UNIQUE

We have all heard the phrase; God sure broke the mold when He made her! That has been used usually to describe some one that is a huge blessing in people’s lives, or occasionally describes someone just the opposite of a good blessing! If we take a minute to ponder on that statement, life sure would be boring if we were all the same or made identically from the same mold! We would have the same job, same hair, same clothes, same aches and pains, and same attitude and ambitions. Think about the traffic jams! And it sure would be hard to get a word in amongst ourselves, wouldn’t it?

As I boy I was given a set of metal molds that I poured goop in and then cooked this mold in an oven. Once cooked, I had made my very own plastic spiders and creepy crawlers. They were always identical in shape, size and the number of legs, and only differed in the color variations of the goop. Then of course once the creepy crawlers were done as any active loving boy would do, I hid the spiders and bugs around the house to await a surprise reaction from my older sisters!  

Thanks be to God, it is a safe assumption that we humans are all unique. Yes, He has made us either male or female with some basic similar needs but we are all created differently. After all, I am going to tell you right now, some of you would look kind of funny with a long, grey beard like mine! Now rest assured, we all have the very same Father and we have all received a gift of grace, but our gifts differ and are unique to us. [Eph. 4:7] This gift is given freely but it is geared towards building His Church and restoring everything to its incorrupt and natural state! (Eph 4:7-13) We are created to bring holiness into our little part of the world.

When our Lord entered the River of Jordan, He restored the water to its right relationship with God, pure as the Garden of Eden. His baptism was not to cleanse the Sinless One but to make the waters Holy! When we have our homes blessed with the water of Theophany, we too join our homes and families into a correct relationship seeking after the Kingdom of Heaven, cleansing it from all impurities. We drink the Holy Water to cleanse our bodies from the rancid world and everything that separates us from Christ!

In our baptism, Christ shares life eternal with us as He scrubs away our stains. Death for us has been defeated! Our Earthly death is now an entrance into life eternal. It is not what we deserve; it is what He desires for us. We seek to just make our daily lives a liturgy, glorifying our Creator.

St. John the Wonderworker of Shanghai and San Francisco writes: Now the Church consists of both her earthly and heavenly parts, for the Son of God came to earth and became man that He might lead man into heaven and make him once again a citizen of Paradise, returning to him his original state of sinlessness and wholeness and uniting him unto Himself. This is accomplished by the action of Divine grace granted through the Church, but man’s effort is also required. God saves His fallen creature by His own love for him, but man’s love for his Creator is also necessary; without it he cannot by saved. Striving towards God and cleaving unto the Lord by its humble love, the human soul obtains power to cleanse itself from sin and to strengthen itself for the struggle to complete victory over sin. “The Church as the Body of Christ,” Man of God: Saint John of Shanghai & San Francisco

Fr. Gabriel Weller 1-24-2021

Boy, Are You Coming?

Sitting at the supper table many moons ago, Grandma informed Granddad that there was a big wasp nest above the brooder house door. She had been busy that day making her newly arrived chicks happy, warm and safe. Granddad hurriedly finished his supper and looked at me asked: “Boy, are you coming?” He liked to call me “boy” to my Grandma’s disapprovement, but it made me feel like family, and loved with deep affection. We moved quickly to the chicken yard trying to beat sundown to the draw. Granddad stopped along the way and grabbed a ladder. I asked him if he needed some gas or diesel or hornet spray but he grinned and headed for the brooder house. He spotted the nest and climbed the rungs of the ladder and took his big, powerful hand and squished the nest and pulled it down. I know from the way my eyes felt that they were stretched wide open, from ear to ear. Swallowing hard, I asked if he had been stung because he was calm and did not flinch and inch! He grinned and said: “Yes, a time or two, but it was good for my arthritis! “

Granddad was focused and motivated to overcome the impediment that was tempting Grandma. He had many struggles in life including the Great Depression and loss of his first wife after the birth of his third child. He toiled the Earth by day and milked his Holsteins before sunup and again before dark each and every day, and then spent his evening reading his bible and preparing a lesson for his Men’s Sunday school class that he taught for 40 years.

