Thursday, October 3, 2019

THE FAITH ONCE DELIVERED — Saturday, October 5th at 9:30 AM CDT

Join me, Fr. Victor Novak, and my Co-host Subdeacon Michael Choiniere for the Inaugural Broadcast of THE FAITH ONCE DELIVERED on Saturday, October 5th at 9:30 AM CDT, on KCRO Radio 660 AM in Omaha, and 106.7 FM in Lincoln. KCRO is Nebraska’s premier Christian radio station and can reach 1.3 million listeners. 

Not in eastern Nebraska or western Iowa? No problem. You can listen to THE FAITH ONCE DELIVERED via the Internet. Just go to the KCRO Radio website on Saturday at 9:30 AM CDT and click Listen Live. Here is the link: http://www.kcro.com

THE FAITH ONCE DELIVERED is the weekly 30 minute radio teaching ministry of Holy Cross Orthodox Church. Our mission is to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those who do not know him, and the fullness of the Apostolic Faith to those who do. 

Looking for a church that not only keeps the Faith, but is actively sharing it? Holy Cross parish is the church for you! Sunday Matins (Morning Prayer) is at 9:15 AM, followed by the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist at 10:00 AM, with fellowship and refreshments after the Liturgy. Everyone is invited and visitors are always welcome. We are a faithful, friendly and active church, and we have a place for you!

HOLY CROSS ORTHODOX CHURCH
Orthodox Christian Faith — Anglican Tradition — Evangelical Witness
 7545 Main Street
Ralston, Nebraska 68127
(402) 573-6558

Thursday, September 26, 2019

JOIN US IN CELEBRATING 35 YEARS IN THE ORDAINED MINISTRY — SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 29TH

My wife Cheri and I will be celebrating 35 years in ministry together on Sunday, September 29th, and everyone is invited to share that special day with us. Matins (Morning Prayer) is at 9:15 AM, followed by the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist at 10:00 AM, with a catered luncheon following the Liturgy. As always, we will be worshipping according to the rite of our incomparable English Liturgy with Gregorian chant and the great hymns of the Church..

Cheri and I have served in ministry together in four states, and I have ministered in positions as diverse as pastor and college teacher, Ecumenical Officer and editor of an official Provincial Church periodical. I have been a church planter, rector, para-church minister, and teacher. Most of these past 35 years have been in full time ministry, but I have also been bi-vocational, serving as a tent making clergyman.

Cheri’s hard work outside of the home has made it possible for me to engage in full time ministry these many years, as remuneration for clergy is often low and benefits  all but nonexistent. I don’t know what I would have done without her. She is indeed my better half.

The life of a clergy family is a life of sacrifice, a life in a fishbowl, and often a life of poverty. One year I was called away on an emergency pastoral call on our daughter Hannah’s birthday. Hannah was just a child then. It was feared a parishioner was dying so I had to go immediately. By the grace of God she pulled through, and Hannah understood why I had to be away on her birthday, but a priest’s family does sacrifice a lot with dad being literally on call 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Without a committed and faithful family I would not have been able to be a committed and faithful priest.

I have had the privilege of serving under some of the finest Anglican bishops of the late 20th and 21st centuries, — real men of God. Sadly for us, they have all gone to be with the Lord. 

These bishops include Bishop Donald Davies, onetime Dean of Trinity Cathedral in Omaha, Nebraska, and first Bishop of the Diocese of Fort Worth, Texas, who later served in the Anglican Continuum; Bishop Patrick Murphy, a protege of Bishop Donald Davies, and the 1973 winner of the Keble Award from the old American Church Union; Archbishop Robert Sherwood Morse, one of the four original Continuing Anglican bishops and the longest serving, an intellectual and spiritual giant, a man of great vision, and a man who had a profound and lasting impact on my life and ministry; and Bishop Royal Grote, a man who combined real missionary zeal with a pastor’s heart, exhibited sincere humility, and bore much fruit in his service to God and the Church. 

