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:

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Following the Shepherd Always

Christ is Ascended!  In glory!!!

On this glorious Feast, we're tempted to think only upon the one aspect of the day - our Lord's leaving this world, leaving His beloved Apostles, to ascend "to where He was before" in the hymnology of the day, but in reality to where He always is, was, and will be - with the Father and the Spirit!

But focusing only on the Ascension misses so much of what's truly important on this day.  

St. Nikolai Velimirovich teaches that we can't view the Lord's work on behalf of our salvation if we ignore ANY of His deeds (meaning a focus on the major Feasts of the Church).  So let's look at His Ascension through the lens of other elements of His condescension to us and for us.

It begins with the fall.  Adam and Eve were part of the perfection God had created.  Everything was "very good" until we, being tempted by two elements, chose to turn our love from God toward self.  The first temptation was the food.  It looked really good!  The second temptation was thinking that we could achieve equality with God through the eating of that food.  We ate.  We fell.  We sinned.  We were no longer "very good", because we had chosen imperfection for ourselves, and there is no room for imperfection in the presence of perfection.  And so we were expelled from the presence of God.  We condemned ourselves to death.

But God, being a loving God, would not leave us to our own chosen demise.  He promised salvation, He promised a Savior.

And so we move to the Annunciation.  God chooses to put on this flesh we had corrupted.  He condescends to become one of us.  He shows us clearly that life begins at conception.  

He is born in poverty and humility.  He is hunted by those who hate Him without knowing Him from the time He takes His first breath out of the womb.  Still, the Shepherd comes and joins with His sheep.  

He matures.  He encounters everything that we as His people encounter - temptation, suffering, heat, cold, hunger, thirst, pain, rejection by those who should know Him and love Him.  And in all of these He leads us, His sheep, by setting the example.  

Love.  Love the poor.  Love the hurting.  Love the sinner.  Love your enemy.


How does He teach us to love?  By being humble.  By repenting, which is His first commandment to us.  He (the Shepherd) leads us to a repentance He Himself does not need as He submits to baptism, showing us our need to be born again of water and the Spirit.  

He shows compassion on all who are in need.  He heals.  He forgives.  The Shepherd shows us how we must do all these things as His sheep to those we also encounter in the world.  In all things, the Shepherd leads and feeds His sheep, setting the example for them.

Ultimately the Shepherd is taken by wolves who seek to destroy Him.  He submits to their attacks.  He voluntarily goes to His death.  As He does so, He teaches His sheep the ultimate lesson in humility, praying for those who are murdering Him!

And so He leads His sheep in the path we all must walk, to death, to the tomb.  

But the Shepherd does a marvelous thing.  He gathers His sheep who have been given over to death, and leads them out of hades!  And upon those in the tombs, He bestows life!  Not life back into this fallen world, but life in the everlasting Kingdom.  His Resurrection shows to His sheep the path from eternal separation from God to becoming eternally joined with Him.

But the Shepherd is not yet done.

He spends 40 days teaching His beloved Apostles what they will need to know to bring His bride, the Church, into Her own fullness of life.  He reveals to them all those things they saw in their three years of walking with Him so that they finally understand the content of the scriptures, and how His life and ministry fulfilled all things.  Previously, they had confessed Him as the Son of the Living God.  Now, their eyes are opened to see the fullness of their previous confession of faith.

But the Shepherd is still not finished.

After 40 days, He leads them to the mountain, from which He ascends to His place with the Father.  The Shepherd shows to them (and through them, to us) that there is one more place to which He calls us to follow, to endure to our own ends, and to seek that place with Him to where He has gone on this glorious day!

So we see, without the Annunciation, there is no conception.  Without conception, there is no Nativity.  Without the Nativity, there is no Jesus.  Without Jesus, there is no baptism before John, no call to repentance, no healings, no forgivings, no Lazarus being raised, no Beatitudes, no Lord's Prayer.  Without Christ, there is no Crucifixion.  Without the Crucifixion, there is no descent to Hades, no harrowing of hades, no destruction of Satan's domain.  Without the destruction of hades, there is no Resurrection.  Without the Resurrection there is no Ascension.  Without the Ascension, there is no descent of the Holy Spirit, and no path for man to heaven, no salvation!

St. Theophan says this:

St. Paul expresses the power of the Lord's Ascension in this manner: 'When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.' (Eph 4:8)  Having satisfied God's righteousness, the Lord opened for us all the treasures of God's goodness.  This is indeed a capturing or taking of spoils after victory.  The beginning of the distribution of these spoils to people is the Descent of the Holy Spirit, Who, having descended, always abides in the Church and gives everyone what he needs, receiving all from that captive captivity.  Let everyone come and take.  But prepare for yourself a repository for that treasure, which is a pure heart; have hands with which to take it, which is unreflecting faith.  Then step forth, searching hopefully and praying relentlessly.

Let us remain ever-vigilant, ever-hopeful, ever-prayerful!

It's a Glorious Feast!  Christ is Ascended!  In glory!!!

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