Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever. ~ Hebrews 13:8
What a joyful consolation … especially with the constant change in our lives!
I love you, O Lord, my strength. ~ Psalm 18:1
Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. ~ Psalm 100:1-2
Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light… ~ Psalm 148
Let every thing that has breath Praise the Lord! ~ Psalm 150
Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” ~ St. John 20:29 (This blessing includes us – today!)
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. ~ Philippians 4:13
…be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. ~ Ephesians 5:18-20
If you ever have the chance to watch the classic 1963 movie: Lilies of the Field… do! It’s a heart-warming story starring Sidney Poitier as Homer Smith – a staunch Baptist, who winds up in Arizona, crossing paths with a convent of destitute nuns who emigrated from Eastern Europe.
The simple, contagiously joyful song Amen featured in the movie is an easy warm up I sometimes use at Youth Choir rehearsal, before turning it into a three-part “round”. The effect is amazing. We sing therepeated “one-word-prayer” Amen (just the part which the nuns sing in the movie) but use the softer sounding Awh-men pronunciation.
Over the years, the youth choir share they’ve often found themselves singing or humming this happy little piece (along with other psalmody of course) at unexpected times. Including… getting up for a glass of water in the middle of the night, or doing daily house chores, or driving in the family car on long, long, road trips!
Happy Summer! Amen!
Before praising God in private, before psalmody is truly prayerful, the song of the lips must first become the song of the soul. ~ Anonymous
If I ride the morning winds to the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, your strength will support me. ~ Psalm 139:9-10
Praise the Lord, O heavens! Praise him from the skies! Praise him, all his angels, all the armies of heaven. Praise him, sun and moon and all you twinkling stars. Praise him, skies above. Praise him, vapours high above the clouds. ~ Psalm 148: 1-4
Praise him from sunrise to sunset! ~ Psalm 113:3
Praise him, all heaven and earth! Praise him, all the seas and everything in them! ~ Psalm 69:34
In the New Testament we are called to be saints, and the Orthodox Church gives the title of saintto those who throughout history, have lived and died in Christ.
While Canonized (Glorified) Saints have their own feast days, there are countless multitudes of saints who don’t have a feast day… and some of these are even nameless Saints – known only to God!
Since the 4th century in Eastern Christendom, on the first Sunday after Pentecost, the Church continues to commemorate All the Saints (both past/present, known/unknown)! As all are alive in Christ, the saints are our friends and alive in Heaven. They are venerated, but not worshipped.
Today is a joint celebration honouring the Holy Apostles who spread the Gospel to the four corners of the earth, as well as All the Saints who’ve shone forth great love of Christ… whether by living a God-pleasing, righteous life, or by receiving a martyric crown.
[During the 8th century in Western Christendom, the Sunday of All Saints was transferred to the first Sunday in November – and even more recently was moved again to November 1st.]
Every one of us is the painter of his own life. Our soul is like the canvas, and the virtues are the paint. Jesus Christ is the image we should copy. ~ St. Gregory of Nyssa
To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.~ Romans 1:7
Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their’s and our’s: ~ 1 Corinthians 1:2
We live together with them (the Saints in heaven), in the house of the Heavenly Father, only in different parts of it. We live in the earthly, they in the heavenly half; but we can converse with them, and they with us. ~ St. John of Kronstadt
In God and in His Church there is no division between the living and the departed, but all are one in the love of the Father. Whether we are alive or whether we are dead, as members of the Church we still belong to the same family, and still have a duty to bear one another’s burdens. Therefore just as Orthodox Christians here on earth pray for one another and ask for one another’s prayers, so they pray for the faithful departed and ask the faithful departed to pray for them. Death cannot sever the bond of mutual love which links the members of the Church together. ~ Metropolitan Kallistos Ware
Happy Saint’s Day Irena! May God grant you many years!
Today is also the annual feast of the Wonderworking Icon of the Inexhaustible Cup(Chalice). The Icon’s Akathist to the Theotokos for help with the struggle of various addictions is here.
Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings.~ Psalm 17:8
He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye. ~ Deuteronomy 32:10
Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye.~ Proverbs 7:2
The expression of being the apple of one’s eye comes from the Old Testament, and is translated from Hebrew as little man of his eye… the reflection one sees in the eye of another. In early English translations of the Bible, the phrase appears as apple of his eye. This is derived from the Old English word aeppel, meaning either apple and/or an eye’s pupil. The phrase developed into apple of one’s eye, retaining the original meaning of something being both highly cherished and greatly treasured.
Thank you Fr. Serafim Mull Monastery for kind permission to use St. Caedmon’s Icon.
O sing unto the Lord a new song: sing unto the Lord, all the earth. ~ Psalm 96:1
Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; ~ Ephesians 5:19
…a psalm is the work of angels, a heavenly institution, the spiritual incense. ~ St. Basil the Great
Today is St. Caedmon’s Day! This 7th British Saint heard angels sing and wrote the earliest English poem in existence.
It’s heart-piercingly beautiful, and after wading through theseLatin, Northumbrian, West Saxon translationsand sources of his work… I knew this poem was just aching to be adapted into a simpler, modern English read.
Sadly, no original music remains of St. Caedmon’s hymn, and alas and alack, I never found any olden West Saxon melodies to work with… They’re scarcer than hen’s teeth!
You can imagine how thrilling it was to encounter the ancient 13th century Byzantine Greek Chant, Defte Lai–and know how the majestic melody would also suit the adaptation of St. Caedmon’s poem. It’s pure joy to reclaim Defte Lai’s ageless air for another venerable Orthodox Hymn.
Here’s the pdf sheet music for my 2022 adaptation and recording below of St. Caedmon’s Hymn.
3 chords used in this recording – while leaning on my ukulele crutch are: Fm; Cm; and B♭m
St. Caedmon’s Creation Hymn:
Come magnify Him, Creator of the firmament, Author of each and all, And glorify His purpose; Love, Invincible. Come and honour Him, Protector of Fair Paradise, Holy, Mighty, Immortal, Architect, Omnipotent; Father of Glory. Blessed, Timeless, Lord, Thou hast established Thy wonders, Before middle earth* was formed, Or adorned with Thought of Mind; Lord, God Almighty! For the sons of men; Thou formed the Roof of Heaven!
* Middle earth (not just a Tolkien invention)- it means the world, the middle enclosure – which exists between heaven and hell. From Middle English middel-erde, and Old English middangeard.
Through the Holy Prayers of St. Caedmon, may we – through the Wonderful Mystery of Creation, magnify our Blessed and Timeless Lord!
My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast! For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth! ~ Psalm 7: 7, 10-11
Look at the heavens, and see; and behold the clouds, which are higher than you. ~ Job 35:5
In love did God bring the world into existence; in love does He guide it during its temporal existence; in love is He going to bring it to that wondrous transformed state, and in love will the world be swallowed up in the Great Mystery of Him who has performed all these things. ~ St. Isaac the Syrian
Grace is not something Earned or deserved, grace through faith Is a Divine Gift.
Salvific blessings Flow through the doors of our hearts When we let Him in.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: ~ Ephesians 2:8
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. ~ Matthew 7:7-8
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. ~Revelation 3:20