December 2, 2013

Psalm 36

For with Thee is the fountain of life, and in Thy light shall we see light.
Continue Thy mercy unto those who know Thee.
Psalm 36:9-10 (Great Doxology)

This psalm paints a vivid contrast between the dark, secretive and narrow self-interest of sin, and the light-filled, cosmic, all-embracing goodness of God.

Verses 1-4 speaks of the inner mechanics of sin that “speaks to the wicked deep in his heart.” We are all that person, though we like to hide that ugliness from everyone, including ourselves. “He flatters himself that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated.”

And then the rest of the psalm lifts up the goodness of God, who refuses to be hemmed in or to limit His generosity. “Thy steadfast love extends to the heavens…man and beast Thou savest.” We tend to shrink the household of God, but the Lord looks to include all human beings and His entire creation. “How precious is Thy steadfast love, O God! The children of men take refuge in the shadow of thy wings. They feast [they shall be drunk, LXX] on the abundance of Thy house.”

This abundance offered “to all the people” is precisely the good news that filled the heavens on Christmas night when the angels first sang the opening words of the Great Doxology: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will to men” (Luke 2:14).

God grant that in our continuing personal battles with self-interest and sin the Lord will open our eyes more and more to see as He sees, that in His light to we may see light.

Chancery Update

His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon and Father Leonid Kishovsky (Director of External Affairs) will be attending a lunch today with other Orthodox leaders at the invitation of Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, in celebration of the feast of Saint Andrew. The gathering will take place at the cardinal’s residence at St Patrick’s Cathedral.

The Pension Board will be coming in for a meeting tomorrow, and the Pre-conciliar Commission will meet for the first time tomorrow and Wednesday to begin planning the 2015 All-American Council in Atlanta.

Day 8: Recruiting 300 Stewards for the Orthodox Church in America

Metropolitan Philaret of Minsk and Belarus presents relics of St Euphrosinia of Polotsk to Metropolitan Tikhon as Bishop Alexander looks on (July, 2013)

One of the key ministries supported by the Stewards is the Office of External Affairs and Interchurch Relations. Bishop Alexander is the chair of the Office, and Father Leonid Kishkovsky is the long-time director.

From the beginning of the Christian Church it was essential to the building up of the Body of Christ that good relations be fostered between churches around the world. It is striking that even in times of persecution, war and travel difficulties the churches have always sought each other out for councils, meetings and personal contacts.

The OCA’s Office of External Affairs maintains and coordinates relations with Orthodox Churches in North America and with the sister Orthodox Churches throughout the world. It also coordinates its work with the Assembly of Orthodox Bishops. The Office maintains official dialogues with other religious and ecumenical communities and agencies and establishes and maintains regular communications with various government and non-government organizations and agencies.

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I hope you will consider adding your name as a Steward of the Orthodox Church in America (a list of Stewards will be published on the last day of this campaign, December 13th, the feast of Saint Herman of Alaska). To find out more about this effort to recruit stewards please see Thank you for your support!