I am as excited about the ministry today as I was on the day I was ordained. The past 35 years have been such a blessing to me, and I look forward to the next 35 years of ministry should the Lord tarry, although I eagerly anticipate the Blessed Hope of our Lord’s coming, and pray,  Maranatha — Come Lord! 

I hope that you will join Cheri and I this Sunday, September 29th, to celebrate our 35th anniversary in Christian ministry. Matins is at 9:15 AM, with the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist at 10:00 AM, followed by a catered luncheon in our parish hall. If you have any questions or need directions you can visit our parish website at:  www.holycrossparishomaha.com, call the church office at (402) 573-6558, or email me at: venovak@hughes.net.

We hope to see you on Sunday!

Fr. Victor Novak+
Rector
HOLY CROSS PARISH
7545 Main Street
Ralston, Nebraska 68127


Friday, September 13, 2019

BREAKING NEWS — This is HUGE!


Clear the airwaves, clear all the airwaves for the big broadcast — 

HOLY CROSS PARISH IS LAUNCHING A WEEKLY RADIO SHOW ON AM AND FM RADIO!

Holy Cross Orthodox Church in the Ralston suburb of Omaha, Nebraska is launching a weekly thirty (30) minute radio show, beginning Saturday, October 5th. The show will air from 9:30 to 10:00 AM, every Saturday morning on two radio stations — KCRO 660 AM in Omaha and 106.7 FM in Lincoln. These two radio stations have the capability of reaching more than 1.3 million people in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa. In addition, the program can be heard anywhere in the United States and abroad via the Internet.

The new Holy Cross radio program is called, The Faith Once Delivered. The name is taken from the Holy Scriptures: “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” — Jude 3.

Subdeacon Michael will be joining me in hosting this weekly thirty minute radio program, but the star of the show will be the Holy Bible. We will be teaching the Holy Scriptures within their historical and cultural context, and bringing into the discussions the latest archeological and textual discoveries; applying the Scriptures to the challenges faced by us as individuals, by our nation, and by the world; and observing the signs of the times in light of Bible prophecy as we look forward to the Blessed Hope of the return our Lord Jesus Christ. 

The Faith Once Delivered will be a program that will build your faith in God, deepen your understanding of and confidence in the Holy Scriptures, and encourage you in your daily walk with the Lord.  This will be a radio program that you will not want to miss!

KCRO Radio is Nebraska’s premier Christian radio station, and is celebrating 40 years of broadcasting Christian programing. We will be joining a lineup of quality Christian programing that includes such well known shows as, Focus on the Family, Family Life Today, Thru the Bible, Insight for Living, and Adventures in Odyssey. With shows like these, if you are not already listening to KCRO Radio you should be!

So mark your calendar for Saturday, October 5th at 9:30 AM, and tune into The faith Once Delivered on KCRO Radio at 660AM in Omaha or 106.7 FM in Lincoln, — and be sure to encourage your family and friends to tune in as well. Not in eastern Nebraska or western Iowa? Not a problem! You can listen live via the Internet at: http://www.kcro.com/home/

MORE IMPORTANT PARISH NEWS!

NEW PARISH WEBSITE

Holy Cross parish has launched an all new parish website that will be updated regularly with new information and photographs. 

Unfortunately, the software used for our old website became obsolete some time ago, making it very difficult to revise or even update the site. This necessitated the development of an all new website using the latest software. We think you are going to really like the new website. It is filled with up-to-date information about our church and parish life, and is illustrated with many colour photographs. I hope that you will take a little time and explore our brand new parish website!

Please jot down the new website address and be sure to share it with everyone you know. Here is the link:


We still own the address to our old website, and we plan to bring it back up using new software. It won’t be long before Holy Cross parish has two informative and complimentary websites! We’ll keep you abreast of developments. 


THE NOVAKS TO CELEBRATE THIRTY-FIVE YEARS IN MINISTRY ON SEPTEMBER 29TH

On Sunday, September 29th, I will be celebrating thirty-five years in the ordained ministry, and Cheri and I will be celebrating thirty-five years in Christian ministry together. Thirty-five years of service to God and his people is indeed something to celebrated!

