All Saints of North America Orthodox Church (Hamilton, ON, Canada)

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July - August 2009

TO EVERYTHING THERE IS A SEASON

"To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven," (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

With this newsletter, we enter a new season. This is not only a change in the season to warmer, summer weather, but a change in our parish as a community. Thanks to generous faithful and friends, this summer and early fall will see the renovation of our new church building. It will also see the reorganization of our parish journal, Orthodox Canada, into a quarterly subscription-based publication, with online access to friends of the parish (more on this in the next newsletter). All in all, this will be a season for new things.

It is also a new season for the Church around the world, resolving jurisdictional questions here in North America and issues of precedence in the ancient Patriarchates. In the midst of this, a new door appears to be opening to traditional Anglicans who might seek to return to the historic Orthodox Church, with a very public invitation (along with clear, traditional Orthodox parameters) laid out by our Metropolitan Jonah.

At times like these, the evil one gives us two temptations: one is to become swept up in the issues of the day, and to mistake them for the true and complete life in Christ. The other temptation is to retreat into our foxholes, to our comfy dens, to adopt an anti-social way of living an "Orthodox" life, playing critic from the sidelines, cut off from the Church.

Neither of these temptations are remotely Christian. The saints warn us time and again against pride: the pride that comes from our desire to control events, and the pride that comes from isolating ourselves from objective spiritual advice. The greatest monastics warned each other about these pitfalls: how much more must we be warned?

In what seems to be a season of change, let us hold fast to living a stable Orthodox Christian life, full of daily prayers, holy readings and the holy services, free from worldly controversies and judgementalism. Let us hold fast to spiritual guides not of our own choosing - jumping from one to another like a hyper child at an ice cream parlour - but steadily following the path on which we find ourselves.

Without this sobriety and steadiness of Christian living, we too will be like the seasons - and will soon be blown away.

- FrG+

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