Midweek Reflection — Glory to God for All Things

Each Wednesday, Fr. Michael shares an encouraging message, hoping to bring light, clarity, and peace into our challenging lives.

 

November 23, 2022 
Glory to God for All Things

Because God’s love extends to us in the midst of both easy times and hard times, we can say with all truth: Glory to God for all things! As we approach Thanksgiving Day, let’s all work to make this our attitude each and every day, regardless of the circumstances of our life. To watch this week’s video message, click [GLORY].

November 16, 2022 
The Taste for Change – Lift'N'BalanceChanging our Spiritual Taste Buds

Just as working to change our physical taste buds is important in getting ourselves to eat right, we can do the same in our spiritual life. Learning that the ways of God are sweet and good will help us be more likely to follow those ways. To watch this week’s video message, click [TASTE].

November 9, 2022 
Here's How to Charge Your Phone Faster | Reader's DigestReal Faith in Christ vs. Just the Appearance of It

One of the ways we demonstrate our trust in God is by prioritizing our time seeking Him in prayer. It’s time for a checkup to see how we’re doing as Christians plugged into all that God offers us, or just looking like it. One of the ways we demonstrate our trust in God is by prioritizing our time seeking Him in prayer. It’s time for a checkup to see how we’re doing as Christians plugged into all that God offers us, or just looking like it. To watch this week’s video message, click [APPERANCE].

Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) - Origins, Celebrations, Parade - HISTORYNovember 1, 2022
Our Ongoing Relationship with the Departed

On Dia de Los Muertos (the Day of the Dead) our Latino brothers and sisters celebrate the ongoing life and presence of their departed loved ones. We can learn from this experience not to overstate the separation we experience with our departed loved ones in Christ. To watch this week’s video message, click [EXPERIENCE].

Perception is more important than reality in building great products | by Meghan Wenzel | UX CollectiveOctober 26, 2022
If Perception is Reality, Let’s Change our Reality!

With so much suffering going on in our lives and around us, it’s wonderful to know that we have an instantaneous, powerful way to change our experience of those realities. Today we reflect on one simple change that can make all the difference. To watch this week’s video message, click [PERCEPTION].

The Political & Religious: How Two Controversial Subjects Have Shaped My Past and Orients My Future | by Isaiah Crowl | MediumOctober 19, 2022
POLITICS AND RELIGION AND ABORTION…Oh, my!

Politics and religion are tricky subjects to discuss on their own but in combination can be nearly impossible to navigate. This week we reflect on some principles that can guide us to navigate these tricky waters. To watch this week’s video message, click [TRICKY].

October 12, 2022
Becoming Unmoored

We recently saw the images of boats driven far inland from the force of Hurricane Ian. This image can reflect the reality of many in our world who are literally unmoored from the stabilizing forces that used to be more commonly held. Christ is “the Way, the Truth and the Life” for all true Christians, and provides us with all the safely and stability we need in this stormy world. To watch this week’s video message, click [MOORINGS].

October 5, 2022
The Right Reason to Act Right

While many bemoan the loss of proper dress and etiquette in today’s society, the problem is worse than people not knowing what those standards are. Many don’t think there should be standards at all because they inhibit our self-expression. We reflect on developing a Christian attitude towards etiquette and protocol. To watch this week’s video message, click [RIGHT].

NASA Is About to Crash Into an Asteroid. Here's How to Watch. - The New York TimesSeptember 28, 2022
The Great Power of Small Changes

The DART mission of NASA demonstrates how small changes can have great effect. this is a great lesson to bring into all aspects of our life, but especially our spiritual life. it’s time to take on the small changes and watch God bring great effect from them. To view this Midweek Reflection, visit [CHANGES].

Self Reflection: A Path to Knowledge and HappinessSeptember 21, 2022
Changing our Relationships with Pain

We all find pain, well–painful! It seems an automatic thing to avoid it whenever we encounter it, but as we reflect on it, pain can be a valuable experience in our lives, leading us to many of our higher goals. To view this Midweek Reflection, visit [PAIN].

30k+ The Cross Pictures | Download Free Images on Unsplash

September 14, 2022
Our Unlikely, Likely Faith

The Christian story is in many ways an unlikely one: a God who sends His Son to die for His people on the Cross, and then calls His people to continue living in sacrificial love. in many ways, it’s an unexpected guiding principle upon which to found a Faith. And yet, when looked at clearly and objectively, I think anyone–whether Christian or not–would find this the best way to believe and live. To view this Midweek Reflection, Visit [FAITH].

The Rubber Band Metaphor in Floortime - We chose play, joy every daySeptember 7, 2022
Being Stretched By God

Being stretched by God is a good thing for us, but it doesn’t always feel that way. We can take comfort that if God is stretching us, it’s for our growth, even if not our comfort. To view this Midweek Reflection, Visit [STRETCHED]

Why Intelligent Minds Embrace the Rule of Focus | Inc.com

August 31, 2022
Putting Our Attention Where It Belongs

In today’s day and age, it is so easy to let our focus go to where it is drawn no matter how distant and significantly unimportant it is. We reflect this week on the importance of putting our attention exactly where God has placed us: in the here and now. To view this Midweek Reflection, visit [FOCUS].