A celebratory Luncheon will be held in the parish hall immediately after the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist on September 29th. There is no cost for the luncheon and the public is warmly invited, so be sure to invite family and friends. Let’s us celebrate together thirty-five years of Christian service, and pray that, should the Lord tarry, the next thirty-five years of ministry will be both joyful and fruitful!

CHRISTIAN EDUCATION RESUMES SUNDAY, OCTOBER 6TH

Adult Christian Education for the 2019—2020 term begins on Sunday, October 6th. Normally Christian Education resumes sometime in Mid-September, but with the busy month already planned for Holy Cross parish in September it was thought better to postpone the beginning of the term until the first Sunday in October.

I will be teaching the adult class. The theme of the class will be First Century Christianity (Jude 3), and the class will likely take up the entire term. The class will run from 8:30 AM to 9:10 AM, followed by Matins at 9:15 AM.

Since 1844, with the discovery of Codex Sinaiticus, there has been a tremendous and rapidly increasing number of archeological and textual discoveries that shed light on and clarify the Apostolic Faith. The discoveries are now coming so fast that it is hard to keep up. Today, scholarship knows far more about Second Temple Judaism and First Century Christianity than at anytime since the second century. 

This class will be looking at the archeological and textual discoveries, reading through important documents such as the Didache, and seeking to understand, apply and live the “faith once delivered unto the saints”(Jude 3) in the first century. This will be an exciting and challenging class as there is much for Christians to learn and some things to unlearn. The public is invited to attend, and there is no cost for the class.

NEW CHURCH RENOVATIONS 

Holy Cross parish will soon be undergoing more renovations as we continue to improve and beautify our church facilities. 

Bathrooms in the church and the parish hall will be renovated, the interior of the church with the exception of the (liturgically) east wall will be painted, and the carpeting in the church will be replaced with wood-look vinyl planking. The new, hard floor will greatly improve the acoustics in the church and the new paint will give the chapel a fresh look.

All renovation work will be done on weekdays and there will be no interruptions of Sunday Services or fellowship. We are excited about the continuing renovations, and I know you will love the new look!


Monday, September 9, 2019

NEW PARISH WEBSITE!

Dear friends in Christ,

I am very happy to announce that we have a new parish website!

We think you are really going to like our new website. It is filled with up-to-date information about our church and parish life, and is illustrated with many colour photographs. We like to say that the Christian life is the Good Life at Holy Cross parish, and our new website will help you to see why. 

I hope that you will take a little time to visit and explore our new parish website. Every page is informative, edifying and encouraging. Here is the link:


Please jot down the new website address and be sure to share it with everyone you know. Holy Cross parish is a church they will not want to miss!

What has become of our old parish website of many years?
 
Unfortunately, the software used for our old website became obsolete some time ago, making it very difficult to revise or even update the site. This necessitated the development of an all new website using the latest software. However, we still own the old website address, and that website — with a whole new look — will eventually return as well, giving us two attractive and informative parish websites. I will be sure to keep you informed as to when it will be back up.

A big thank you goes out to Matushka Cheri who put in many long hours and late nights, as well as vacation time, to make our new website a reality. This year is our 35th anniversary in ministry together. Cheri is a dedicated co-worker in the Lord’s harvest field. She really cares about the Gospel and about you.

Enjoy the new website and share it with others.

Soli Deo gloria!

Blessings,

Father+

Fr. Victor Novak
Rector
HOLY CROSS ORTHODOX CHURCH
7545 Main Street
Ralston, Nebraska 68127
(402) 573-6558


Friday, August 23, 2019

HOLY CROSS PARISH NEWS — August 23, 2019

There is a lot going on in the life of Holy Cross parish, so please invest a few minutes and read all about, then pass the news on to anyone who may be interested.

