Little Suns on Stems

Be like a dandelion, whenever they fall apart, they start again. Have hope. ~ Anonymous

Love all creation, the whole of it and every grain of sand within it. Love every leaf, every ray of God’s light. Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things.~ Starets Zosima, in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov

Dandelions make me smile. They were the first backyard flowers I ever picked, and seemed like beautiful, brilliant, little suns on stems. My mom lovingly placed many bedraggled bouquets into vases all around our home.

I picked daisies too, and was delighted that when turned upside down, they became tiny white tutus tinged with rosy pink edges. It was the first thing in my young life that I ever coveted… a daisypetal ballerina skirt. Yes, the “clothing thing” starts pretty young for some of us gals.

Fast-forward 50 years to church (this has absolutely nothing to do with dandelions)… where I helped my very young granddaughter venerate an icon. There happened to be an angel in it… an angel with… red shoes. My granddaughter, stood in deep contemplation (which I assumed to be a pious moment), until she whispered fiercely, “Baba, I want those shoes!” But, I digress, and since there wasn’t (to my knowledge), a local Byzantine Payless Shoes Store on this side of the Bosphorus, we can at least agree the gal “clothing/shoe thing” indeed seems inherent. Let us return again to the topic of dandelions.

I remember being around 4, and handing a fistful of crumpled suns to a visiting, elderly relative. Expecting to hear a grateful thank you, she instead recoiled in horror and hissed, “Weeds!”

What on earth were weeds? They sound terrible… horrible! Determined to defend, I stubbornly objected. “But, God made flowers! How can they be bad?” Of course that didn’t fly well with the visiting relative, and although the incident ended in a stalemate between her and I – God won that round.

Later, as a teen mowing our lawn (under duress), I observed how prolific and tenacious those blessed dandelions could be. They even pop up through cement cracks! Wow. Now that’s perseverance! Oh, that I could be just a little like that!

Whether by chance or design, and through a “herby” friend (who’d scoop up chickweed for a chew), I stumbled upon how healthy and nutritious dandelions are (unsprayed of course)! They’re literally everywhere! God created them, and they’re filled with His goodness. Who knows what other exciting benefits they hold? Time will tell.

Meanwhile, a young grandchild recently wove two dandelion-chain crowns, and solemnly placed one of the diadems on my head. We took a regal selfie together… oblivious to the sticky, white, sap dripping onto our bangs.

I thank God, Who, in His Wisdom and compassion, created the noble, persistent, dandelion – and grandchildren.

Here is a super video on “how to” choose and eat dandelion greens! If you pick them yourself, do make sure they’re unsprayed, and not too big. Otherwise they may be bitter, tough and furry! But when you time it just right, they’re amazing!

May your Lenten Journey be peaceful, fruitful, and green.

Budding Promises

Rose from Pixabay ~SchneeKnirschen

Rosebuds contain mysterious layers of hidden beauty. Immature buds have no perfume until they mature and bloom. Upon fruition, they radiate a myriad of fragrances which correspond to their various transformations. All buds promise the possibility of flowers, and fill us with joy, hope, and reflections of Sonshine.

For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; ~ 2 Corinthians 2:15

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. ~Ephesians 5:1-2

Oil and perfume make the heart glad, So a man’s counsel is sweet to his friend. ~ Proverbs 27:9

Your mind is the garden, your thoughts are the seeds, the harvest can either be flowers or weeds. ~ William Wordsworth

Sunday of All Saints

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,  looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. ~ Hebrews 12:1-2

Since the 4th century All Saints’ Day is celebrated on the first Sunday after the Great Feast of Pentecost. Today we commemorate all saints from everywhere… from the time of Adam until the end of the world. We honour the known and unknown… Whether they be men, women or children… these shining clouds of witnesses have lived to the fruition of Holiness.

All the Saints are like fragrant flowers in God’s Heavenly Garden.

Kontakion (a little hymn) of All Saints: The universe offers to Thee, O Lord, as the Planter of Creation, the God-bearing martyrs as the first-fruits of nature. By their prayers, O Most Merciful One, through the Mother of God keep Thy Church, Thy estate, in deep peace.

Sermon on Sunday of All Saints ~ Igumen Zacchaeus Wood

Alleluia!

Alleluia was inherited by the first Christians from Hebrew worship. It means Praise God.

The Polyeleos is the most festive part of the Matins service. The word comes from the Greek polys (much), and eleos (mercy). The Polyeleos Hymn consists of parts from Psalms 134 (Praise the name of the Lord, Alleluia) and Psalm 135 (Give thanks to the Lord, Alleluia) The Polyeleos singing is accompanied by multiple repetitions of For His mercy endures forever. During this part of service all the vigil lamps in the church are lit and blaze joyously.

Polyeleos (Much Mercy)

God’s Garden

Happy All Saints’ Day!

Since the 4th century, All Saints’ Day is celebrated the first Sunday after the Great Feast of Pentecost. Today we commemorate all saints from everywhere and from every time. We honour the known and unknown… Whether they be men, women or children… these shining clouds of witnesses have lived to the fruition of Holiness.

All the Saints are like fragrant flowers in God’s Heavenly Garden.

Kontakion (a little hymn) of All Saints: The universe offers to Thee, O Lord, as the Planter of Creation, the God-bearing martyrs as the first-fruits of nature. By their prayers, O Most Merciful One, through the Mother of God keep Thy Church, Thy estate, in deep peace.

Let us…

Grow where planted.

Beware the weeds.

Welcome the rain.

Embrace the sun.

Joyfully bloom.

Share the Harvest.

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith… Hebrews 12:1-2

He will send rain at the right time for your land. He will bless everything you do… Deuteronomy 28:12

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