Transcripts

Sermons at St. Nicholas

The Church’s Teaching Isn’t Up for a Vote

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The Parable of the Wicked Vinedressers comes at an important point in the life of Christ, only days before his crucifixion. Jesus reveals the Scribes and Pharisees to be those who rejected the message of the prophets, and now they're going to kill God's Son. Fr Thomas reminds us that, in our own day, those who reject the message and the messengers by choosing the world's lies about God and humanity over the truth we receive in the Church commit the same grave error. (Matthew 21:33-44)

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Glory to Jesus Christ! [Glory to him forever!]

Today’s gospel reading certainly has an important historical context, and in order for us to glean important lessons and applications for us, we want to review briefly. Normally I don’t take the time to review the gospel; you just heard it. We said before the gospel, “Let us attend. Let’s pay attention.” But it’s…

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The 153

Lights On, Floors Swept, Priest Paid

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There is a trite answer to the question: How do Orthodox Christians evangelize? Keep the doors open, the lights on, the floors swept, and the priest paid. Fundamentally, this is correct; paying the bills is essential to the life and health of a community, and “come and see” will always be our most effective clarion call. Yet, while existence is paramount, it is not evangelism. In this episode, Fr. Joseph offers some ideas that have proven effective for revitalizing, invigorating, and sustaining a healthy parish—consider it “in-house evangelism.”

There’s a trite answer to the question: How do Orthodox Christians evangelize? Keep the doors open, the lights on, the floors swept, and the priest paid. Fundamentally, this is correct; paying the bills is essential to the life and health of a community, and “come and see” will always be our most effective clarion call. Yet, while existence is paramount, it’s not evangelism. What follows is not an exhaustive list, but some ideas that have proven…

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The Law of the Spirit

Re-establishing a Simple Prayer Rule

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Part two of a two-part series on prayer.

So this evening I would like to address the topic of re-establishing a simple prayer rule. I had spoken earlier about establishing a simple prayer rule. That was some time ago, and I’ve realized, given some of the feedback that I’ve been getting, that a sequel was necessary, and that sequel is the one that you’re hearing this evening. If, for example, you’ve tried to establish a simple prayer rule and you were unable to hold to it, or there…

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Speaking the Truth

Transfiguration - The Center of the Evangelical Narrative

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On August 6, we will celebrate the Transfiguration of our Lord, and Fr. Thomas Hopko helps us understand the pivotal nature of this event in Christian history.

If we read the synoptic gospels—that means the gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke, called synoptic because they kind of look the same and they have the same material; there’s always the synoptic question, how they are interrelated, and the scholars can debate that, but in any case, we have those three gospels: Mark and Matthew and Luke—I honestly believe, personally, that they pattern the Old Testament genre. I think Mark is a kind of an apocalyptic…

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Praying in the Rain

Tools for Theosis

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The spiritual tools of prayer, fasting, and alms-giving are connected; they flow into one another. And all three have one goal, have one purpose, have one thing that they are supposed to do in our life. All the tools that the Church gives us exist to make us more like Christ.

This summer I had the privilege of serving two Orthodox youth camps, one in Idaho, USA and the other in Alberta, Canada.  The spiritual theme of both camps was the same:  “What’s in Your Toolbox?”  The idea was to talk to the youth about the tools the Orthodox Church provides to help them grow spiritually and morally.

On the first day of the first camp, I asked the group—there were about fifty, fifteen to seventeen year olds—if anyone…

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