POTLUCK LUNCHEON — This Coming Sunday, August 25th

This coming Sunday is our monthly Potluck Luncheon. As always, members of our church family are asked to bring a Main Dish, or a Side Dish and a Desert. Visitors are our guests and do not have to bring a thing. We always have a wonderful time at our monthly potlucks, so be sure to invite family and friends. See you there!

NEW CHURCH RENOVATIONS 

Holy Cross parish will soon be undergoing more renovations as we continue to improve and beautify our church facilities. 

Bathrooms in the church and the parish hall will be renovated, the interior of the church with the exception of the (liturgically) east wall will be painted, and the carpeting in the church will be replaced with wood-look vinyl planking. The new, hard floor will greatly improve the acoustics in the church and the new paint will give the chapel a fresh look.

All renovation work will be done on weekdays and there will be no interruptions of Sunday Services or fellowship. We are excited about the continuing renovations, and I know you will love the new look!

SUMMER CHURCH PICNIC, SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 8TH

Holy Cross parish will hold its annual Summer Church Picnic on Sunday, September 8th, immediately following the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist. 

Matins will be omitted on that day and the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist will be moved up to 9:30 AM. There will be no fellowship after the Liturgy so everyone will be free to proceed to the picnic. Directions to the picnic will be available at the church.

We will be grilling hamburgers and hotdogs, and there will be other entrees, as well as sides, deserts and drinks.  Members of the Holy Cross church family are asked to bring any two items for the picnic:  Main Dish, Side Dish, Desert, or Drink. Visitors are our guests and do not have to bring a thing. There is no cost to take part in the picnic. Just come and have fun!

Everyone always has a wonderful time at our Summer Church Picnic. There is plenty of good food and warm fellowship, so be sure to invite family and friends. Everyone is welcome. The Christian Life is the Good Life at Holy Cross parish!

THE NOVAKS TO CELEBRATE THIRTY-FIVE YEARS IN MINISTRY ON SEPTEMBER 29TH

On Sunday, September 29th, I will be celebrating thirty-five years in the ordained ministry, and Cheri and I will be celebrating thirty-five years in Christian ministry together. Thirty-five years of service to God and his people is indeed something to celebrate!

A celebratory Luncheon will be held in the parish hall immediately after the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist. There is no cost for the luncheon and the public is warmly invited, so be sure to invite family and friends. Let’s us celebrate together thirty-five years of Christian service, and pray that the next thirty-five years of ministry will be both joyful and fruitful!

CHRISTIAN EDUCATION RESUMES SUNDAY, OCTOBER 6TH

Christian Education for the 2019—2020 term begins on Sunday, October 6th. Normally Christian Education resumes sometime in Mid-September, but with the busy month already planned for Holy Cross parish in September it was thought better to postpone the beginning of the term until the first Sunday in October.

I will be teaching the adult class. The theme of the class will be First Century Christianity (Jude 3), and the class will likely take up the entire term. The class will run from 8:30 AM to 9:10 AM, followed by Matins at 9:15 AM.

Since 1844, with the discovery of Codex Sinaiticus, there has been a tremendous and rapidly increasing number of archeological and textual discoveries that shed light on and clarify the Apostolic Faith. The discoveries are now coming so fast that it is hard to keep up. Today, scholarship knows far more about Second Temple Judaism and First Century Christianity than at anytime since the second century. 

This class will be looking at the archeological and textual discoveries, reading through important documents such as the Didache, and seeking to understand, apply and live the “faith once delivered unto the saints”(Jude 3) in the first century. This will be an exciting and challenging class as there is much for Christians to learn and some things to unlearn. The public is invited to attend, and there is no cost for the class.

TRY A LITTLE KINDNESS

As you all know, I am a simple country parson, and I love the simple pleasures of life. I am attaching for you a link to a song sung by country singer Brad Paisley. The song is called, Try a Little Kindness. In the song, we are called on to, “Try a little kindness, show a little kindness, shine your light for everyone to see…, then overlook the blindness of narrow minded people on their narrow minded screed.” This is good advice indeed. I think this song will touch your soul, warm your heart and lift your spirit. I know that is what it did for me.

