Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Miracle Icon from Hawaii

Recently posted on the Orthodox Christian Network.
A few weeks ago I flew to Houston for a presvytera retreat.  We were instructed to wait at the baggage claim for the others and the shuttle bus.  I arrived early and it was a pleasure to see my presvytera sisters come around the corner.  We got a head start to our hugs and hellos, and caught up on each other’s news.
As I kept an eye out for the shuttle I noticed a man in a cassock wandering the area.  I had the sense he was waiting for a traveler.  I didn’t go up and say hello, after all, I wasn’t the airport presvytera or hostess.  I was technically off-duty.
As the crowds cleared and the flow of travelers dispersed to their cars and rides, another lone man in a cassock appeared.  This one was carrying a blue velvet mailbag, and immediately I knew who the first man was waiting for.  It wasn’t this second traveler, but THE PANAGIA!
Without any sense of fear or shame, I approached the gentleman and asked him directly if he was carrying a miracle icon.  The poor man was a bit dazed, and as he mumbled his confirmation, I quickly followed with, “We are 15 presvyteres waiting for a shuttle to a presvytera retreat.  Is it possible to venerate the icon before you leave?”
What a blessing!   He lifted the icon out of the velvet bag as we all drew near the sweet aroma of myrrh.  One by one, we made the sign of the cross and venerated the “Hawaiian” Iveron Icon.  Some cried as we realized the blessing before us.  The icon’s caretaker, subdeacon Nectarios, was generous.
Read more on the Orthodox Christian Network.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Day 2, Psalms

I love the psalms.  They find the words I am usually looking for.  They teach us how to address and relate with God.  They take us low and lift us up.  Look at the following:

Psalm 88 2-3
Let my prayer enter into thy presence; Incline thine ear unto my cry. For my soul is full of troubles, And my life draweth nigh unto Sheol.

And then: Psalm 89:1-2
I will sing of the lovingkindness of Jehovah for ever: With my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations. For I have said, Mercy shall be built up for ever; Thy faithfulness wilt thou establish in the very heavens.  