Photo montage LOVE - PixizAugust 24, 2022
Love–Before, During and Always

With all of the challenges and confusion of our lives these days, we need a guiding principle with which to encounter and deal with them all. For the Christian that guiding principal is love, Christian love, to be lived before, during and until the end of each of the challenges that comes our way. To view this Midweek Reflection, visit [LOVE].

BRF | Leading Christian charity enabling ministry and mission | Exploring Values with the Bible - ForgivenessAugust 17, 2022
A World of Repentance and Forgiveness 

While the whole world knew about Will Smith’s slap of Chris Rock, relatively few heard about Smith’s apology video. We live in a world that overemphasizes offenses and minimizes the remedy of those offenses through repentance, apologies and forgiveness. Christians live the opposite way, and we are called to God’s level of love and forgiveness. To view this Midweek Reflection, visit [FORGIVENESS]

August 10, 2022
No more being TRIGGERED!

Being “triggered” may have already become an accepted “fact” in our modern conception of humanity, but our Orthodox Christian anthropology assures us of our creation in God’s Image and Likeness. Among other aspects, that includes us being rational beings, able to understand and reason out our understandings, and to do so freely, and then to freely decide on our response. There is no triggering because we are free to think and act as God has given us the freedom. To view this Midweek Reflection, visit [TRIGGERED].

July 27, 2022
Faith is Deeds, not Words, Thoughts or Feelings

We often define our faith by how we feel: how much we trust in God, or don’t. Faith is actually the action we take whether because of–or in spite of–our feelings. It’s time we all had a little more faith, which means it’s time to do something, not just think or talk about it. To view this Midweek Reflection, visit [FAITH].

July 20, 2022
The Joyful Brotherhood of the Priesthood

While at this year’s clergy symposium, I reflect on the gift of the Holy Priesthood. It is the gift of God bringing His presence directly to the Church, but it is also a gift to those who share this Priesthood as fellow Brothers in Christ. To view this Midweek Reflection, visit [BROTHERHOOD].

July 13, 2022
Feeling Unhinged: Our Increasing Disconnection from the Past

We live in a world where many consider it acceptable to reject the reality of the past based on their current desires and ideals. Time is one of God’s greatest gifts, and we becoming truly unhinged by rejecting the past and not knowing how to deal with it with the ongoing Grace God provides. To view this Midweek Reflection, visit [FEELING UNHINGED].

July 6, 2022
The Freedom of Enslavement

On the 4th of July, we celebrate the freedoms we enjoy in our country, so this week we reflect on the enslavement that ironically follows the continual exercise of our freedom. True freedom is found when we freely choose to enslave ourselves to Christ. To view this Midweek Reflection, visit [TRUE FREEDOM].

June 29, 2022
Time To Make Your Voice Be Heard…(or not)
The growing divisiveness in our culture has only grown stronger now with the recent decision of the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. It is assumed that all of us–no matter which side of this issue we’re on–are obligated by duty to loudly defend our position and MAKE OUR VOICES BE HEARD. The example of Jesus shows us that this may not always be the case. To view this Midweek Reflection, visit [VOICE].

June 15, 2022
The Growing Darkness

Having passed yesterday’s summer solstice, the nights will go longer and longer until the days just before Christmas. This parallels the growing darkness that many people are detecting in the world today. While this growing darkness is a reality, Christians have within us the ability to access growing light, the light of Christ shining in our own hearts.    

 

June 15, 2022
Feeling Unhinged: Our Increasing Disconnection from the Past
We live in a world where many consider it acceptable to reject the reality of the past based on their current desires and ideals. Time is one of God’s greatest gifts, and we becoming truly unhinged by rejecting the past and not knowing how to deal with it with the ongoing Grace God provides. To watch the video, click here.

 

June 8, 2022
Celebrating Pride Month
It seems everywhere we go recently we are invited to celebrate Pride Month. Orthodox Christians have a pretty different take on what it means to have pride.  To hear today’s Midweek Reflection, visit the link: [PRIDE].

 

 

May 25, 2022
The Only Solution
Yet one more mass shooting is eliciting varied and aggressively disagreeable solutions for this recurring problem. Only the fullness of Christian faith as Jesus Christ brought it to us, with all the inherent goodness it brings, will bring the solution to any earthly problems, great and small. To view this week’s video, click HERE.

 

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May 18, 2022
Christ, The Uniter of All
In a world which appears to be tearing itself apart, be it through war, ideological or political differences, Christ stands as the Uniter of all. As Christians, we can join in His ministry of uniting all, despite whatever differences we have with those who disagree with us. Different opinions don’t need to result in separation. We have something better to offer the world. To view this week’s video, click HERE.

 

May 11, 2022
People of the Cross
Orthodoxy seems to be in the news a lot this week: a not-so-complimentary segment on NPR’s Morning Edition, accusations of all sorts regarding the war in Ukraine and the complicity of the Orthodox Church, and the heightened rhetoric toward those with a pro-life position on abortion following the leaked opinion on Roe v. Wade. We find ourselves with lots for which we could explain and/or defend. But we are people of the Cross, which means we bear all insults and accusations with the same love with which Christ bore His Cross. To view this week’s video, click HERE.