Here is the link. Enjoy!


SUNDAY SERVICES

Sunday Matins is at 9:15 AM, followed by the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist at 10:00 AM, with our monthly Potluck Luncheon immediately at the Liturgy. Everyone is invited, and visitors are always welcome. We are a faithful and friendly congregation, and we have a place for you. I hope to see you on Sunday!


HOLY CROSS ORTHODOX CHURCH
7545 Main Street
Ralston, Nebraska 68127
(402) 573-6558

Friday, August 2, 2019

IMPORTANT CHURCH NEWS!

“Jesus never asks for admirers, worshipers, or adherents. No, he calls disciples. It is not adherents of a teaching, but followers of a life Christ is looking for.” — Søren Kierkegaard


There are many reasons why people attend a church. Some attend out of habit, some because they like the music, the pastor or the programs. Others attend because they think an organization will save them, or because the church represents their specific ethnic group, or because it suits their political or social views. 

People attend various churches for all sorts of reasons, but there is really only one good reason — to be a follower, a disciple of Christ. That is what we are all about at Holy Cross parish. We seek to be genuine disciples of Christ, living by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God, and worshipping God in spirit and in truth; accepting everyone right where they are, and growing together in Christlikeness in the school of charity (love) that is the local church.

There can be no place for sinful pride, for self-righteous arrogance, or for legalism, judgmentalism and a spirit of condemnation in such a church. For we know that God is love, that He loves each of us as though there were only one of us, and that the mission of the church is simply to tell the thirsty where they can find living water:

“Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:10-14, KJV).

SUMMER CHURCH PICNIC

Good News! Our annual Summer Church Picnic is only about five weeks away!!! This year we will have our Summer Church Picnic on Sunday, September 8th, in the beautiful community of Blair. As always, we will omit Matins on that day, and celebrate the Holy Eucharist at 9:30 AM rather than 10:00 AM. Immediately after the Liturgy we leave to enjoy ourselves in Blair. There will be grilled hamburgers and hotdogs, food galore, desserts of every kind, and warm fellowship.

As usual, there will be no cost for the event. We always have a wonderful time at our annual Summer Church Picnic so be sure to invite family and friends. Mark your calendar for Sunday, September 8th, and save the date. Details will follow as the date approaches. I’ll be looking forward to seeing you there!

ADULT CHRISTIAN EDUCATION BEGINS IN SEPTEMBER

Adult Christian Education will resume in September, and the date will be announced soon. I will be teaching the course, and class will run from 8:30 to 9:10 AM.

This class may well run through the entire Fall 2019—Spring 2020 term. It will be an in-depth look at Second Temple Judaism and First Century Christianity. This is the era into which Jesus was born, ministered, died and rose from the dead, as well as the era of the Apostolic Church. 

You will learn many things that you never knew before, and unlearn some things that you thought you knew. Thanks to the explosive growth in knowledge of this pivotal era we have more information today than ever before. We know more about this era, and its beliefs and practices, than anyone has know since the Second Century. 

We will take a close look at the earliest Church, study the Scriptures within their proper cultural context, review the latest archeological discoveries, learn about the Dead Sea Scrolls, study in detail the Didache (cir. AD 45) the original church manual, and much, much more. The “faith once and for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3) is not found in the 1950s, the 16th century, the 11th century, or even the fourth century. It is found in the first century — and it is that century that we will be studying in depth.

If you would like to get a good overview of this important time in preparation for the course, I can highly recommend a book to you. It is titled, From the Maccabees to the Mishnah, by Shaye Cohen, and published by Westminster John Knox Press.