If we take time to think about our parents and grandparents and the enormous challenges they faced with the 10 year depression, world wars, new diseases and oppression, just to name a few,  we should find hope in that they may have been wounded or bruised by life, but they stayed focused and moved forward. It was their time, life has a limit! Granddad would tell you, you have to make hay when the sun is shining. Every single day, the cows had to be milked twice and all the animals had to be fed and watered, there were no excuses. It didn’t matter how life had beat you up that day, these things had to be done!   

We heard ringing in our ears today with these clear inductions in the Gospel reading: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” (Mark 1:3) This should be our daily routine! No matter what else is in your path, each and every day you must enrich your heart with His living blood, transforming yourself into a temple of God. I ask you, are you satisfied with whom you have become or are you remodeling your life to be more like His? Remodeling is hard work; sometimes you need the sledgehammer and a lot of perspiration and blisters!  It is your time, life has a limit!

Sometimes it takes climbing the ladder rungs amongst the stingers, and squishing the obstacles that hinder your progress. We cannot become complacent and allow our guard to drop. We are taught by our forefathers of our Holy Church: that the devil always takes advantage of times of challenge to sow discord and confusion, which lead man into yet greater sorrows and further away from the bosom of Abraham. (1 Peter 5:8, Luke 16:19-31) We simply forget to daily supply our animal its’ nourishment. We starve our soul and dehydrate our brains with worldly cares. We allow the plagues of anger and laziness to rot away at our eternity, placing us in years of depression. We allow the stinger, the fear, to be powerful and crippling instead of a blessing. I pray that you too are focused and motivated and that you will be wide-eyed enough to see His glory, and each and every day, pick up your cross and follow Him!

Boy, Are You Coming?

Fr. Gabriel Weller 1-17-2021

Christmas Wish

Around this time, here in the Valley as we live and breathe the American dream often times you will hear folks ask: what do you want for Christmas? My endorphin hormones enjoy new and shinny things but now as I achingly realize my age, I am more concerned about other things like the wellbeing of my love ones and the challenges they are facing and will face in the near future. And I think I now should spend more time reflecting on my sinfulness and things I still need to improve on in the limited days I have left. Perhaps the Christmas Wish I most desperately need is answered with a bold statement like: Death to the world that still exists within me! [Col. 3:5-6]

Well, that’s easier said than done! I simply alone cannot rid myself of these addictions! I am weak and slothful and easily distracted! And then of course there are my scars and deep wounds that at times get agitated accidently by folks in my day to day walk in life. I am still in need of a Great Healer and Physician. I am in great need of a love that is so pure and unpolluted. I am in great need of a Savior because I can’t seem to cure myself despite my many thirsting attempts.  

Christ is Born so that we may lose the chains of death and lay aside all earthly cares! But we must accept His invitation to come closer! We have to cooperate with His grace by removing all of the obstacles we have surrounded ourselves with that block His Light from penetrating our hearts! St. Paul lists the following obstacles today in his letter to the Church in Colossians: “Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience”. [Col 3:5-6] He then mentions “anger, wrath, malice, slander, and foul talk from your mouth.” St. Paul follows that up with a warning not to “lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old nature with its practices and have put on the new nature.” (Col 3:8-9)

These are the pollutants that contaminate our bodies and souls and steal our true joy. They may at times seem small and minuscule but when rot is allowed to remain, deterioration comes to the whole body as it slowly encumbers our eternity. There is no happiness in damnation. Over the years I have found that the things of the Earth that are shinny and new require our attention to preserve them or keep them sparkling. We become their slaves. And over time, they tarnish or rust away anyway. True happiness can only come from above!

“Come; let us seize Paradise hidden in the cave! There the unwatered Root has appeared, blossoming with forgiveness.” (Cannon of the Nativity) He formed us from clay and carefully placed us in the womb and He wishes to restore blessedness to all of mankind. Christ is born at Christmas and hopes we chose Him as our Christmas Wish. Less of us and much more of Him! Glory to Thee who has showed us the Light! (2 Corinthians 4:6)

Fr. Gabriel Weller 12-27-2020

LET THERE BE LIGHT

“And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night.” [Gen 1-4]

The night has also been interrupted by man-made illumination. We are told that early man 120,000 years ago with the discovery of fire was not only able to cook his food but also penetrate the darkness with the light emitted from the fire. And we believe the Egyptians formed a wax candle around 3000 BC and then the use of horn lanterns in the home in the early 1st century, gas lighting around 1816 and whale oil soon then after that, and of course Edison’s invention of the electric light bulb in 1882. Mankind has been intentionally trying to interrupt darkness with some type of energy source. 

