A few words from Fr. Alexis Duncan
Well my dear friends, we have made it safely through another week of this nightmare. Glory to God we are all doing well under the circumstances. We are reminded of the words of our Savior, “Let not your hearts be troubled….I have overcome the world.” We are all in the Lord’s hands; whether we are lonely and frightened, healthy or ill and whether we live or die. We know that this life is a temporary place we visit in order to achieve our true homeland where there will be neither sorrow nor suffering. Until then, we must utilize all our time preparing for that heavenly habitation. To be constantly overly worried or fearful simply shows us that we do not have that future homeland as our primary goal.
And yet, in this temporary dwelling on earth, we are given the duty to care for each other as well as ourselves. We must never be foolish. We want to love a long life, not because it is a goal, but because it allows us more time to repent and prepare ourselves for the Eternal Kingdom. Therefore, we Orthodox Christians are a sacred Temple of the Holy Spirit and must keep it clean and in order. Abusing that body is indeed a sin. We do everything reasonably possible to not be sick or weak. As our spiritual leaders have instructed; we must follow in obedience all the health guidelines. But remember our dear flock, the Lord will never, under any circumstances abandon us. He will always be with us and in the end, this tragedy will pass and we will see a brighter future. Perhaps we have proven ourselves unworthy. Perhaps we have in the past neglected the divine services, or not been faithful Orthodox Christians. The Lord, in His divine mercy and wisdom watches over us as we suffer the result of our faithlessness. It is an opportunity to understand what is truly important in life and make a vow to God, in the future, to be more faithful; to never let a service go by without our participation. And so, let us double our struggle, let us pray more fervently and fast. Let us do that, rather than wringing our hands, consumed by worry and constantly watching the news or sitting on the internet. That will lead only to panic and hysteria. Prayer will lead to peace and the acceptance of the Lord’s will.
In our parish, our clergy continue to serve, offering the Bloodless Sacrifice of the Lord’s Holy Communion in the church. We are limited to only the clergy and a singer but the faithful can still make an appointment to receive Holy Communion. All you need to do is call either me at 518-925-9165 or Fr. Archpriest Michael at 518-753-7500 and we will make arrangements for you to receive Holy Communion. Of course each parishioner should try to go to Communion between now and Pascha. We are making every attempt to have plentiful opportunities for this. We will turn no one away, but we do have to meet the government guidelines in doing so.
For the Great Feast of Pascha we will have to be very inventive. Fr. Michael and I will make a decision this week as to how exactly we do that. The usual Holy Week liturgies will take place and over the next three weeks we will have approximately eight liturgies. For the actual feast of Pascha, we will serve as usual, and we are still trying to make arrangements for Communion. It may be that we will distribute the Mysteries in the parking lot and perhaps there will be two Paschal Liturgies. We also are making efforts to permit streaming video for Pascha as well as other festal services.
All of this information will be shared as soon as we have the details available. Next Saturday evening we will bless pussy willows and leave them at the front door of the church, please take only one bundle so there is plenty for everyone. Let us all continue to pray and be faithful. Let us not fear!!!
Fr. Alexis Duncan