Welcome to Saint Herman's, Hudson, Ohio

This blog is a partial compilation of the messages, texts, readings, and prayers from our small community. We pray that it will be used by our own people, to their edification. And if you happen by and are inclined to read, give the glory to God!

The blog title, "Will He Find Faith on the Earth?" is from Luke 18:8, the "Parable of the Persistent Widow." It overlays the icon of the Last Judgment, an historical event detailed in Matthew Chapter 25, for which we wait as we pray in the Nicean Creed.

We serve the Holy Orthodox cycle of services in contemporary English. Under the omophorion of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph of the Bulgarian Patriarchal Diocese of the USA, Canada and Australia, we worship at 5107 Darrow Road in Hudson, Ohio (44236). If you are in the area, please join us for worship!

Regular services include:
Sunday Divine Liturgy 10AM (Sept 1 - May 31)
930AM (June 1 - Aug 31)
Vespers each Saturday 6PM

We pray that you might join us for as many of these services as possible! We are open, and we welcome inside the Church all visitors. See our Parish web page:

Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Sunday of All Saints

      Today, for the first time since the 25th of January (yes, that’s 19 weeks ago!), the Liturgical schedule of the Church returns to some “normalcy”.  This does not mean that the previous 19 weeks were “abnormal”.  Rather, the church measures its yearly cycle from the Sunday of Pentecost.  Today is the “first” Sunday after that great Feast—the ‘birthday’ of the Church. 

     Over the past 19 weeks, we have found ourselves in the throes of ‘preparation’ - knowing that the Great Fast would be coming upon us, we prepared ourselves for that entry by a period of normal fasting, no fasting, a return to regular fasting, increased fasting, and ultimately severe fasting.  After the preparation on the fasting front, we then found ourselves going inward, becoming introspective, looking for those things in our lives that separate us from the ideal that our Lord has set for us (“Be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect,” Mat 5:48).  The introspection led us into places that caused us to seek forgiveness, both of those whom we might have offended (which we did formally on Forgiveness Sunday—the first Sunday of the Great Fast), and also of the Lord Himself through the sacrament of confession.  We found ourselves walking the paths with our Lord to the Cross.  We agonized as He offered Himself thereon.  We cried as we entombed His Precious Body.  We felt the confusion of the apostles.  We empathized with the denial of Peter, knowing that we too have not lived up to our own expectations of following the Lord, even if it were to lead us to our own deaths.  We were overjoyed as we heard the words announcing His Resurrection.  We basked in the joy of that event for 40 more days.  We were present for His Ascension to heaven.  We awaited and were granted the grace to witness the working of the Holy Spirit, establishing the Church on earth, and establishing Himself within our very beings, just as He came to fill the apostles.  We too have received our own measure of the Spirit, and we are now called to bear witness to that gift by sharing our faith with those who will receive it. 

   But now, we again find the hymnology returning to the “familiar”.  We sing from the Octoechos, the eight tones, for all the services that are not otherwise related to specific feast days.  Yes, it is also true that most years we now (again) would enter a fasting period—the only one in the Church’s liturgical cycle whose duration is not fixed, but rather extends from the Monday after today’s commemoration of “All Saints” until the Feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul (June 29th). 

     As we find ourselves “returning to normal”, now is an appropriate time to again look inward, to become introspective, and to guard against becoming complacent in our spiritual lives.  Simply because we have no focus by way of Presanctified Liturgies, or by way of singing of “Christ is Risen”, or by reminders of NOT being permitted to kneel, we now need to redouble our efforts to guard our spiritual wellbeing, walking in caution, assuring that we carry with us even now the spiritual tools that we attempted to hone during the Great Fast. 

     Did we learn anything during that time that will last?  Did we find the strength (granted by the Spirit) to resist the temptations of laziness (sloth), worry (despair), passions (lust for power), and gossip (idle talk)?  Do we even call to remembrance the Prayer of Saint Ephraim, now that the joy of the Resurrection has come and gone?  Or, will we allow our return to “normal” to carry with it the tools the Church gave us during the Great Fast, putting them into the closet with the prayer books that contain the prayers for that Holy Season?

     God forbid!  Each year that we pass through the Great Fast, we must strive to carry from that ascetic effort things that will change us—things that will cause us to live differently AFTER this day on the Liturgical Calendar as compared to that day that carried us INTO the Holy Season 19 weeks previous.

     So, from this day let us recall our focus from the Great Fast.  Let us focus on praying, and on seeking the aid of the Spirit to give us the ability to remain pure (chaste), humble, to be patient, and to love all—especially those who misuse or hate us.  For those were the “positives” from the same prayer of St. Ephraim.

     Lord, grant us the ability to carry Your love to all!

 

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Being Thirsty

[Sunday of the Samaritan Woman, John 4:5-42]

Christ is Risen!

This is one of those issues that should prove to us the fullness of the humanity of our Lord.  As God He has the authority and the ability to satisfy the needs of His physical body.  But His physical body is expressing to Him as fully God and fully Man that it is in need of water.

In Verse 7 of today’s Gospel from St. John, Jesus expresses this fact to a woman.  Give Me a drink. It is not the only time in all of scripture that this happens.  We find it also on the Cross.  It is St. John again who records, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!” In the instance on the Cross, we have evidence that they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth.  And when He had received the sour wine… So we know that Jesus’ request was met.

But today, at Jacob’s well, there’s no indication that our Lord’s request for water was met!

Jesus engaged the woman in conversation.  From her side, You shouldn’t be talking with me.  Why are You?  After Jesus offers her His living water, she shows her lack of understanding.  You have nothing to draw with.  Where will You get this living water?  When Jesus reveals yet more about His living water, she goes to the final step of confusion, Give me this water that I might not again thirst. 

Our Lord has led her to this point so that He can make His next request.

Call your husband and come here.  Within this request Jesus elicits from the woman a confession.  She doesn’t know it as she speaks it, but it becomes a confession.

I have no husband.  Jesus congratulates her for her honesty.  You’ve had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband.  Now the woman is confused.  This Man has been trying to teach me something, and I didn’t understand.  Now He shows me His ability to know the content of my heart.  Why is He doing this?  What does He really want from me?  I should try to test His understanding of our faith.

We worship on this mountain.  The Jews say only in Jerusalem.  What do YOU say?

Jesus speaks to her of worship in spirit and truth.  In the final revelation, she speaks about the Messiah, and she confesses her belief in Him and that when He comes He will tell us all things.  Jesus ends the conversation by saying, I who speak with you am He.

The woman does not go to the man revealed in the conversation with the Lord.  She becomes an evangelist and rushes to the men in the city.  Come see a Man who told me all things that I ever did.  Could this be the Christ?

So, did Jesus’ plea to have His thirst satisfied go unfulfilled?  When His Apostles come, they beg Him to eat something, and He responds to their prompts I have food to eat of which you do not know.

Why is it such a stretch to understand that He also has water to drink of which we do not know?  What is this water, this living water?  The Lord drank abundantly of the repentance of the woman, who becomes St. Photini, a woman who with her children and sisters spread the water of life to all who would listen.

Christ is Risen!