The book is now in its third edition. The eighth chapter is new, and may or may not be as good (I have an earlier edition of the book), but I know that the rest of the book is excellent. You can buy it through Amazon. Here is the link;


I hope that you will consider purchasing and reading this book. It will give you the historical background needed to get so much more from your reading of the Holy Scriptures, from what you hear from the pulpit and what we will be studying in our Adult Christian Education class this Fall. From the Maccabees to the Mishnah covers four centuries, from 200 BC to AD 200Believe me, it is not a difficult read, and is well worth the investment. Enjoy! 

35TH ANNIVERSARY IN MINISTRY CELEBRATION

In September I will be celebrating thirty-five (35) years in ordained ministry, and Cheri and I will be celebrating thirty-five (35) years in ministry together. We can hardly believe it. The time has gone by so quickly. We have served in the ministry in four States. I have pastored, done para-church ministry, taught in college, edited a national Church periodical, been a Provincial Ecumenical Officer, and more. We have been blessed in so many ways, and we hope that we have been a blessing to others. We know that you have been a blessing to us.

We have not yet set a date to celebrate our 35th anniversary in ministry, but it will probably be on the last Sunday in September so we can celebrate it with our monthly potluck luncheon. We will keep you informed. Cheri and I genuinely love you and we always will. Thank you for being a part of our lives. We are not just a congregation, we are family.

PARISH FOOD BINS

Our parish food bins are about three quarters full. If we all make an effort we should be able to fill them them to overflowing on Sunday so this much needed food can be taken to the Open Door Mission where it can bless those most in need. Food of all kinds is needed, but right now the Open Door Mission is asking especially for boxed macaroni and cheese dinners, and canned fruit. Thank you!

SUNDAY SERVICES

Sunday Matins is at 9:15 AM, followed by the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist at 10:00 AM, with fellowship and refreshments after the Liturgy. Everyone is invited to attend and visitors are always welcome. We are a faithful and friendly congregation, and we have a place for you. We hope to see you on Sunday!

Blessings,

Father+

Fr. Victor Novak
Rector
HOLY CROSS ORTHODOX CHURCH
7545 Main Street
Ralston, Nebraska 68127
(402) 573-6558

Friday, July 26, 2019

HOLY CROSS UPDATE — July 26, 2019

POTLUCK SUNDAY — July 28

This coming Sunday is our monthly Potluck Luncheon. Our monthly potlucks are a real highlight of our parish life so be sure to invite family and friends. Refreshments over the past few weeks have been more like luncheons, so I can only image what Sunday’s potluck will be like. It will be great!

As usual, members of our church family are asked to bring a Main Dish, or a Side Dish and a desert. Visitors are our guests and do not have to bring a thing.

PROPHECY SERMON

This Sunday I will be preaching an important sermon on Bible prophecy from the book of Daniel. We are all familiar with the 490 year prophecy relating to the coming of the Messiah in Daniel chapter nine, but the eighth chapter of the Book of Daniel contains the longest time prophecy in Scripture. 

“And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed” (Daniel 8:14). Does this prophecy cover 2,300 days, 1150 days,  or 2,300 years? When does it begin? When does it end? What is it speaking of? The defilement of the Holy Temple by Antiochus Epiphanies and its cleansing in the time of the Maccabees? The Second Coming of Christ to cleanse the earth? The cleansing of the Heavenly Sanctuary? Or something else?

This prophecy has great importance for us and our day. You won’t want to miss this sermon. Bring your Bible and come ready to learn. God keeps His promises and is with us every step of our pilgrim journey. Invite your family and friends. This exciting message will open their eyes and make them see the Holy Bible in a whole new light. It is not a dusty old book, but is as relevant as tomorrow’s headlines!

HOLY UNCTION

“Is any sick among you? let him call for the presbyters of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord” (James 5:14).

The Sacrament of Holy Unction — the Anointing of the Sick — with prayer for healing will be administered this Sunday during the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist. If you or someone you know is struggling with physical, emotional or mental issues you (and they) will want to come forward and receive this Sacrament of healing. Not a communicant? You can still come forward and receive the laying on of hands with prayer for healing. 