 

April 27, 2022
Metropolitan JOSEPH’S Paschal Message
“We must not lose sight of the glorious mysteries of Holy Week as we return to the mundane succession of calendar days. Instead, we must strive to carry this vision of redemption and renewal into every home, workplace, marketplace, and public space we enter. We must bring every action and every relationship into this glorious light, letting the new life from Christ renew them all. May God strengthen our resolve to do just that, for our good and His glory.” To view this week’s video, click here.

 

April 20, 2022
Jumping Back and Forth Through Time
The content of the Holy Week services jump back and forth from Creation to the End of Time, and everywhere in between. At the same time, they focus on the most important time for us to consider as we make our decisions in life: the present moment. To view this week’s video, click here.

 

 

 

 

April 13, 2022
The Power of Holy Week
God’s most powerful message was the life, words and actions of Jesus of Nazareth, and among all of those, none was more powerful than His Passion, Crucifixion and Resurrection. We know about all of those due to the testimony of the Holy Scriptures, but there is no more powerful context to encounter that reality than the Divine Services of Holy Week. Nothing will be more convincing of the overwhelming love of God for us. To view this week’s video, click here.

 

 

April 6, 2022
You Gotta Show Up to Be There
As the days to enjoy and benefit from Great Lent become fewer, we reflect on the essential nature of the Lenten services to actually experience Lent. Without them, can we really say we are experiencing Lent? To view this week’s video, click here.

 

March 30, 2022
Being Okay with asking for Help
Somehow too many of us live under the false idea that we shouldn’t ask for help. In this season of repentance (AKA change), we are called to greater depths of humility, which is accepting the reality of our lives. One of those realities is that we all need help from each other, and we allow God to bless us when we accept the help that He sends us. Visit [ASK] to listen to this week’s Reflection.

 

 

 

 

March 23, 2022
Come, Holy Spirit, Sanctify Our Lives!
The cry for transformation and sanctification corresponds to the deepest longings and desires of the human being. The world as it is, our existence, as it actually is, needs transformation. We cannot be content with things as they are. We must change ourselves and the way things are; but how?

TWO AVENUES…

There are two ways of asking the Holy Spirit to be involved in any process of transformation leading to holiness. One is to ask him to assist with our efforts. This is the way of ethics: we do the planning, we make the efforts, and the Spirit is asked to help. The other way is to leave everything to the Spirit. We do nothing but pray, and leave everything to the Spirit. Both of these extremes are wrong, but of these two the first one is probably the one we have to watch out for more carefully at this time of widespread rationalism and planning. Click here to read this week’s Reflection.

 

March 16, 2022
The Rotten Way to New Life
Beautiful gardens capped with mulch speak of the new life of Spring, but the reality is that new life comes with the rotting and decaying reality of what mulch actually is. In the same way, if we are going to find our way to new life in this “Lenten Spring,” it will be by dying to ourselves, our desires, our sins and our passions. This is the path of Christ. This is the path He has set before us.. Click here to listen to this week’s Reflection.

 

March 9, 2022
Warfare, Seen and Unseen
As we witness the horror of war raging in Ukraine, in real time, we also know that other ongoing armed conflicts are outside of our attention simply because they are not covered by the media. We can fall victim to the same lack of awareness of the “unseen warfare” going on around and within us as the forces of good and evil vie for our allegiance. Great Lent is a time to renew our commitment to God and to following His way, which only happens when we are victorious in our own spiritual battles. Click here to listen to this week’s Reflection.

 

March 2, 2022
“The home I have and the land I am on is from the hand of God”   A Message from Bishop ANTHONY
We were so blessed to have his grace, Bishop ANTHONY with us this past weekend. This week’s Midweek Reflection comes to us from him, so please take a moment to reflect on his message about gratitude and humility as we enjoy those things so graciously provided to us by God. To listen to this week’s Reflection visit: [BISHOP ANTHONY SERMON].

 

 

February 23, 2022
Fixing God’s Bad Reputation
The world seems to know God less and less, but Orthodox Christianity is a faith of knowing Him more and more. The Parable of the Prodigal Son is one step in our journey to and through Great Lent to the Resurrection, throughout which we can see God not as we are afraid He is or assume He might be, but as He really is. Click here to listen to this week’s Reflection.

 

February 16, 2022
Christian Conversations
With some topics like race, it’s easy to say we’re sick of the topic. But we have to ask ourselves if we’ve had those conversations from a Christian perspective and in a Christian manner. This Saturday’s conference on “Christian Views on Race” is one such opportunity to bring the light of Christ to complex and challenging problems. Click here to listen to this week’s Reflection.