I have always been drawn to light; after all, we are all programmed that way! At an early years in the 1970’s, I was infatuated with the 5 “d” cell flashlight Radio Shack was nearly giving away, of course the batteries were not included. But for a buck ninety-eight, I could hold a source of intense light in my hands! My friends bought one as well and we would wait till dark to turn those light beams on and have laser fights and tag. And as long as my batteries were fresh and recharged and my bulb was working, there was no darkness in my path!

We read in the Epistle for Ephesians this morning: “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.” It takes an effort to keep our path illuminated. Our human bulb must be firmly seated in the teachings of Christ and our energy source can come from none other than the omnipotent Creator. Listen to the instructions of Saint Symeon the New Theologian: “As many, therefore, as are children of the light also become sons of the day which is to come, and are enabled to walk decently as in the day. The day of the Lord will never come upon them, because they are already in it forever and continually. The day of the Lord, in effect, is not going to be revealed suddenly to those who are ever illumined by the divine light, but for those who are in the darkness of the passions and spend their lives in the world hungering for things of the world; for them it will be fearful, and they will experience it as unbearable fire.” [“The Church and the Last Things,” On the Mystical Life: The Ethical Discourses, Vol. I, Tenth Discourse, 146, 147.] [1 Thess. 5:4.] 

In short, if you seek your existence in the world, your bulb is dim and your source of energy is corroded and weak, it will not bring you safely out of the darkness. Many folks have not surrendered unto the Lord and continue navigating through the darkness bumping into things as they travel through life. They say: “Why me God?” with each life challenge they encounter and chose to remain their own little source of dim energy, in control but yet swirling round and round in the funnel of life. Listen to the life-saving words of St. Paul: But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. (1 Thessalonians 5)

The world was pierced with Light when our Lord suffered on the cross out of His love for you and me. Don’t waste another day swirling around in the worldly funnel; surrender your heart to the Great source of Light. The world can only offer you death, but only He can give you an illuminated life!

Fr. Gabriel Weller 12-6-2020

BLOWIN IN THE WIND

The fall time of the year is such a colorful time in our lives. The green lush spring is now infused with trees of many fall colors as they will soon start to turn brown and litter the ground reminding us of just how short life is. Scientist say that leaves change color as the daylight hours draw shorter and it becomes cooler in the night. A biochemical processes in the leaves begin to paint the landscape with Nature’s autumn palette. Pretty soon the drab and the now deadened leafs will fall to the ground and blow like chaff in the wind. But it wasn’t that long ago that the days began to get longer and the brown and gray vegetation became vibrant and green with life and that time will soon come again! Cultivators will go out to work preparing and planting. Warmth will come with insects and pollination and gentle rain for nourishment. But for now, the season of growth nearing its end, and we look for nature’s lifeless period in its’ next season, a season of dormancy.


Our earthly life also has seasons. At times there is newness of life and also at times a bit drab or demise. Newness of life is at its peak when we Christians find repentance and forgiveness. This is our cultivating season and our Lord sends His grace for pollination which for us repentant is the spreading of His love through our acts of love. And His mercy rains down on us quenching our Godless drought of our self-love and self-pity. And in this time of spiritual growth, we move closer to the Divine and our healthy lush colors are full of life.


