Pastoral Letter July 22, 2018

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:13-16

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In his collectively-known “I Am” statements, Christ described Himself in many ways, such as “The Good Shepherd, The Door, The Vine, The Resurrection, The Bread of Life, The Way, The Truth, The Life. He also stated and mystically illustrated that He is “The Light.” I love this one. The Light! It’s special. It’s unique. It involves us in a collaborative way.

In the great “I Am’s,” Jesus gave us imagery that we could better understand His ministry and His divinity. They help us relate to Him and give us concrete explanations about our relationship with Him. If He is the Good Shepherd, we are His Sheep. If He is the Door, we are the ones who walk through that door. If He is the Vine, we (as He clearly states) we are the branches. If he is the Light…

We are not darkness. We are not shadows. We are not the sunrise. We are, in fact, like Him…the Light.

Jesus never called us Doors, Vines, Shepherds, or the Resurrection. He reserved all of the “I Am’s” for Himself, except for the “Light.”

Like a Paschal candle that lights another, then another, then so on until the sanctuary is filled with the Light of Christ, the joy of the Resurrection and the anticipation of Pascha; the Light is shared and passed along. Though the “I Am” statements of Christ are primarily found in the Gospel of John, the above passage, from Matthew are some of, I suppose you can call them the “You Are” statements. Salt, nice. Light; yesss!

Light sources illumine pathways for others to safely follow. They shine warm radiance, they reveal hidden obstacles, they allow us to function in otherwise darkness. This is our calling for the others around us. That is to shine a spotlight on Christ, His Church, His Gospel and His ways. And who are the brightest lights? The children, of course.

Thus far, this message has been a long introduction to the theme of this year’s Vacation Bible School.

Be the Light!

From August 8th to the 10th, the preschoolers through 5th graders of St. Anna’s will gather at church to learn how to be little sources of radiant light. Barbara Hillas and Kim Mallas have worked hard to lead an outstanding program for our children. Even though the summer is beginning to wind down (God forbid) and our sights are set on squeezing out the last drop of vacation time, IK ask and encourage you to make time to have your kids with us at VBS. Bible lessons, crafts, songs, sports, nutrition…it’s all there for your beautiful kids.

We would also like to remind you that staging such a ministry as VBS requires the assistance of several adult and older-kid volunteers. If you would like to help teach a class, assist with crafts, sponsor a lunch, underwrite a craft project, or just be around with an extra set of hands, please contact Barbara Hillas at bhillas@q.com.

VBS is one of my most favorite times of year. The classrooms, hallways and our sanctuary are filled with laughter, singing and joy. You don’t want your kids to miss out. Hey, I don’t want your kids to miss out!

Even though there are quite a few happenings in the parish before VBS begins: our Feast Day services and Picnic, the receiving of the Relic of St. Anna, the Fishing Trip, the beginning of the Dormition Fast, the chanting of the Paraklesis services and the Feast of the Transfiguration, to name a few. However, we need to shout out loud that VBS is around the corner!

I pray that through the inspiration of our little ones, we may also be vibrant luminaries. Please enjoy the remaining weeks of summer and continue, as you so faithfully have, to be with us for Sunday Worship with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy. If you really want to see you friends during the remaining Sundays before Fall’s arrival, come see them in Church!

With Much Love in Christ,

Fr. Anthony Savas