STRIKE

At the local bowling alley down the street, you are supposed to roll a heavy ball down the lane and knock down all the pins. If you knock all the pins down with one try, they call it a strike and you get a high perfect score which is recorded as an “X” on your scorecard.

 

My wife and I don’t bowl very often at all maybe because my wife is a better bowler than me or maybe it is the funny looking shoes that they rent to everybody that comes in, unless of course you own your own special funny looking shoes. But in the past when we have bowled, occasionally I will roll a strike but usually I am excited to just see the ball connect with a couple of pins and to hear that sound of success and see pins go flying away.

 

In order to help control the ball, they drilled finger holes in the ball. And some of the bowlers put a special spin on the ball and even as the ball approaches the pins it may be way of course and then all of a sudden correct its course and hit the sweet spot on the frame of pins. But as for me, I usually send a couple of these heavy bowling balls into the gutter and once or twice I accidentally hurl the heavy rock onto the lane next to ours which helps me with my humility as I beg their forgiveness for my poor performance and lack of practice.

 

For beginners the bowling alley can install bumper pads on each side of the lane preventing the ball from diving into the gutter and almost assuring that your ball is going to knock down some pins! It is the bowling alleys way of helping young and poor bowlers to have a better chance at a perfect score or at least improving their game. After all, a great bowler practices a lot! What does all that have to do with our walk with Christ?

 

On our lane to salvation, we all struggle staying on course and knocking down all the pins! We sometimes do a half-way job leaving pins standing by allowing self-love to blur our vision on the lane to salvation, controlling the heavy ball ourselves without His help. His mercy is similar to the bumper pads laying in the gutter at the bowling alley. His mercy is both the gift of grace and the forgiveness of sins which help us stay on course. Our repentance lifts us out of the gutter and His grace helps us stay on the correct lane sending us down the alley that leads us to the bosom of Abraham or the sweet spot on this frame we know as life. Just as at the bowling alley a perfect score for us is also illustrated with an “X”, coming from the Greek letter Chi abbreviating the all holy name, Christós (Χριστός) or Christ.

 

“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am first. But for this cause I was shown mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all long-suffering, for a pattern to those who are about to believe on Him to life everlasting.” [1 Tim. 1:15-16] Practice makes perfect so don’t be ashamed of failing or letting people see your funny looking shoes that are carrying you on the correct path to salvation and to hear that sound of triumphant success, Welcome Home!

Fr. Gabriel Weller 2-3-2019

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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.