It is still very early days. I love it! It is challenging.
Although I have not yet reached, Exodus in my daily scripture reading, other readings with which I am presently involved have mentioned, Miriam and some interesting aspects of her story of which I previously was unaware.
Miriam was not only the sister of Moses and Aaron, she was a prophetess, she was brave, she was a source of water for the Israelites while they were wandering in the desert. One thing I doubt she would have called herself, especially since the word did not exist back then would have been, ‘feminist’.
I do not understand the need for feminists to attach the word ‘Feminist’ to brave, righteous women of the bible. Is it virtue signalling? Is it a desperate plea for recognition in yet another male-dominated traditional religion?
When I see women ordained as Rabbis, Anglican priests, or stamping around stage in their Protestant ministry, dressed like men and speaking like men I think, ‘how unimaginative’. I believe asserting oneself into male dominated arenas
Miriam stands alone as a righteous women without the need to clarify her through the use of modern feminist language. I cannot imagine her, or any other strong woman of the bible, standing on a street corner wearing a big, pink, vagina costume or cat ear hat.
Whatever feminism started out as, it has become a joke.
Miriam’s water cup should be allowed on the Seder table but not as an act of feminist inclusion, but rather as an acknowledgement of the very important contributions of a brave, righteous woman not only to the Israelites, but to the entire world.
You can be righteous and do brave things without being a ‘feminist’.
It is more important to be obedient to the Lord (which is why, Miriam did what she did and was able to do what she was able to do. Not because she was a feminist but because she was obedient and righteous!), than to be a feminist. You can live without feminism but living without God, without the spirit of obedience (obedience is not a character of feminism so how could feminists label an obedient righteous woman as a feminist?) can have disastrous results in one’s life. Being disobedient, is something, Miriam, a pious Jewish woman, would never have done. she would have known that blessings come from being obedient.
when reading about, and studying, the women of the bible please keep in mind they existed in a different time. this might sound very basic and obvious, but I constantly see people making the great mistake of trying to either judge people in the past by our modern standards, or make the other mistake of trying to give modern labels to the behaviors of those in the past who do admirable things.
The things done by, Miriam were brave, different, maybe even a bit scary to those looking on in awe, or wonder, or even skepticism. To, Miriam however, they would just have been the things she did in obedience to hearing God’s voice. A stirring in her spirit perhaps, or a vivid dream she prayed about the next morning and went on to accomplish in ‘real-time’.
Labeling things done by brave, pious women as ‘feminist’ can be considered exclusionary or even as theft by those who are more traditional. Piety fits into tradition but the modern label of ‘feminism’ is not readily accepted by everyone… nor is it necessary. It is another act of exclusion if one thinks applying the label of ‘feminist’ to brave women of the Torah or Bible is the only way to acknowledge that what these women did was extraordinary (Extraordinary yes, but not unattainable to today’s pious women).
What women like, Miriam, the Myrrh Bearing women celebrated during Pascha and Pentecost, the Virgin Mary (Theotokos) and other women of renown, were able to do was only because of their piety and obedience. the willingness to be a vessel for God. To take a risk in order to help others. Feminism has become such a terribly selfish thing. More like a ravenous, self-serving beast in need of a shock collar (abortion, promiscuity, rage, hate, division, etc.), than a thing of beauty or of benefit. Women of the Bible who were brave and accomplished great things did so out of love for their community. They saw a need and fulfilled it. They were selfless, brave, loving, giving, self-sacrificing.
Women such as Miriam, Sarah, Anna, Mary, et al, are exemplars of piety, righteousness, sacrifice, obedience, and love. They already have crowns of glory. They do not need the label of, ‘feminist’ in order to make them ‘relevant’.
Yesterday was the beginning of the Dormition of Mary fast. Orthodox Christians fast for the 15 days leading up to the miracle event of, Mary passing away into the next life and her son, The Living Christ, taking her soul directly to heaven. In the image above, that is not an infant Christ is holding, but rather the soul of His mother.
I love how our souls are imagined as little children.
What is YOUR favorite Fast during the Liturgical Year?
Read about it more in this excellent article I did not write: LINK.
A noble lady fell on hard times: her husband was exiled, her estate was taken, and her son was made a captive. She prayed to Mary, and then dreamed she heard a voice telling her to find the icon of the Holy Family and to pray before it. The woman searched through Moscow churches, and eventually found the icon hanging in the porch of the Church of the Life-giving Trinity. She prayed before it, and then her husband was returned, her estate was restored, and her son was freed. Because of these “three joys,” the icon received its name.
Prayers in Time of Need
Almighty God, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, come to my help and deliver me from this difficulty that besets me. I believe Lord, that all trials of life are under Your care and that all things work for the good of those who love You. Take away from me fear, anxiety and distress. Help me to face and endure my difficulty with faith, courage and wisdom. Grant that this trial may bring me closer to You for You are my rock and refuge, my comfort and hope, my delight and joy. I trust in Your love and compassion. Blessed is Your name, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.
