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Bulletins

 

As the reality of this lockdown settles in . . .

Dear friends and parishioners,
I miss you. I miss being with you, greeting you at coffee-hour, visiting you at your home or work and seeing you in the divine services. I miss your smiling faces and the exchange of love and caring as we encounter each other. All of this loss has been caused by an invisible tiny ball of genetic material wrapped up in an oily shell, threatening to attach itself to our human cells, multiply and make us sick, even unto death. It does not even have life by itself, but it can destroy life.
This is surreal, like a story out of a science fiction movie. And yet, it is a reality that has spread around the world, bringing everything to a standstill, and giving us time to stay home, rethink who we are, what we are doing, how vulnerable we are, how ephemeral everything is, how broken we can become. 
The ancient Greeks, however, used to say “ouden kakon amiges kalou” – “nothing evil may not be mixed with some good”. So, let’s try to find what that “good” may be, even in this calamity.
First, I would say, that this pandemic reveals the amazing complexity and ultimate mystery of God’s Creation, as well as, the reality of our fallen humanity and our need for God’s help.
But, someone may ask, how does God fit in all of this? If He is in charge of this world, if He loves and cares for us, why is He allowing a calamity of such dimensions to befall us humans? 
I am not sure that I can answer for Him, but I can try and give you some of my thoughts:
I know for sure that God is actually present in all of this. He cares for us more than we care for each other! Consider the hundreds of thousands of people killed by other people in the wars of human arrogance just in the last 30-50 years, not to mention the two Great World wars of the twentieth century and the bloodsheds brought about by the ideological wars of Communism. Consider the countless children who suffered and continue to suffer at the hands of their own parents as they find themselves caught in the midst of the ego-battles of those who are supposed to care for them and love them. Consider the countless babies aborted by their own mothers, even when they are fully formed and viable to survive outside the womb. Consider the deviation from God’s guidance on moral and ethical issues on so many levels; how we have turned the “pursuit of happiness” into a manic effort to satisfy our selfish fleshly and consumeristic desires and hedonistic pleasures, instead of seeking to attain the joy found in the relationship with our Creator.
Yes, God allows these things to happen, perhaps, so that we may be reminded every so often as to how fragile we are; so that we may consider humbling ourselves and stop being so elated about our technological progress and financial accomplishments, forgetting that we need God, as well. As we are faced with sickness and death, perhaps, we may be forced to prioritize our human existence, our relationships and responsibilities over and above our egotistical desires and pleasures. Perhaps, seeing the reduction in pollution around the world during just three months into this pandemic, will wake us up as to the need to respect and protect this special, unique and fragile home, which God has given us to live in, and try to prevent it from falling apart and hurting all of us – Wow what an Orthodox approach to life this is! How it fits perfectly in the middle of Great Lent, which is the time for recollection on our fallen condition, the rejection of our arrogance and haughtiness, the moderation of our appetites for both food as well as other desires and our surrender to God in humility! It makes me wonder who the architect behind all of this is?!!!
In Christ’s Love,
Fr. Panayiotis

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