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:

Friday, August 18, 2023

Be Patient With Me

 [11th Sunday After Pentecost, 1Cor 9:2-12/Mat 18:23-35]

Today’s Gospel reading is a case study in human nature.

There’s an expression in some of the circles this priest/engineer works in:  “intellectual gridlock.”  The expression indicates a condition wherein all who are part of a group think similarly.  This is not an indication of positive reinforcement.  Rather, it points to one person expressing a faulty perspective, and then having others in the group (either via laziness or misplaced trust in the one voicing the opinion) adopt the faulty thinking.

Don’t tell me you haven’t seen this!  The world around us is full of it, especially within our government.

So it is with today’s servant. The "groupthink" intellectual gridlock here could be compared with the belief that you can win the lottery.  Statistics show your chance is 1 in 300 million.  But everyone who plays thinks they'll win.  Everyone doesn't!

The debt that today's servant owes to his master is no different from this "lottery-think".  It is so insurmountable an amount that begging for “time” and “patience” of the one owed to is beyond unbelievable.  No one in their right mind who is in the position of the master in this parable would ever conceive of such magnanimity.

But this is where our Lord moves us with His words.  He attempts at every turn to show us how loving, how forgiving, how patient the Father is with us, His creatures.

The fact that no person would ever consider forgiving such a debt remains.  But this master (who is the image of the Father) does so.  He does it so easily that the Lord’s words indicate that there was not even a second thought about it.  The servant issues a plea of repentance, and the master’s response is immediate and unbounded.  He didn’t say, “I’ll forgive half.”  He didn’t say, “I’ll give you another week.”  Our Lord’s words are few but powerful.  The master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave the debt.

Each year as we enter the Great Fast, those of us who are part of the Bulgarian Diocese greet one another with good wishes for the Fast.  In Bulgarian, the expression shared is, “Prosteno prosti.  Leki posti,” which translates to, “Forgiven—simple!  Light is the fast!”

That “Forgiven—simple!” resonates in this parable!

But we’ve spoken only of the greatly indebted servant so far.  He is for all purposes the focus of this parable, for there WAS sincerity in his plea for forgiveness. 

But his sincerity had no depth, at least not depth sufficient for him to grasp the magnitude of the blessing the master had bestowed upon him such that he would share that same magnanimity with his brother servants.  For the magnitude of the debt owed to him by his fellow servant was insignificant in comparison to what had been forgiven him by the master.  Worse yet, his fellow servant’s plea was identical to his own.  How could he not understand the relationship and “do unto others”?  And yet, he showed himself to be intellectually locked into desire for the money, for the world, for material things.  His newly granted forgiveness and freedom were recent events, but his behavior is as if they were long forgotten.  He showed no concern for spiritual matters, nor for providing from one’s own bounty to another who is in need. 

Be patient with me becomes just words, like those of a child caught in the act of doing wrong who is trying to avoid punishment.  May we never utter words in this way!

The Lord is attempting to teach us to emulate not the servant, but the Master - to be without reservation or limit forgiving of the 'debts' of others.  This is the sense of the word 'debts' within the Lord's Prayer, ....and forgive us our debts (trespassess) as we forgive our debtors.  

Let us hold in our hearts that Bulgarian greeting, and mean it with our whole heart.

Prosteno, prosti!

Friday, August 11, 2023

"Because of Your Unbelief..."

What is it truly that we believe?

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty.  Good!  That’s a required first step.  And while the Nicean Creed contains many other elements of our ‘beliefs’ (in Christ, in the Holy Spirit, in Christ’s Church, etc.), certainly there is more to our belief, especially as related to our Lord’s chastisement of those involved in the healing of the boy in today’s Gospel for their unbelief.  So, what’s missing?

There are many other instances in the Gospels in which Jesus speaks to the issue of belief.

In the parallel account of today’s reading from the Gospel of St. Mark, Jesus speaks to the father of the boy and says, If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.  Note the ‘conditions’ that our Lord applies to belief here.  Jesus does NOT say to the man, ‘All things are possible for Me.’  Clearly that would be true.  But what the Lord clearly says is that YOUR faith is required for Him to act in response to YOUR prayer of need.  Jesus further does not limit the extent of His blessing to act in response to the prayer of faith.  He says, ALL things are possible to him who believes.  ‘All’ does not exclude anything, does it?  The unstated ‘condition’ on this is that one who comes in faith with a prayerful need will not be praying for something they know to be counter to that which is of benefit to their salvation.

In the Gospel of St. Mark, we hear words from today’s father that are very important to a complete healing.  After our Lord’s admonishment toward belief, the man says to Jesus, Lord, I believe.  Help my unbelief!  What is this seemingly contradictory statement from the father saying?  He recognizes the need for belief.  In that recognition, he understands that he truly wants his son to be healed.  But as of yet he is still not sure that the level of his belief is adequate to what is required to reach the possible that our Lord is teaching him (and us) for which to strive.  How does unbelief manifest itself in our society?

A Pew Research study of those who describe themselves as “nones”, or people do not identify with any religious group, offer reasons for their lack of belief which include: don’t believe; don’t need religion; unaffiliated but religious (tell me what THAT means, please); spiritual but not religious; non-practicing.  In short, it’s easy to offer an excuse for not being committed to a particular church.  Unfortunately, these excuses also indicate disconnect from God Himself, a definition of unbelief!

But what of my own unbelief?  How does it manifest itself to my spiritual detriment?  Let me look at the question with a kind of reverse focus.  I don’t pray as often as I should.  When I do pray, my prayer is not ‘focused’.  If I truly believed (that my prayer mattered and made a difference), this would not be the case.  I put far too much emphasis on self, and far too little on the people our Lord calls me to care for—the least of His brethren.

So today’s admonition by our Lord as He says, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you?  How long shall I bear with you?, those words are directed not only to those present on that day as the Lord returns from Mt. Tabor, but they’re equally directed at me.

Lord, heal my heart.  Conform my will to Your will.  Let me no longer be faithless and perverse, but faithful and without corruption.