Day 2: Psalm 86-91

A Prayer of David
86 Bow down thine ear, O Jehovah, and answer me; For I am poor and needy.
Preserve my soul; for I am godly: O thou my God, save thy servant that trusteth in thee.
Be merciful unto me, O Lord; For unto thee do I cry all the day long.
Rejoice the soul of thy servant; For unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in lovingkindness unto all them that call upon thee.
Give ear, O Jehovah, unto my prayer; And hearken unto the voice of my supplications.
In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee; For thou wilt answer me.
There is none like unto thee among the gods, O Lord; Neither are there any works like unto thy works.
All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; And they shall glorify thy name.
10 For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: Thou art God alone.
11 Teach me thy way, O Jehovah; I will walk in thy truth: Unite my heart to fear thy name.
12 I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with my whole heart; And I will glorify thy name for evermore.
13 For great is thy lovingkindness toward me; And thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest Sheol.
14 O God, the proud are risen up against me, And a company of violent men have sought after my soul, And have not set thee before them.
15 But thou, O Lord, art a God merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abundant in lovingkindness and truth.
16 Oh turn unto me, and have mercy upon me; Give thy strength unto thy servant, And save the son of thy handmaid.
17 Show me a token for good, That they who hate me may see it, and be put to shame, Because thou, Jehovah, hast helped me, and comforted me.
A Psalm of the sons of Korah; a Song.
87 His foundation is in the holy mountains.
Jehovah loveth the gates of Zion More than all the dwellings of Jacob.
Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God. Selah
I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon as among them that know me: Behold, Philistia, and Tyre, with Ethiopia: This one was born there.
Yea, of Zion it shall be said, This one and that one was born in her; And the Most High himself will establish her.
Jehovah will count, when he writeth up the peoples, This one was born there. Selah
They that sing as well as they that dance shall say, All my fountains are in thee.
A Song, a Psalm of the sons of Korah; for the Chief Musician; set to Mahalath Leannoth. Maschil of Heman the Ezrahite.
88 O Jehovah, the God of my salvation, I have cried day and night before thee.
Let my prayer enter into thy presence; Incline thine ear unto my cry.
For my soul is full of troubles, And my life draweth nigh unto Sheol.
I am reckoned with them that go down into the pit; I am as a man that hath no help,
Cast off among the dead, Like the slain that lie in the grave, Whom thou rememberest no more, And they are cut off from thy hand.
Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, In dark places, in the deeps.
Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, And thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves. Selah
Thou hast put mine acquaintance far from me; Thou hast made me an abomination unto them: I am shut up, and I cannot come forth.
Mine eye wasteth away by reason of affliction: I have called daily upon thee, O Jehovah; I have spread forth my hands unto thee.
10 Wilt thou show wonders to the dead? Shall they that are decreased arise and praise thee? Selah
11 Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave? Or thy faithfulness in Destruction?
12 Shall thy wonders be known in the dark? And thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?
13 But unto thee, O Jehovah, have I cried; And in the morning shall my prayer come before thee.
14 Jehovah, why castest thou off my soul? Why hidest thou thy face from me?
15 I am afflicted and ready to die from my youth up: While I suffer thy terrors I am distracted.
16 Thy fierce wrath is gone over me; Thy terrors have cut me off.
17 They came round about me like water all the day long; They compassed me about together.
18 Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, And mine acquaintance into darkness.
Maschil of Ethan the Ezrahite.
89 I will sing of the lovingkindness of Jehovah for ever: With my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations.
For I have said, Mercy shall be built up for ever; Thy faithfulness wilt thou establish in the very heavens.
I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant:
Thy seed will I establish for ever, And build up thy throne to all generations. Selah
And the heavens shall praise thy wonders, O Jehovah; Thy faithfulness also in the assembly of the holy ones.
For who in the skies can be compared unto Jehovah? Who among the sons of the mighty is like unto Jehovah,
A God very terrible in the council of the holy ones, And to be feared above all them that are round about him?
O Jehovah God of hosts, Who is a mighty one, like unto thee, O Jehovah? And thy faithfulness is round about thee.
Thou rulest the pride of the sea: When the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them.
10 Thou hast broken Rahab in pieces, as one that is slain; Thou hast scattered thine enemies with the arm of thy strength.
11 The heavens are thine, the earth also is thine: The world and the fulness thereof, thou hast founded them.
12 The north and the south, thou hast created them: Tabor and Hermon rejoice in thy name.
13 Thou hast a mighty arm; Strong is thy hand, and high is thy right hand.
14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of thy throne: Lovingkindness and truth go before thy face.
15 Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: They walk, O Jehovah, in the light of thy countenance.
16 In thy name do they rejoice all the day; And in thy righteousness are they exalted.
17 For thou art the glory of their strength; And in thy favor our horn shall be exalted.
18 For our shield belongeth unto Jehovah; And our king to the Holy One of Israel.
19 Then thou spakest in vision to thy saints, And saidst, I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people.
