Friday, April 06, 2007

Blessed Anticipation

As the candle we hold for the 12 Passion Gospel readings burns down, so our anticipation of the joy of Pascha grows. But as the Gospel candle must first burn down before it is replaced, so the cross and the tomb always precede the resurrection. This is the pattern of life, death, and rebirth that our Creator has built into the very fabric of the universe for our salvation. This is the cycle that He Himself entered to redeem us from the curse and to free us from our suffering. This is the Gospel that we live and die for and which we boldly proclaim that all may enter into the joy of the resurrection!

By now, I trust everyone is aware that St. John of Shanghai Orthodox Mission is returning home to celebrate one last Paschal cycle with her mother-church, St. Herman's. The last, we trust, because, by the grace of God, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Vancouver has provided us with a place to worship on Sundays! We will be meeting in what used to be the Franciscan monastery chapel across the street from the church - an especial blessing to start our Sunday worship in a location already blessed with a long tradition of prayer.

Starting up on Sundays marks St. John's coming-of-age, and, as with all such transitions, the passage is bound to be fraught with trials and difficulties. Your prayers are much needed and much appreciated! "Moving out" also means that we will need all our own stuff; a number of people have urged me to post a St. John's "wish list" a number of times in the past - now seems like a particularly good time to do so! (I haven't devised one yet, so watch for a "wishes and thanks" list to be posted here soon.) But most difficult of all will be "leaving home": we love all our brothers and sisters at St. Herman's and will miss you. We leave in spite of our love for you only because we love our Lord and His Church and are committed to establishing a place of worship and witness to the fullness of the faith in English in the city of Vancouver.

As well as being a time of hardship and testing, this is also a time of blessed anticipation: this is the culmination of what we have been praying for and working towards since August of 2005. As with the blessing of Pascha, this is the end of a time of waiting, but only the beginning of a new phase of our life in Christ. We are planning, God willing, to begin Saturday evening Great Vespers services in the new location at the beginning of May, and to begin Sunday morning Divine Liturgy on Pentecost. May God grant, by your prayers, that our candle may shine brightly, that, by His grace, the light of Christ may illumine all!

3 comments:

jaime said...

Praise God! We are thrilled to hear that you found a place to worship on Sundays.

matushkadonna said...

THANKS BE TO GOD!

we will be sorry to see all of you go, but we are all thrilled to see you start on this new phase of the journey. St. Herman's will keep St. John's constantly in our prayers and do all we can to help you on your way!

Matthew Francis said...

Glory to God!

Will you be able to keep the chapel set up in an Orthodox manner at all times?