I have always been fascinated with animals and their instinct of survival. Every day, their life actions and movements usually catch my attention. Nature is survival to the fittest! We all remember the survivalist hiking motto that while we are in the mountains at Reddish Knob or Big Meadows, we don’t have to be the fastest one in our group but we can’t be the slowest! If we are slow or weak, we may become the first offering to the wild and untamed carnivores!

At home during my cave-time, I like to watch a show on the History Channel called Mountain Men. At the beginning of each episode the announcer states: “Beyond the edges of civilization, man is not at the top of the food chain. And, nature gives no second chances to those fighting to survive…”Every week I watch these folks survive amongst extreme weather conditions, unpredictable rivers or ice, and red-blooded animals fighting to survive in their inhabitant. A sign of weakness would surely bring the predators in and a confrontation with the mountain men. To survive in these conditions, weakness will result in certain death in the midst of this natural food chain.

As a contrast to this theme of survival, we must become fresh meat. As Christians, we must surrender our weaknesses to the wild untamed world, becoming prey for those lost in the deep thickets of life and submissive to a life that prospers in the deathly wealth found in the darkness of our choices. St. Isaac the Syrian once said, “He who senses his sins, is greater than he who raises the dead with his prayer. He who groans one hour for his soul, is greater than he who benefits the whole world. He who is made worthy to see himself, is greater than he who is made worthy to see angels. To him who knows himself, is given the knowledge of all things. For the knowledge of ourselves is the fullness of knowledge of all things.”

Unlike the Mountain Men episodes, we as Christians focus not as much on our here and now human needs but more about where we will find rest after our human bodies fail to exist. Our future survival depends on us exposing our weakness and relying on Christ to strengthen us. We read in the Epistle this morning: “My grace is sufficient for thee; for My power is being made perfect in weakness.” [2 Cor. 12:9]

We remember the great Creator of all things in His example to us crucified upon the cross! We heard the choir sing: “He who suspended the earth upon the waters, is suspended upon a tree.” No matter how strong we are physically or emotionally we must empty ourselves so that we may be filled with the greatest survival kit available to mankind, the unfailing power of the Holy Spirit! “For whenever I am weak, then I am strong.” [2 Cor. 12:10]

Fr. Gabriel Weller 10-15-17

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Father Gabriel Weller

Father Gabriel Weller was ordained by Bishop George Schaefer with the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion Kapral. Father Gabriel was born here in the Shenandoah Valley Virginia. He spent many of his early years in Va. Beach but returned to the Valley in 1979. After many failures in life, He gave his life to the Lord and became very active in the protestant church. He had been a church leader in the United Church of Christ and the Methodist Church since his late twenties, serving in many capacities including Deacon, Elder, Church President, Youth Pastor and also served as Certified Lay Speaker, Choir Member and Youth Leader. He attended Seminary at Eastern Mennonite University with the encouragement of his pastor, but before completing his studies became frustrated with a growing perception of liberalism and other issues in the Protestant Churches he had known. He encountered Orthodox Christianity through his wife and her brother, Archpriest John Moses. He came to realize he could not go back to Protestantism because of the lack of True worship. He has served in the Altar continuously since his baptism, and was the Warden of All Saints of North America for two years. He was ordained to the Diaconate by Bishop Gabriel in 2007, and he was ordained to the Priesthood in 2009. He was the first regular pastor of the Holy Myrrhbearers 'Mission' in 2012 and on October 12, 2013, he was appointed Rector of the parish. His wife is Matushka Tatiana.