 

February 9, 2022
2022 General Assembly Pastoral Address
My beloved brothers, our parish Clergy, esteemed members of our Parish Council, leaders  of our God-directed ministries and  fellowship groups, brothers and sisters in Christ. It is my honor to once again stand  before you as your Pastor and offer this  Annual Pastoral Address, in which it  falls to me to offer a shepherd’s eye view of the year we recently completed, and this view of the year to come. This past year was full of large accomplishments, some of which  were once-in-a-lifetime level occasions which all were blessed to witness. Others were seemingly  small and often hidden from the view of most. For  some of these, I was the only one there to recognize the momentousness of the occasion, be that a moment of repentance in Confession, a change of heart  in the midst of spiritual  direction, or a life changed by means of an expression of the Church’s  love. We now enter  another year in the life of our parish, and  in some ways, we do so with unprecedented strength. . To read Father Michael’s 2022 Pastoral address, click here.  

 

February 2, 2022
We Don’t Predict the Future
For people who rationally know that we can’t predict the future, we so often act as if we can. On this Feast of the Presentation of Christ (as well as Groundhog Day), we should accept that the future is still an open book for us and stop acting in the present as if we know the future. To watch this week’s video, click here.

 

January 26, 2022
The True Joy of Christ, Surrounding Us All the Time We are taught that the joy of Christ has no comparison with any earthly “joy” but too often we can’t seem to find much of it. Today we reflect on the possibility that the joy of Christ is beneath all the happy moments that are always available to us. These can become sources of the joy of Christ for us, all the time. To watch this week’s video, click here.

 

January 19, 2022
Proportional Listening is Christ-like Love Many societal problems today cannot be solved with societal solutions, but Christian love can solve anything. Today we reflect on the importance of listening to different viewpoints from people who have different experiences as a path forward, not just to solving worldly issues but spreading the love of Christ to all. To watch this week’s video (5:48), click here.

 

January 12, 2022 

Who is My Neighbor?  A volunteer group from our parish is in Tennessee this week for some disaster recovery work, and it raises the question of just how far we go to help out people in need? The answer comes from Jesus’ parable about the Good Samaritan, in which he tells us that our neighbor is the one that we can help, wherever–and whoever–they happen to be. Click here to watch today’s video.

 

January 5, 2022 

GOD ONLY KNOWS!  As we deal with another day of unpredictable weather, instead of bemoaning inaccurate weather forecasts, we can take comfort in our loving God Who is the only One who really knows what we too often think we do know but really don’t, including what’s the weather going to be like in a few hours!  Click here to watch today’s video.

 

December 29, 2021 

CHRISTIANS DO NOT IMPOSE ON ANOTHER  We continue to celebrate the birth of our Lord who shows us the pattern for all Christians. Just as He did not impose His will on others but instead was imposed upon, we are called to do the same. This is not only God’s will, but the solution to all of the challenges facing us today. Click here to watch today’s video.

 

December 22, 2021

HERE COMES THE SUN!   It is not by coincidence that the Feast of Christ’s Birth happens near the Winter Solstice, the point at the hours of daylight will increase for the next half of the year. No matter how dark the world become–or our lives lived in it–the light of Christ can always be found, right within our hearts. Why? Because…Joy to the world, the Lord is come! To view this week’s video, click SUN.

 

December 15, 2021

TRUTH, THE PROTECTION FROM FEAR   In a world where fear can only grow if left to its own devices, all of us are given the gift of the Truth to rein in both our fears, and the many other negative outcomes of our fears. Jesus is the Truth that leads us to all other truths, and truth will always set us free.. To watch this week’s  Midweek Reflection, click here.

 

December 8, 2021

PROTECTING OUR REPUTATIONS   Too much of our energy gets used up and worrying about what people think about us. Today I reflect on moving all of that wasted energy into where it’s really needed: being concerned about what God thinks about us. To watch this week’s  Midweek Reflection, click here.

 

December 1, 2021

ALL THE TIME   Preachers are always challenged to live by the words we call others to live by. In this week’s reflection, I look back on a homily I gave on the eve of Thanksgiving, where the challenge was to be grateful for all things, as exemplified by the beautiful Akathist Hymn: Glory to God for All Things (available at ww1.antiochian.org/orthodox-prayers/akathist-of-thanksgiving). That includes giving glory to God for everything from sunrises and spring rains to dark nights, sicknesses, and even “azure basilisks” (translation: blue snakes!). I reflect on my own words, not knowing that I spoke them as Covid-19 began to spread in my own body, but relearning that God is Good, all the time. To watch this week’s special “Quarantine Edition” of the Midweek Reflection, click here.

 

November 17, 2021

SEEING SIN AS SICKNESS   Our Orthodox Faith views sin much more analogous to our physical illnesses than it does to breaking laws. When we understand this perspective, we don’t hide our sin with fear and shame but we present ourselves to the Physician of our souls who seeks to love and heal us. To watch this week’s video, click on SICKNESS.

 

November 10, 2021

THE GLORY OF FALL    The radiance of fall leaves betrays the reality of that glory being in truth an expression of their dying. This is a reflection of Christ’s triumph over death, and can remind us that dying to ourselves joins us to Christ’s death but also His glorious resurrection. To view this week’s video, click [Glory].