Forgetting to put God first in all things brings darkness over our souls and we begin our decent into the drab colorless dormant seasons in our lives. Turning from God severs our eternal nutrient supply. In the last number of years my wife has noticed another color change in me. On occasion, she sees a color change in my face. Redness appears in my checks if my blood pressure is elevated. Sometimes this redness occurs if I am hustling about doing tasks but mostly if I am experiencing anger with my fellow man or my loving wife. As far as my health is concerned, I am getting older but I do not make much time to stay in shape and I do not always take into consideration the nutritional foods that I need to eat. However, the fast will be here soon to help me with this! Maybe with all the leaves arriving in my yard I can gain some exercise by raking and gathering them. And as far as my spiritual health, I continue to be angered by my fellow man instead of looking inward, blowing like a dead leaf in the wind. My type “A” personality blinds me and my world at times only contains little ole me! I fail to exercise my soul as I forget my salvation and His love for creation. Saint John of Damaskos says: “Without practice and preparation it is not possible for anyone to attain deification (theosis) and communion with God.”


In my busyness, I don’t take ample time to help my brother, Lazarus (Lk 16:29). Maybe if I knew when my earthly expiration date was, I would spend more time being about my Father’s business. Maybe if I spend more time reading about Moses and the prophets rather than wasting my life away on electronic entertainment or worrying about COVID or the election, I would be better prepared for the next life and the judgment in which all my deeds will surely be made known. Rest assured, our days on this Earth are numbered and the pursuit of purple and fine linen takes away the time we have been given to be the church. We cannot allow the winds of time to blow us around where the winds will take us! We need to put our salvation as the most important task in our lives! We need to stay in the season of lush growth springing our souls to be more like God, finding out salvific nutrients in the deep fertile soil of Orthodoxy, and becoming more vibrant and alive in the Holy Sacraments of the church. Less of me, More of Him! May our color be one of vibrance through the life-sustaining blood of our Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ!

Fr. Gabriel Weller 11-2020 / 11-5-17

STINKY BAIT

Back in my 20’s when I took time to go fishing, there was a sure-fire thing for catching trout, it was a new bait called PowerBait®. Powerbait is made from a combination of an oil-based resin and PVC. In 1988, a young chemical engineer changed the face of trout fishing forever. Combining a formal education in chemistry and a lifelong interest in angling, research scientist John Prochnow created a national fishing phenomenon we all came to know as PowerBait. In addition to the two main ingredients, a range of scents and smells were added to give the bait its signature fish-catching smell. 

Fish have a keen sense of smell that helps them determine where food is located and if it is eatable. This new fangled bait resembled what was being fed to the trout at the fish farm before they were transplanted into their new wild fish habitat. The basic theory behind these baits is to float and attract the fish to bite. Or in other words, it smells eatable and you catch more fish! Bon appétit!

Well, I am not a chemical engineer nor am I made of PVC and resin but the good Lord can use you and me as power bait as well! Let me explain. Fish have an intense sense of smell. The dark water fish are even more attracted to strong smelling bait! Now, you see, that is where I come in to being bait, sometimes, I am fragrant and sometimes I stink! The Good Lord has called us all to be fishers of men and He needs us to be fragrant! We need to ooze the love of Christ and not the rot of the world!

When I first discovered the Lord, I was ashamed and kept my failures inward, buried deep and rotting. I did not realize that every one of us struggles with sin. I felt enormously unworthy of His love! Along the course time, His grace continued to nurture me and draw me closer. I was then cleansed in the Holy Water of baptism but since that day, continue to occasionally fall short. When I go to confession and communion I release a peaceful fragrance. This aroma is something that needs to be shared. It is something that attracts the hungry humans that are in search to fill their empty souls.  

There is however a stinky odor we ooze if we can’t be used as bait and if we are not right with the Lord. As St. Augustine stated, we have been created in such a way that we only know and experience true fulfillment when we, by grace, faithfulness and love, dwell in God’s presence, and He in our midst. So in other words, if we chose to fill this empty hole with other things, we will spend our lives chasing our tail around in circles searching in vain for fulfillment and yet never ever satisfying the unreachable itch. So then, how can you catch fish?

As St. Luke records: “Cease being afraid; from henceforth thou shalt be taking men alive.” [Lk. 5:10]  St. Augustine instructs us: “Do what you can, and then pray that God will give you the power to do what you cannot.” We need to intentionally make a daily effort to move closer to God. We as Christians do not want to be stinky bait but power bait! Because the power of His life-cleansing blood can even save a sinner like me! And through His love for me, I can give love to those hurting and not yet in His bountiful net of salvation. Be fragrant and not a stinker, be a Myrrhbearer! Glory to Thee!!!