20 I have found David my servant; With my holy oil have I anointed him:
21 With whom my hand shall be established; Mine arm also shall strengthen him.
22 The enemy shall not exact from him, Nor the son of wickedness afflict him.
23 And I will beat down his adversaries before him, And smite them that hate him.
24 But my faithfulness and my lovingkindness shall be with him; And in my name shall his horn be exalted.
25 I will set his hand also on the sea, And his right hand on the rivers.
26 He shall cry unto me, Thou art my Father, My God, and the rock of my salvation.
27 I also will make him my first-born, The highest of the kings of the earth.
28 My lovingkindness will I keep for him for evermore; And my covenant shall stand fast with him.
29 His seed also will I make to endure for ever, And his throne as the days of heaven.
30 If his children forsake my law, And walk not in mine ordinances;
31 If they break my statutes, And keep not my commandments;
32 Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, And their iniquity with stripes.
33 But my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, Nor suffer my faithfulness to fail.
34 My covenant will I not break, Nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.
35 Once have I sworn by my holiness: I will not lie unto David:
36 His seed shall endure for ever, And his throne as the sun before me.
37 It shall be established for ever as the moon, And as the faithful witness in the sky. Selah
38 But thou hast cast off and rejected, Thou hast been wroth with thine anointed.
39 Thou hast abhorred the covenant of thy servant: Thou hast profaned his crown by casting it to the ground.
40 Thou hast broken down all his hedges; Thou hast brought his strongholds to ruin.
41 All that pass by the way rob him: He is become a reproach to his neighbors.
42 Thou hast exalted the right hand of his adversaries; Thou hast made all his enemies to rejoice.
43 Yea, thou turnest back the edge of his sword, And hast not made him to stand in the battle.
44 Thou hast made his brightness to cease, And cast his throne down to the ground.
45 The days of his youth hast thou shortened: Thou hast covered him with shame. Selah
46 How long, O Jehovah? wilt thou hide thyself for ever? How long shall thy wrath burn like fire?
47 Oh remember how short my time is: For what vanity hast thou created all the children of men!
48 What man is he that shall live and not see death, That shall deliver his soul from the power of Sheol? Selah
49 Lord, where are thy former lovingkindnesses, Which thou swarest unto David in thy faithfulness?
50 Remember, Lord, the reproach of thy servants; How I do bear in my bosom the reproach of all the mighty peoples,
51 Wherewith thine enemies have reproached, O Jehovah, Wherewith they have reproached the footsteps of thine anointed.
52 Blessed be Jehovah for evermore. Amen, and Amen.
A Prayer of Moses the man of God.
90 Lord, thou hast been our dwelling-place In all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.
Thou turnest man to destruction, And sayest, Return, ye children of men.
For a thousand years in thy sight Are but as yesterday when it is past, And as a watch in the night.
Thou carriest them away as with a flood; they are as a sleep: In the morning they are like grass which groweth up.
In the morning it flourisheth, and groweth up; In the evening it is cut down, and withereth.
For we are consumed in thine anger, And in thy wrath are we troubled.
Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, Our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.
For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: We bring our years to an end as a sigh.
10 The days of our years are threescore years and ten, Or even by reason of strength fourscore years; Yet is their pride but labor and sorrow; For it is soon gone, and we fly away.
11 Who knoweth the power of thine anger, And thy wrath according to the fear that is due unto thee?
12 So teach us to number our days, That we may get us a heart of wisdom.
13 Return, O Jehovah; how long? And let it repent thee concerning thy servants.
14 Oh satisfy us in the morning with thy lovingkindness, That we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
15 Make us glad according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted us, And the years wherein we have seen evil.
16 Let thy work appear unto thy servants, And thy glory upon their children.
17 And let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us; And establish thou the work of our hands upon us; Yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.

91 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of Jehovah, He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in whom I trust.
For he will deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, And from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover thee with his pinions, And under his wings shalt thou take refuge: His truth is a shield and a buckler.
Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night, Nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
For the pestilence that walketh in darkness, Nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
A thousand shall fall at thy side, And ten thousand at thy right hand; But it shall not come nigh thee.
Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold, And see the reward of the wicked.
For thou, O Jehovah, art my refuge! Thou hast made the Most High thy habitation;
10 There shall no evil befall thee, Neither shall any plague come nigh thy tent.
11 For he will give his angels charge over thee, To keep thee in all thy ways.
12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, Lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: The young lion and the serpent shalt thou trample under foot.
14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.
15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble: I will deliver him, and honor him.
16 With long life will I satisfy him, And show him my salvation.
American Standard Version (ASV)
Public Domain (Why are modern Bible translations copyrighted?)