November 3, 2021

THE PROJECTION DESK    After another “Election Night in America” last night, we get a clue to our very human desire to know the outcome of all of the unknowns in our lives. This desire can be helpful to us only as much as we understand the Final Outcome on the Last Day. We can be distracted by our work to “make projections” out of elections, weather forecasts and so many other things, or we can put our focus on being who God has called us to be, and working to be on His winning side when all is said and done. To view this week’s video, click [The Projection Desk].

 

 

October 27, 2021

MY BOOK RECOMMENDATION OF THE WEEK    We see recommendations for books online or in bookstores, and in this week’s reflection I recommend a book from THE Book, the Bible: the book of Proverbs. In the world in which we live, information is going exponentially, but we find ourselves in great need of the most precious commodity of wisdom. To view this week’s video, click [Book Review].

October 20, 2021

LOVE FOR GOD    Today’s reflection is the third of three which supplement our five-part series (Seven Minutes to Live) on the importance and urgency of becoming more prayerful in our lives. Amid the many motivations and reasons to pray, none can compare with the power of our love for God. Simply put, if we love Him, we’ll pray. And we’ll pray because we love Him. To view this week’s video (6:38), click [Love for God].

October 13th, 2021

THREE INGREDIENTS TO A GOOD PRAYER LIFE (Part 2 of 3)   As a supplement to the five part sermon series on Prayer entitled “Seven Minutes to Live,” in this week’s Midweek Reflection we look at the second of three qualities we need to foster in our lives in order to be disciplined in prayer, or in anything in life for that matter. That quality is discipline itself. Rather than the burden we typically feel discipline to be, it is the opportunity to become the people we really do want to become. We will run to our disciplines rather than avoid them once we understand that elemental truth. Click DISCIPLINE to watch this week’s video (5:45).

 

October 6, 2021

SCHEDULING YOUR APPOINTMENT WITH GOD      While not the most exciting topic, one of the most powerful techniques we can bring to making our prayer life consistent is the discipline of scheduling. As a supplement to the ongoing Sunday sermon series on Prayer, we explore the extraordinary benefit of making–and keeping–our appointments with God. To view this week’s video (4:16), click Midweek Reflection.

 

 September 29, 2021                                           

PERFECT LOVE CASTS OUT FEAR   Living in the times described by so many as “fearful,” it’s crucial that we Christians keep fear to a minimum and eventually work to cast it out of our lives. We reflect this week on LOVE as the antidote to fear and specifically who the object of that love should be. To view this week’s visit, click here.

 

 

 

 

September 22, 2021                                           

SEVEN MINUTES TO LIVE   If we only had seven minutes to live, we would know the importance of using some, if not all that time, to pray. In this series we will explore the motivation and methods to make sure that we spend at least that amount of time every day connecting with the God Who is waiting to connect with us, and providing us with a life worth living, the life He intended us to live. To view this week’s visit, click here.

 

September 15, 2021                                           

TRAINING OURSELVES  IN THE ORTHODOX FAITH  Even the amateur astronauts scheduled to go into space today on a self-flying rocket have gone through extensive training. Why do we think living our Christian faith needs any less training? We reflect on this in this week’s video. To view this week’s visit, click here.

 

 

September 8, 2021

BREAKING OUT OF SUNDAY MORNING ONLY  We all want to grow in our faith but struggle to make that a reality. The most important thing we can do in that regard is to attend church more often. On this day, the Nativity of the Theotokos, a day that most people are completely ignorant of, I reflect on the importance of celebrating days like today by participating in worship together with our brothers and sisters in Christ. To view this week’s visit, click here.

 

August 25, 2021

THANK GOD FOR VISIBLE LANE MARKINGS! We all know how important lane markings are to safely drive down the road, but we too often struggle with our commitment to live within the “lane markings” of God’s commandments and moral guidelines. More and more people are bidding Christ and the Church behind because they can’t accept these guidelines, which have been given to us by God Himself. All of us can reexamine our views on true Christian morality and work to see God’s Will as the blessing from Him that it is. To view this week’s video click here.

 

August 18, 2021

SOMETIMES YOU JUST HIRE SOMEONE   We know from every aspect of our life (including plumbing repairs) that sometimes you just need to hire someone, when the job is too important and you don’t have the right skills and resources to do it on your own. This week, our parish takes the big step of bringing on a full-time Youth Ministry Director to address the most important issue we face as a parish: keeping our young people connected to Christ through His Holy Church. To watch this week’s video, click here.

 

 

August 11, 2021

OUR HOMEOSTATIC, PEACEFUL GOD  Going through the storms of life can lead us to the perception that life is stormy and tumultuous. The fact that we return to calm after every storm and that lakes settle into flat calmness can remind us that our God is a stable source of peace and calm, even if life brings storms from time to time. Click here.

 

 

 

August 4, 2021

JUST STOP! Most of us experience the world at a pretty rapid pace. As I enjoy some family time on vacation this week, I’m also reflecting on the importance of slowing down to a full stop. This is how we really experience the depth of the present moment, in which we encounter both the closeness of God and our own true selves. Click here.