RECTOR’S CONTINUING EDUCATION

I have been studying Second Temple Judaism and early Christianity all of my adult life. The discoveries are now coming so fast that it is hard to keep up. We now know far more about this pivotal era than anyone has known since the second century. It is amazing. God is doing something wonderful in our day. 

The classes that I am taking from Israel have been a tremendous blessing. In the past I have read a terrific book on the Gospel of John titled, The Jewish Gospel of John: Discovering Jesus, King of All Israel, by Dr. Eliyahu Lizorkin. The book reinforced what I already knew or suspected, and filled in some gaps and missing pieces. But now, I actually have Dr. Eliyahu Lizorkin as an instructor!

Jesus, and all of the apostles, the prophets and the patriarchs were all Hebrews. To properly understand their messages one needs to think like the ancient Jews thought, and that is very different than the way we think today. All Western thought (and that includes Greeks, Greek Orthodox Middle Easterners, and Slavs) is based on that of the ancient Greek Philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle. 

We are taught to think using abstractions. Abstract thinking is a way of thinking about things that is removed from the facts of the “here and now,” and from specific examples of the things or concepts being thought about.

Jewish thought on the other hand is very concrete, focusing on how things really are in the here and now. Jesus taught through his parables and sermons, using concrete examples from which we can derive truth. For instance, rather than arguing philosophically, he taught to look for something observable, such as by their fruits you shall know them. 

In preparation for the Anglican or Orthodox ministry we learn philosophy and abstract thinking. It is even worse in Rome, where ministerial students take a whole year of philosophy before studying anything else. Things were very different in ancient Judaism where pagan Greek philosophy was rejected and Hellenization was resisted as we see in First and Second Maccabees. 

The classes that I am taking keeps reminding me to think like a first century Jew, and this is very important for processing, understanding, and teaching the Scriptures, theology, and all of the important discoveries that are now coming to light. Thanks to this continuing education I am refining my understanding of God’s Word in terms of what it meant in its day to its original audience, and how to apply it today without changing its original meaning.

BOOK RECOMMENDATION

Jude 3 is very important to us at Holy Cross parish: “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”

The “faith which was once delivered unto the saints” was delivered in the first century, not the 1950s, the 16th century, the 11th century or even the 4th century. The era which we call Second Temple Judaism, into which Jesus was born and lived, and the apostles ministered, is pivotal for our understanding of Scripture and the Gospel. This era is often described as stretching from the Maccabees to the Mishnah. And we indeed talk a lot about this era at Holy Cross.

If you would like to get a good overview of this important time, I can highly recommend a book to you. It is titled, From the Maccabees to the Mishnah, by Shaye Cohen, and published by Westminster John Knox Press.

The book is now in its third edition. The eighth chapter is new, and may or may not be good, but the rest of the book will be excellent. I believe that my copy is a first edition. I have had it for a long time. You can buy it through Amazon. Here is the link;


I hope that you will consider purchasing and reading this book. It will give you the historical background needed to get so much more from your reading of Holy Writ, from what you hear from the pulpit and what we will be studying in our adult Christian Education class this Fall. Enjoy!

PARISH FOOD BINS

Our parish food bins are about half full. The needs are great, so let’s get the bins filled up so that this much needed food can be delivered to the Open Door Mission. Food of all kinds are needed, as is bottled water, but what the Open Door Mission is especially asking for right now is canned fruit and boxed macaroni and cheese dinners. Thank you!

SUNDAY SERVICES

Sunday Matins is at 9:15 AM, followed by the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist at 10:00 AM, with our monthly Potluck Luncheon after the Liturgy. There is always plenty of good food and warm fellowship so be sure to invite family and friends. Everyone is invited and visitors are always welcome. We are a faithful and friendly parish, and we have a place for you.

I’ll be looking forward to seeing you on Sunday!

Blessings,

Father+

Fr. Victor Novak
Rector
HOLY CROSS ORTHODOX CHURCH
7545 Main Street
Ralston, Nebraska 68127

(402) 573-6558