Fr. Gabriel Weller 10-11-2020

PATCHES

Of all the dirty jobs I have had over the years, I would have to say harvesting hay and straw is at the top of my dirty job list. Not only was that job a real workout in the heat of the summer, the amount of dust, dirt and allergens circulating around me was like an intense fog rolling down the mountain moistening my skin. Handling the hay bales gave me thorns in my hands and arms and holes in my Wrangler Jeans. Usually by the end of summer my clothes had patches on top of patches!

At the end of the day, I had dirt where my eyes couldn’t see and Grandma Hazel would have to visually check my clothing and see if I was even allowed in the house. And then of course when it was time to eat, Grandma would send me back to the sink again, where another heavy application of soap was necessary before I could sit at the table next to Granddad, the ear thumper! Yes sir, manners were taught at that table.

Clothes and skin come clean with some strong soap and heavy scrubbing. Holes in our clothing can be repaired and I am sure patches will be popular again real soon as I have noticed a lot of torn clothes being worn by our youth in much need of repair. You may want to stock up now on patches now as they may fly off the shelf like toilet paper when the patches wave hits!

We all have been invited to the table of our Lord, won’t you come? Won’t you put on your wedding garment by revisiting your Holy Baptism where you were clothed in the garment of salvation, laying aside the filthy old man? In the confessional the dirt of sin is removed and then washed by the blood of the Lamb which awaits you at the chalice in celebration of our mystical union with our Savior Jesus Christ. After all, that is why we are here!

If you come today to bring your children to receive these precious gifts mystically found here in the chalice, thank you. Glory be to God! It is important for them to be here and truly a blessing, but why not you? Do you really think the dirt and holes in your baptismal garment have made you unworthy? Our Lord offered His most precious life for you! Won’t you come? Come to confession and let those deep wounds begin to heal. Our Father will bind your rotting flesh and patch your life back together as only He can do, if you will allow Him in. We need you, we are family!   

A new day is coming, get out of you death bed and come to the wedding. St. John Chrysostom adds this warning: “Great is the punishment for those who have been idle, indifferent, and lazy. For even as those who showed insolence and gave injury by not coming, so also dost thou by thus reclining with a life corrupted.” [Mt. 22:12.] [Ib., P.G. 58:681, 682 (cols. 650, 651)

Fr. Gabriel Weller 9-13-2020

You Can Build His Church!

I hear every now and then, how can this small group of believers build a church? The task is enormous and the cost seems to be beyond our grasp. And now we can add the COVID-19 as another stumbling block or reason to question moving forward with this project. Has Fr. Gabriel lost his ever so limited connection with sanity?

Well, first of all, tithing is a spiritual discipline we all need to practice if we profess to be Christians. Simply put, if we don’t tithe now, why should God entrust us with more? I hear every now and then someone say that we just can’t afford to support the church as their bills are so high! This can mean that they have chosen to live beyond their means and not put God first, or they have truly been overwhelmed with unforeseen expenses! However, tithing is a necessary tool that we need to align our financial decisions with our spiritual growth. You can either choose to put your faith in God or in the paper dollar.

Secondly, you must know that our Father is very wealthy! We hear again and again these true words chanted: Everything that is, is His! (1 Corinthians 10:26) “For every beast of the forest is Mine, And the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the mountains, And the wild beasts of the field are Mine. “If I were hungry, I would not tell you; For the world is Mine, and all its fullness.” (Psalm 49/50:10-12) You see, money simply is not a problem.  So I ask, is everything His?

As a group of believers living in this community for decades, it is frankly our duty. We must plant our roots here in this fertile soil.  We must provide a proper space to worship God correctly. We desperately need a correct space for Worship, Communion, Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals. We need a place to rear our children in the ways of God. We need a mighty fortress to weather the storms with a hedge around it to protect His fruit! (Mt 21:33) The church building is a sacred place where man can offer himself fully. The church building is the heart of Christian life and it is where God offers Himself to man and man offers himself to God. The buildings architecture reflects this truth and helps our deification process. St. Athanasius the Great says: “God became man so that man might become god.” “Let the Christian consider well when he enters the church that he is entering another heaven. That same majesty of God which is in heaven is also in his church, and on this account the Christian must enter with reverence and awe.”