 

 

July 21, 2021

“GOD, THIS IS FUN!” We cannot escape God. Sometimes, we only think of God in a crisis; however, He is not far from any of us. Our Creator has placed His seal upon our lives. To view this week’s video (3:27), click here.

June 23, 2021

UNPREDICTABLE WEATHER! We can all be frustrated when a weather forecast ends up being horribly wrong, but another approach is to find the humility to celebrate the fact that we can’t predict–let alone control–very much. This can really be reason to celebrate because all that happens does so under God’s Providence, which we can rest in, instead of frustration with our own limited abilities. To view this week’s video (3:54), click here.

 

June 16, 2021

FAILURE TO YIELD After being in yet another car accident this week (thank God, everyone was fine), the driver with whom our car collided was given a citation for “failure to yield,” which is ticket-speak for the guy was distracted and made a left turn right into our line as we traveled in the opposite direction. While sounding so mild compared to the damage inflicted on two wrecked vehicles, I reflect this week on the much more damaging “failure to yield,” when we don’t yield our time, attention and deference, both to the people around us, to God Himself. To watch this week’s video (4:33) please click here.

 

June 9, 2021

ENDING WELL   

As we take leave of Pascha for 2021, we reflect on endings in general. In our modern lives, we tend to glaze over endings, but when we celebrate them, we elevate the importance of both the time that draws to a close AND the time about to begin. To view this week’s video (3:05), click here.

 

May 26, 2021

THE NEW LIFE OF THE RESURRECTION   

On this Feast of Mid-Pentecost, halfway between the Feasts of Pascha and Pentecost, we reflect on the new life offered to us by the Resurrection of Christ, and our empowerment in that new life, given by the Holy Spirit, Who comes to us at Pentecost. To watch this week’s video (4:33), click here.

 

May 19, 2021

COPING WITH CHANGE     The change in CDC recommendations last week which removed in large part the requirement of wearing of masks was a change that was long-awaited by many, yet still resulted in confusion and disruption. We all just have a hard time with change, even when we see the change as good! This week we reflect on change, and how to deal with it much more positively and effectively. To view this week’s video (length 3:33), click here.

 

May 12, 2021

NOTHING TO COMPLAIN ABOUT!    On a picture-perfect day here in West Michigan, it’s an ironically good day to talk about how easily we all find things to complain about. This week we reflect on just why that might be and what each of us can do to complain a whole lot less. To view this week’s video (length 5:24), click here.

 

 April 21, 2021

THE TRUE TEST OF HOLY WEEK  Orthodox Christians who strive to participate in Holy Week often see the time as a true test of faith, to endure lots of long services, etc. The truest test of Holy Week, however, is the test of God’s love for us. Jesus will face all of the difficulties, yet never turns away from them. By the end of Holy Week, we can see that God’s love has been tested to the utmost, yet His love never wavers and we can see it more clearly than ever. To watch this week’s Midweek Reflection (<4 minutes), click here.

 

April 14, 2021

WHERE WE GET THE STRENGTH

With the best of intentions we Christians can try to live the lives Christ has invited us to live, but we don’t seem to be able to find the strength to do it. We reflect on where we get the strength to do that, and that He is both the source of our strength and the means to receive it. To watch this week’s Midweek Reflection (<7 minutes), click here.

March 31, 2021

FITTING IN AS A CHRISTIAN IN AN UNCHRISTIAN WORLD  We all feel the struggle of living “in” the world but trying not to live being “of” the world. We reflect on this topic as we try to live one life while dealing with two very different perspectives, motivations and goals. To watch this week’s Midweek Reflection (5 minutes, 3 seconds), click here.

 

March 24, 2021

Ask, Don’t Tell   This week I share a lesson I learned from my Google Assistant, of all things. Learning to ask questions instead of just telling someone something invites reflection, communication, and shows love and respect, all things our world could use a lot more of these days. To view this week’s video, click here.

 

 

March 17, 2021

Are You Hungry?    In our culture of abundance, we rarely experience hunger, but if we fast, we will! Our physical hunger then parallels our spiritual hunger as we make the spiritual efforts of Great Lent. The Church seeks to satisfy that hunger with the additional offering of Holy Communion through the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts. In Christ, we are filled with all that we need and our hunger is eliminated! To view this week’s video, click here.

 

March 10, 2021

The Debt is Fully Paid!   One month ago, we reflected on the burden of both financial debt and the “spiritual debt” that stems from a lack of forgiveness. As we make an important announcement regarding our parish’s mortgage, we reflect on one of the most powerful ways to clear out all debts of the past that we hold on to through a lack of forgiveness, and find our way to full and complete forgiveness of everyone for everything. The debt can be truly and fully paid! To view this week’s Midweek Reflection, click here.

February 24, 2021

Constant Expectation     The Early Christians struggled when our Lord did not immanently return as they expected Him to after His Ascension to His Father. You are I struggle not with the confusion of His delay in returning, but perhaps by living as if we don’t even expect it. We are all invited to return to a state of expectation of our Lord’s return, to judge the living and the dead, to usher in His Kingdom, and to joyfully reunite with all those who love His appearing. To view this week’s Midweek Reflection, click here.

