A melting pot of my own random thoughts, stories, experiences, and quotes from smarter people than myself. The posts are intended to be light-hearted and humorous; just something to enjoy while explaining "A Day in the Life of the Youth Director."
For those interested, we've started an Orthodox Young Adult Book Club in Houston; this program is being hosted by Young Adult Ministries of Greater Houston. We are beginning this summer, Monday, June 11 at 7:00p at St George Antiochian Orthodox Church to receive our copies (graciously provided by St George Church), discuss the schedule, meeting locations, and a brief introduction of the book.
The concept is pretty basic, but I'm very excited about the prospects for this type of program. It takes a great deal of commitment (we plan to meet weekly) to discuss our book. Although, young adults are certainly busy with work, school, and family, we think its extremely important to take time to focus on our Faith. In addition to participating in the liturgical life of our parish communities throughout Greater Houston, as well as service projects and fellowship dinners, our Young Adult Ministries (YAM) group has decided to come together to learn more through reading a book and having discussions on the subjects described in that book.
Our first book choice for our Book Club is the classic work by Fr Alexander Schmemann, For the Life of the World. This book is one of my all-time favorites (I've read it quite a few times and always find inspiration from it). I hope that those joining us will enjoy the weekly reading "assignments," as well as our sessions together discussing its depth of knowledge and wisdom shared by its author, Fr Alexander. In my opinion, its subject is a useful "tool" to contemplate the beauty of the liturgical experience and its necessity in our daily struggles towards living a life worthy of Christ and His Kingdom.
This work focuses primarily on the Eucharist, our participation in the Life of the Church, in the hope of showing the importance of our relationship with God through the fellowship of communicants and sharing the gospel with those who have yet to find the true meaning of their existence. It is certainly a must read and I look forward to our fruitful discussion sessions.
Fr Alexander Schmemann (+1983) during Divine Liturgy
In our Faith, we symbolize a great deal to help bring understanding of why we have gathered together to pray and how to better participate during certain feasts throughout the Life of the Church.
One such way of symbolism is the use of color to recognize certain features of a feast in the Liturgical Life of our Faith. The color "green" is used during the Great Feast of Pentecost (50 days after the Resurrection of our Lord) - the Descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles.
The clergy vestments, altar cloths, candle holders, etc. during the Pentecostal season are green. At Pentecost, we decorate our churches with flowers and green branches - for the Church "never grows old, but is always young." It is an evergreen, ever-living Tree of grace and life, of joy and comfort. For the Holy Spirit - "the Treasury of Blessings and Giver of Life - comes and abides in us, and cleanses us from all impurity," and fills our life with meaning: faith, hope, and love.
The Great Feast of Pentecost is followed by a fast-free week; a great season of rejoicing that the Holy Spirit has descended upon the Apostles and revealed to them the Mystery of the Salvation through the Church. That same Holy Spirit remains within the Church throughout the ages, guiding it "into all truth" (John 16:13).
"O heavenly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, Who art in all places and fillest all things, Treasury of good things, and Giver of life, come and dwell in us, and cleanse us from every stain, and save our souls, O Gracious Lord."
In commemoration of this Great Feast in the Life of the Church, I suggest a simple way to bring this celebration of Pentecost "home" with you -during this week, wear GREEN!