So then how do you eat an elephant, one fundraiser at a time? Yes, we need projects and many willing hands, don’t expect others to do all the work! After all, we are instructed to tithe our valuable time as well! Don’t sit back and miss this opportunity, we need you! God is calling you and we need your talents! We need folks that can organize a fundraiser and include help from the church family, and include our neighbors. It will be a blessing for you and for them! This is a time of growth!  This is a time to grow spiritually and grow deeper into the community by inviting our neighbors. As we remember: “Let all your things be done in love.” [1 Cor. 16:14]

Here the words of St. John Chrysostom: “The church is an enclosure, if you are within, the wolf cannot enter, but if you stray outside, the wild beasts will get you… Do not wander from the Church; there is nothing more impregnable than the Church. She is your hope and your salvation. She is higher than the heavens, firmer than rock, wider than the world; she never grows old, but is forever renewing her youth.” (St. John Chrysostom)

Next week, we will break ground! Glory to God! Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan is coming to break the ground and prepare it for spiritual fruit! There will be plenty of opportunities to help in the near future! But we need sweat-equity, don’t be lazy! We need a thousand small money-making projects. We need continuous prayers. We each need to attend to the body of our Lord, His people!

With faith, we will not only take a bite out of this elephant, but with thanksgiving we will keep on chewing until this beast is consumed, ears, tail and toenails! Through the prayers of the Holy Myrrhbearers, who sacrificed so they could attend to the body of our Lord, pray to God for us!

Fr. Gabriel Weller 9-6-2020

1, 2 Skip a Few

I think one of the greatest inventions in the last decade has been spray paint! I probably have six or eight cans myself just waiting for the next project! Spray paint arrived on the market in 1945 by the hands of Ed Seymour in Sycamore, Illinois. It is a faster way to paint with less cleanup time, although it seems to be a bit thinner and may require a second spraying but I think spray paint is an important product for most folks. Paint can be used to help prevent decay and weathering from the natural elements. Some people put a new coat of paint on something they are preparing to sell so that it sells easier and real estate agents will tell you, a home with fresh paint sells faster and for more money.

I have also seen some folks misuse spray paint by covering up problems before they sell their item or home and hide defects or rotten wood, or as we say around here, they put lipstick on a hog! Instead of doing the work and making the necessary repairs, they spray over it, masking over the defects and taking advantage of any potential new owner, buyer beware!  

I am writing about spray paint today because it is just as easy for us to spray over weathering and rot as it is as we sometimes do the very same thing with the Law of God. For starters, our Good Lord has given us 10 Commandments to live by. Over the years, I have heard them referred to as the 10 suggestions and I can only imagine that these folks own a lot of spray paint as well. I think if you struggle like me, you are a gold-medal holder on most of the Commandments but struggle with one or two! And it is easier to see other folks failing as if we have masked over our sinfulness like spraying paint over our imperfection so we appear flashy of almost sparkling new.

The young man in the Gospel reading this morning seemed to be masking over the commandments. The young man saith to Him, “All these I kept for myself from my youth; what lack I yet?” [Mt. 19:20] And our Lord quickly points out his attachment to gluttony as he has starved the poor with what he was entrusted with. St. Basil writes: “But now your money sticks to you closer than the limbs of your body, and he who would separate you from it grieves you more than someone who would cut off your vital parts. For if you had clothed the naked, if you had given your bread to the hungry, if you had opened your doors to every stranger, if you’d become a father to orphans, if you had suffered together with all the powerless, what possessions would now be causing you despondency?” When wealth is dispersed, in the way the Lord advises, it naturally stays put; but when held back it is transferred to another. If you hoard it, you won’t keep it; if you scatter, you won’t lose. For (says the scripture), “He has dispersed, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever” [Ps 112:9]. (St. Basil the Great: Sermon to the Rich)