February 17, 2021

The Blessing of Fasting     Unlike the time when having to fast for Lent was too often seen as a bad thing, the world has caught on to the blessing that fasting is. In today’s video, I reflect on this a bit, and invite everyone to join us for a deeper exploration of the topic in an online event held this Sunday (information at stnicholasgr.com/fasting). Let’s not miss out on the blessing of fasting! To view this week’s Midweek Reflection, click here.

February 10, 2021

The Burden of Debt     As our parish works hard to pay off the two-decade old debt of our mortgage, we reflect on the burden debt has in its many forms, and the importance of shaking it off whenever possible. To view this week’s Midweek Reflection, click here.

 

February 3, 2021

Failure Is Not An Option     When we hear that “failure is not an option” we think we have to eliminate it from our life. Actually, it’s not an option because–like it or not–we are going to fail, and the best we thing we can do is accept that and learn from each failure, trusting in God for His love for us, even in the midst of our failure. To view this week’s Midweek Reflection, click here.

January 20, 2021

The Most Important Transfer of Power     On this Inauguration Day, the words “peaceful transition of power” describe this important element in our nation’s governance, but there is an even more important “peaceful transition of power” that God invites us to everyday, and that is the transition of power from our own “self-governance” to our willing obedience to be governed by Him. Click here to see this week’s Midweek Reflection.

January 13, 2021

What Purity Really Means     We tend to think of “purity” in relative terms of goodness and badness, or guilt and innocence. In St. James’ Epistle, he shares a different view, which can both challenge us and inspire us to rediscover the purity with which–and for which–we were created. This is the purity that will lead the world toward what God wants for us all: to be “peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy” (James 3:17). Click here to see this week’s Midweek Reflection.

January 6, 2021

True Refreshment     In our challenging lives today we often seek refreshment, but too often from things that don’t refresh, namely escapes and sinful pursuits. On Holy Theophany, we reflect on the true refreshment Christ offers us, symbolized in the Blessing of the Waters. God always brings true refreshment. Click here to see this week’s Midweek Reflection.

December 30, 2020

All Things New      One of the last things we hear Jesus say in the entire Bible is “Behold, I make all things new!” We can be reminded of this newness with every snowfall, every new day, every Confession, every New Year. May we receive the blessing of newness from our loving God. View this week’s Midweek Reflection here.

December 23, 2020

Making Sure There’s Room     At the first Christmas, there was “no room in the inn” for Christ to be born. In this week’s Midweek Reflection, we consider how to make sure we don’t make the same mistake and have no room for Christ in our lives and hearts, this Christmas, in the New Year and for all our days. View this week’s Midweek Reflection here.

December 16, 2020    

Asking for Help     In one last reflection on a bike trip I took a few months ago, I reflect on the fact that for all kinds of reasons, most of us are reluctant or even unwilling to ask for help when we need it. Yet if God provides us everything we need, then we really should be willing to ask for help from the people He has placed in our lives. View this week’s Midweek Reflection here.

December 9, 2020

The Certainty of Uncertainty     Among the many challenges of 2020 has been uncertainty on many levels. The hard truth is that many things we think are certain are not, but the one thing that we need to be certain about is the one thing we can be certain about–the love of God and the restoration of all that is good that He offers us. View this week’s Midweek Reflection here.

December 2, 2020

Time Travel, Jesus, and the Bishop       It’s no small fact that Jesus chose people to carry His “Way, Truth and Life” through time, from the time of His earthly life and ministry until the present. Sacred Scriptures also “travel through time” bringing to us directly the words and life of Jesus, but He entrusts people with being the main conduit of the life He brought us 2,000 years ago. The bishops of the Church are those people, so when we have the opportunity to be in their presence, it’s no small gift. Watch Fr. Michael’s Midweek Reflection here.

November 25, 2020

Thanksgiving, No Matter What     It’s easy to be thankful when things go our way, but if we’re only thankful then, maybe it’s not gratitude, but just satisfaction. In 2020, some are feeling like there’s not a lot to be grateful for, but if God is good, He’s good all the time, and there are blessings from Him, even in the midst of suffering. Real thankfulness to God comes from the heart, in good times and tough times alike. To view this week’s Midweek Reflection, click here.

 

November 18, 2020

Are you a Democrat or a Republican?     More than just a grammatical choice in saying, “I am a Democrat,” or “I am a Republican,” we Christians have only one identity, and that’s as Christians. We may “vote” with a certain party or make all kinds of choices, but we should not elevate any of those choices to the same level as our one and only identity as followers of Jesus Christ. This is a great gift we Christians can offer a world in great need. To watch the video, click here.

 

 

November 11, 2020

It’s 2020!

We hear “It’s 2020” and we know it refers to things being BAD!! But…does it? In this week’s Midweek Reflection we begin to examine how much of the angst and pain we experience is actually from what happens all around us–as bad as it has been. Instead of looking OUTSIDE of us, we can begin to look INWARD at our inner life–the life of our mind, our heart, our soul–and find there the remedies from God for all that ails us. Even if it is 2020! To watch the video, click here.

