

4) "Y'all come"

Some TEC
Some UMC

Modifications accepted without offense.
Your Turn / Re: Tschüss
June 22, 2024, 10:23:30 PM
Very sorry to see you go, and I personally will miss you greatly.

It seems that after becoming Orthodox I developed a deeper affinity for you and your LCMS brethren....makes me ponder the "alternative history" if Melancthon and the Patriarch had not "talked past each other.
Quote from: Charles Austin on June 20, 2024, 11:59:37 AMPastor Preus:
We live in the here and now; not back when Jesus shed his blood for us.  What happened then and there must be made present in the here and now.
Yes. That's what Roman Catholics taught us and what I always thought we Lutherans believed, although we didn't always put it into practice. Our Sunday celebrations are not just mm/dd/2024 at First Lutheran, Prettybird, Ohio, they are on Calvary and at the empty tomb and in the presence of the risen Lord.

That is a very Orthodox view of liturgical time...the perpetual now/today of all the acts of salvation.

Many Orthodox hymns on Great Feasts begin with "Today..."

Not nearly 2000 years ago but "Today is the beginning of our salvation...."
Quote from: Dan Fienen on June 19, 2024, 05:54:51 PM
Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on June 19, 2024, 03:52:00 PMWhile it is true that Jesus equates the bread with his body, he doesn't equate wine with his blood; but rather "the cup." Or, perhaps, the drinking of the wine in the cup, like the eating of the bread from the one loaf. His words may indicate that our actions of eating from one loaf and drinking from one cup are what constitutes his body and blood.
Since in this construal the eating from one loaf and drinking from one cup become essential elements of the sacrament, does that mean that when the sacrament is celebrated without these essential elements, the eating from one loaf, drinking from one cup (could communal drinking from one cup of coffee count?), would celebrating the Lord's Supper using individual hosts or individual cups be invalid i.e. not the sacrament? How about shutin communion? Would the leftover loaf of bread need to used, the same cup with the same contents for that to be a valid communion?

And how does this intersect with  Augustana VII "...and the Sacraments administered rightly"?

Your Turn / Re: the Great Dechurching...Quote
June 17, 2024, 09:53:25 PM
Quote from: PrTim15 on June 17, 2024, 09:00:17 PMCongratulations always a time of great rejoicing, you'll be the trend breaker for the Church. 40,000,000 have slipped away...
It is happening all across Orthodox congregations in America....every ethnic label is experiencing ;this
"seeker wave".

Youth Spiritual Awakening?
His Eminence Metropolitan Saba

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