Born and raised in Indiana as the son of a doctor who was gifted in writing, Roger devoted most of his talents in the field of music as composser, arranger, and producer of both live and recorded music since the 70’s. He currently lives in Florida and continues to create music (and various music-and-sound-related productions) for OCN and others; and, having converted to the Orthodox Faith in 2010, he enjoys writing the blog series “Musings of a Grateful Convert” for The Sounding.
“The fellowship of His sufferings” is, of course, the widely-known phrase written by my dear Patron St. Paul in his letter to the Philippians. I have found myself puzzled by what has seemed in the past to be a lofty and somewhat inaccessible concept. This also has come under much finer inspection as I encounter a most difficult and painful season in my life.
Inasmuch as St. Paul found great joy in knowing the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings, I have been circling for a landing on the practical meaning of this phrase. Seemingly inadvertently, I have recently been enlightened—or at least I think—and in the following discourse, the names have been changed to protect the innocent, as well as the saintly.
I go to church and have fellowship with many fine people. I also work fairly closely and have friendships with other Christians of all stripes. What has come to my mind is the following:
Mary, single mother of two, has recently had a bout with breast cancer;
Joe, a father of three and a dear friend, has had bipolar syndrome for many years;
Ellie, a beautiful young wife and mother, has multiple sclerosis;
Judy, an advancing-in-years daughter of a best friend, has spinal and neck issues, while at the same time is having trouble finding work;
Jed, a gift from God through his generosity and mercy, is plagued by depression and headaches;
…and there are many more.
What I am learning from my fellowship with these saints is that the extent to which I pray for these and in any way extend the hand of mercy to them is the extent to which I embrace, and know, the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings.
May God help me through your prayers to be thus merciful.
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