November 4, 2020

Don’t be Fooled by the Mirage      A mirage is what you see that you think is real but is really more of what you expect to see, hope to see, or sometimes, even what you’re afraid you’re seeing. In a world where there are so many mirages that can fool us into accepting lies and thinking they’re truths, we are invited to see not just a truth, but Truth Himself, Jesus Christ. To watch the video, click here.

October 28, 2020

Slowing Down to a Stop      

In this week’s reflection, I continue to share some things I learned on a recent two-day bike trip. This week I reflect on the sanity–both mental and spiritual–we regain when we slow down our frenetic pace…all the way to stop. And there, we find the Eternal God, Who is always ready to meet us at the only time we can meet Him: now. This video can be found here.

October 21, 2020

Regaining Perspective     Most of us severely underestimate the amount of influence on our perspectives of the world come from the screens that we think are only helpful. In today’s video I reflect upon a recent two day biking trip I took, and how it helped me regain some perspective of the reality of the beautiful world around us. This reflection can be found at [Perspective].

 

September 23, 2020

THANK YOU, PRESIDENT TRUMP AND FORMER VICE-PRESIDENT BIDEN! (TALKING ABOUT TALKING ABOUT RACE, PART 3)

Using the first “presidential” debate as an illustration on what NOT to do when having a productive conversation. we finish this series on talking about race by holding up two important virtues: respect and humility. These provide the framework for us to have conversations on important topics that actually lead to productive actions. Fr. Michael continues this topic in today’s Midweek Reflection, found on his YouTube page at youtube.com/c/fathermichael.

September 16, 2020

THE MISSING PERSPECTIVE ON RACE, PART 1

Views on race and racial discrimination seem to be bound for an increase in conflict for which there does not seem to be a resolution. This tension is wreaking havoc, even in the spiritual lives of many. So-called “Christian” perspectives seem to be just those who use their Christian teaching to support their chosen political view, even if disguised as a moral view. I hope this week’s reflection will set the stage to explore what a true Christian perspective on the issue would be. This is the only way we can not find lasting solutions in this life, but that those solutions would lead us toward the Kingdom of Heaven, and not away. Video will be posted today at noon on Fr. Michael’s YouTube page.

September 10, 2020

UNEXAMINED ASSUMPTIONS

Our modern “wisdom” frequently discards traditional mores and values and replaces them with so-called “enlightened” ideas. And yet these new ways often lack any critical examination, and certainly place adherence to the Christian Faith anywhere but the top of the priority list. Among these is the common practice of a couple living together before they are married. Fr. Michael will discuss this topic in this week’s Midweek Reflection, found by clicking here.

September 2, 2020

THE NEWNESS OF REPENTANCE

For this week’s Midweek Reflection, we think about September 1st being New Year’s Day in the Orthodox Church each year. This gives us an occasion to focus on BOTH realities of repentance: its long, difficult road of making the effort, and the blessed joy of realizing the goodness of it. Click here for the video.

August 26, 2020

THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD

For this week’s bit of mid-week spiritual refreshment, we hear from our beloved Father in Christ, His Grace, Bishop ANTHONY. In this beautiful talk, His Grace offers a “prequel” to his previous “Reflections on the Spiritual Life” by focusing on the knowledge of God as what precedes our spiritual efforts. Our knowledge of God is nothing less than the purpose of our life, and you will be refreshed by His Grace’s words, which you can hear by clicking here.

August 19, 2020

FORGED BY ADVERSITY

No one has to tell anyone that 2020 has been a tough year. For most of us, the difficulties are fodder for our discontent, discomfort and dismay. But what if this difficult year could be seen as the very thing we’ve needed? We don’t wish tragedy on anyone, but maybe there’s another side to see our current circumstances. In this week’s Midweek Reflection, I’ll share some thoughts on this important perspective. Join me live on my YouTube page at 3 pm today at youtube.com/c/fathermichael, or see the video posted on our Parish YouTube page at youtube.com/c/stnicholasgr or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/stnicholasgrandrapids/.

August 12, 2020

Dating in the Age of Covid…and When NOT in the Age of Covid

After a few conversations with young adults concerned about how to date in a age of no gatherings, I’ll tackle the issue from a perspective that was just as important before Covid as it is during. And the principles work the same in all relationships. I’ll go live at 3 PM today, or see it archived, both at our St. Nicholas YouTube Channel at youtube.com/c/stnicholasgr.

August 5, 2020

ARE YOU INFECTED??

And no, I’m not talking about coronavirus (isn’t it nice to take a break from that topic once in a while?). No, this is a different epidemic, and sadly, I think it’s much more destructive. It has an interesting name which I only heard recently: Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, or MTD for short. What is this terrible disease ravaging our world today? Tune into my MidWeek Reflection to hear more about it, and thankfully, how to get the vaccine! I will be live on our parish livestream at 3 pm today at youtube.com/c/stnicholasgr, and the recording will be available on that page following the talk, as well as our parish Facebook page (which you somehow don’t need to be on Facebook to get to: facebook.com/stnicholasgrandrapids.