Beloved Brothers and Sisters,
We are about to come to the end of the joyous 40 days of our celebration of Holy Pascha. In a few short days (June 10), we will celebrate the Feast of the Ascension of the Lord. The Scripture readings of the day (Acts 1:1-12; Luke 24: 36-53) tell the story of the Lord ascending to heaven in the sight of His apostles and disciples. Saint Luke recalls the moment: “And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen” (Luke 24:50-53).
An important detail of Saint Luke’s account of the Ascension is seen in the way in which the Apostles reacted to being present at this moment. Several years before, they had been called by the Lord to follow Him. They had accompanied the Lord throughout His ministry, had heard His preaching and teaching, and had observed Him preform great miracles. They were witnesses of His Resurrection and had walked with Him as He continued to instruct them. Now, forty days after the Resurrection, they are witnesses to the Lord as He ascends to heaven and takes His place at the Father’s right hand. Having experienced this intense and astounding moment, “they worshipped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God.”
The Apostles did not yet know what was to become of them, yet, even in the face of uncertainty, they were filled with great joy. They knew they were supposed to wait for something to happen. They knew they needed to stay together to support one another. They knew that the Lord had promised them that He would send the Comforter. But even with that knowledge, they were unsure as to what it meant. Nonetheless, they remained together, united in their love for the Lord Jesus. They were bound together by their common experience and their love for one another. And, together, they praised and blessed God. Their lives were now lived in total trust. They were confident that, as He had promised, the Lord would not abandon them.
In a sense, our experience over the past months (more than a year) is very much like those days lived by the Apostles after the Lord’s Ascension until the day of Pentecost. These have been times of uncertainty and sometimes confusion for all of us. Like the Apostles, we have remained together, we have supported one another, and have been comforted by knowing that the Lord has already sent the Holy Spirit upon His Church.
Let us praise and bless God for the mercies he has shown and continues to show us all. As we commemorate the Lord’s Ascension, we entrust ourselves to the Lord, looking ahead, trusting in His plan for us as we await His return and the complete fulfillment of His saving mission.
With love in the Risen and Ascended Lord,
June 20, 2021, Sunday
Pentecost, Divine Liturgy followed
by Kneeling Prayers, 9:00 a.m.
June 28, 2021, Monday
Vespers, 6:00 p.m.
June 29, 2021, Tuesday
Feast of Saints Peter and Paul
Divine Liturgy, 9:00 a.m.
We will celebrate the Feast of our heavenly patrons, the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, with Vespers and the Divine Liturgy on June 28 & 29. Our traditional luncheon to celebrate the feast and to observe Independence Day will take place after the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, July 4.
CONGRATULATIONS AND MANY YEARS! We express our congratulations to Archpriest David Balmer who was recently granted the dignity of wearing the palitza by the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America. Father David was honored in this way in thanksgiving for his fidelity in serving Christ’s Holy Orthodox Church. May the Lord grant Father David and Matushka Mary many continued years of service to the Flock of Christ! MANY YEARS!
REMEMBERING WITH GRATITUDE- This year marks the70th Anniversary of the founding of our parish and the 53rd Anniversary of the Consecration of Saints Peter and Paul Church, we remember all the Clergy and Faithful who founded our parish (1951), who built the “new” church and witnessed its consecration (1968), and who, through all these 70 years since the founding of our parish, have faithfully served Christ’s Flock here in our parish community. We especially remember Archbishop JOHN (Shahovskoy), the Archbishop of San Francisco, who founded our parish and placed it under the spiritual guidance of Archimandrite Peter (Zaychenko). Archbishop John also consecrated the church during the pastorate of Archpriest John Karateev, rector of our parish from 1962 to 1972. And we give thanks to God for all the clergy and faithful parishioners, gone to their rest before us, who, through their faith, sacrifices, and dedication, have provided us with the gift that is ours as members of this God-protected flock. May the Lord grant them rest with the saints! May their memory be eternal!