Our Creator has given us rules to live by that are for our own benefit. We can freely choose another path in life if we want, but those other paths do not lead us to Him. With our limited view of our life and the future awaiting us, there are consequences for our choices. Who do you trust? The next time I reach up on the shelf for a can of spray paint, maybe I will reflect upon my choices of masking over my sinfulness because skipping over one or two leads to more than a few as the door of sin if opened, the deceiver will usher many more demons in. Sin loves company or as it is written in Proverbs: A violent man entices his neighbor, And leads him in a way that is not good. [Proverbs 16:29] We were not created for Earth, but for heaven.  I need to stop masking my shortcomings and work harder on my salvation! Please forgive me a sinner!

I am the LORD your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me (Ex. 20:2–3). You shall not make for yourselves a graven image or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them (20:4–5). You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain (20:7). Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work (20:8–10). Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which the LORD your God gives you (20:12). You shall not kill (20:13).  You shall not commit adultery (20:14). You shall not steal (20:15). You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor (20:16). You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor’s (20:17).

Fr. Gabriel Weller 8-30-2020

Closed FOR GOOD!

Driving around town this week, I am deeply saddened to see businesses closed and some of these businesses are closed for ever! I have enjoyed our variety of choices in places to eat and places to shop. I have enjoyed the many choices we have had for entertainment. I have enjoyed the choices of buying from the big corporate chain stores and I have enjoyed purchasing from the small local businesses that more reflect the heartbeat of our community.

The effects of the Rona of 2020 will be felt for decades. The decisions made right and wrong have had a huge impact on all of our futures! The depth of anguish and despair neighbors are suffering from is new to our generation. And still even in the midst of this great dilemma, we as an American people are still greatly divided. Instead of coming together as a nation as we did during previous epidemics and hardships, we have separated even more. There seems to be no sign of forgiveness and trust, as billionaires jockey for control of the greatest asset this country has, the heart and trust of the American worker, farmer, mother and father, business folks, educators, and service persons. Because of what folks have been through or the way they or their families were treated in the past has caused their distrust of everything and everyone to be nakedly exposed! Forgiveness has been forgotten as we substitute our own vanity ahead of loving our enemies. (Matt. 5: 43-48) Their hearts may be closed for ever!

Our great nation once dedicated to serving God has now been diffused into serving a bunch of little popes chasing a paper dollar, with their own little pope understanding of how people should live and how things should be. People not fearing God that put individuals’ perverted rights to choose higher than the laws of God, are in positions of leadership and masking the voice of Holy Scripture! It is truly a misunderstanding of the love of Jesus, who loves all and wants salvation for us all. Salvation is not accepting sin as normal but loving folks struggling to survive in this shattered world and loving people who are deeply hurt and confused. It means loving folks enough too still say no, this is not good for your salvation, but I love you, for I too have my own heavy cross to bear! These demonic choices separate you and me from the pure love that is available to us all. Quit settling for deceptive love that will rot you in the box, where the worms never cease! (Mark 9:48) It is NOT okay!

The actions of some people seem to highlight that they too are also closed FOR-GOOD! Our great nation of people has forgotten how to forgive. It seems as though we are encouraging each other to be little popes, making our own rules based upon our own wounded and lustful mindset. We have become our own traveling circus, while yet expecting someone else to clean up behind our asses and elephants! Who will you serve? You simply have to believe in something. Through our own limited understanding or the teachings of evolving science, we choose to accept only what our pee-brain analysis can conclude. And if something doesn’t fit into our four cornered box of understanding, we distrust it. In these choices we have become enslaved and our master is the great deceiver! Living on our own perception instead of trusting the One who created us all, we lack faith as death comes knocking upon our door!

Saint Paisios writes: “The Church is suffering today because Divine illumination is missing and people understand things as it suits them. The human element gets involved; passions are arouse, and then, the devil comes and thrashes about. That is why people who are governed by their passions should not seek to govern others.” (Saint Paisios the Hagiorite +1994)

“O thou and evil slave” who then will you serve? (Matt 18:32)

Fr. Gabriel Weller 8-23-2020