O God, our help in time of need, Who are just and merciful, and Who inclines to the supplications of His people. Look down upon me and have mercy on me and deliver me from the trouble that now besets me. Deal with us not according to our iniquities, but according to Your manifold mercies, for we are the works of Your hands, and You know our weaknesses. I pray to you to grant me Your divine helping grace, and endow me with patience and strength to endure my hardships with complete submission to Your Will. Only You know our misery and sufferings, and to You, our only hope and refuge, I flee for relief and comfort, trusting in Your infinite love and compassion, that in due time, when You know best, You will deliver me from this trouble, and turn my distress into comfort. We then shall rejoice in Your mercy, and exalt and praise Your Holy Name, O Father, Son and Holy Spirit, both now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen
Orthodoxy: “We have an icon for that.”.
Thursday, May 13, 2021
Today’s commemorated feasts and saints
Virgin Martyr Glyceria at Heraclea, and with her, Martyr Laodicius, Keeper of the Prison (ca. 177). Righteous Virgin Glykéria of Novgorod (1522). Translation of the Relics of Ven. Makáry, Archimandrite of Obruch (or Kanev—1678). Martyr Alexander of Rome (284-305). St. Pausicacus, Bishop of Synnada (606). St George the Confessor, with his wife, Irene, and their children, of Constantinople (9th c.). St. Euthymius the New (1028), founder of Ivḗron Monastery, and his fellow Georgian Saints of Mt. Athos: his father, John, his cousin, George, and Gabriel. Monastic Martyrs of Ivḗron (Mt. Athos).
First of all, Orthodox Christians do not worship saints or the Theotokos (virgin Mary to others). When I brought this up he steadfastly kept trying to convince me being Orthodox was wrong without coming out and saying it is wrong. He brought up how ‘wrong’ it is for Jesus to be depicted on the cross. It is not.
The entire visit was an attack against Orthodoxy from asking the saints to pray for me, to icons, to… you get the picture. By the time I left I was exhausted.
I made the mistake of trying to defend myself and Orthodoxy. Some how along the way in Christianity the scripture that tells us to provide an answer for our hope has turned into, ‘argue with everyone’.
This does not mean argue with everyone, pick fights, and be unpleasant. People do not convert to Christianity because you were a better debater than they. It’s not as if I joined a cult for heaven’s sake! I went and converted to the original Christian church. The church that was started at Pentecost. This person thinks we are roman Catholic, we are not and no matter how many times I remind him I am not a Roman Catholic he still uses RC references.
While I was not hostile, I certainly was not at peace and I took the bait. I began to debate with him. What I really should have done was just shrug my shoulders and say, ‘I don’t know.’.
These sorts of ‘debates’ really do not accomplish anything beyond hurt feelings and bruised egos.
Lord forgive me. Help me to acquire a spirit of peace and not one of conflict. Help me to consider those around me better than I and to be quiet & humble. Amen.
The book club begins soon. Have you purchased your book?
Read through the beginning of the book regarding his life.
Christ is risen!
Yesterday I posted a photo of a book, and icon I had purchased at church.
I started reading it to see what I needed to do to prepare to read this book for 40 days. The author mentioned that the study in this book could be used as a spiritual retreat. After having only been to Divine Liturgy a few times over the last year, I sure could use a spiritual retreat, or Deep Dive.
Aside from the issues with the virus and my husband being at high risk to catch it, going to church was a bit depressing. Hardly any people were there, the icons were covered,people we grumpy and distant. It has been hard. Try as I might, worshiping at home is just not the same as with the community of believers (Probably why the bible is all about GOING to church to worship.).
My plan is to; attend as many services as possible, read scripture, pray and dig into this book. I know many people do an intensive reading of Psalms at this time but this year, I am going in a bit of a different direction.
I will be giving my home altar a spring cleaning. New candles, new incense… the works.
How are you preparing for Lent?
I attended Divine liturgy for the first time in months and did real-time confession for the first time in a year.
As I was driving to church I decided to stay for the whole thing as in; don’t-leave-after-taking-the-Eucharist as I normally would have done in the past. The Bishop sent out an email lifting certain restrictions and I was determined to do everything that had been forbidden in the past year because of Covid. I venerated icons, now with no gold mesh barrier across the bottom. I sang, sans mask, I venerated the cross the priest holds at the end of service.
All in all it was a good morning.
Back to my purchases and the new icons in church.
The top pic shows one of the many new-to-me icons on the walls at church. Most Holy Theotokos Joy of All Who Sorrow is now residing above the full length icon of St. Xenia.
There are a couple more I took pics of but I’m holding onto them for future posts.
Let’s talk about the book; First Fruits of Prayer, a Forty Day Journey Through the Canon of St. Andrew by Frederica Mathewes-Green.
I don’t know much about it!
I was visiting with the woman who runs the bookstore and she basically thrust it into my hands so I could buy it. That’s pretty much how she recommends books.
It’s good though. I was looking for something for Lent but it’s kind of like looking in the fridge constantly hoping the thing you want will just manifest.Like maybe on the 100th look inside the refrigerator fairy will give up and turn that moldy lump of cheese into German chocolate cake!
So here I go reading book with the word, canon on the cover and I had no idea what the word canon meant and had to go look it up.
So now I have 40… that’s FORTY days of this. Sigh… fine… whatever.
A better pic of the icon from Uncut Mountain Supply.
That’s my update for now. Church! There you go.