Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015, has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany” and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.”
Listen Now. We will now be including the daily reading of Epistle and Gospel with The Prayer Team.
For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8: 38-39
Good morning Prayer Team!
We started the prayer team in February 2015 and since then, there hasn’t been one day that we haven’t sent a message out. Yes, a few times I have recycled some old messages but almost every day a new thought goes out. Hopefully that streak will still be going this week, despite Hurricane Irma. That depends actually on how long we are without power.
I’m sending this special message in addition to the regular prayer team because many people on the prayer team live in Florida and like me, are sitting squarely in the cross-hairs of a really serious hurricane. Many of us, including me, have left our homes, we’ve taken a few suitcases and a few precious items and have left many of the things that are valuable to us behind, not knowing if we will see them again. I don’t know when I’ll celebrate Liturgy in our church again. Will I have a church to go back to? No one in Florida will be at Liturgy today—we’re all hunkered down in hotels, homes of friends, shelters and even far away from home in other states where we have fled the hurricane. We are scared. We are anxious. Please pray for us. Please remember us at the Divine Liturgy. For the priests who are part of the prayer team, remember us in your Proskomide, offer a Paraklesis for us, pray for us with your congregations after Liturgy today.
The last thing I did before leaving church the other day, after we had turned off all the lights and the power, and put out all the candles, was to put a new candle in front of the tabernacle on the altar. One light still burns in our church. The Light of Christ that never sleeps. The Holy Communion is still on the altar table, as it always is. Christ does not evacuate His Church. He doesn’t leave His people. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t ever storms in the life of Christians, or that He sometimes even allows them to happen. It means that He is with us, in the midst of our storms. He will be with us in the midst of this storm. I pray that we will again stand before the altar at our church, to pray, to worship, to commune and to thank God for His many blessings, for carrying us through the storms of life.
Hurricane Irma is separating some of us from our homes, our families and our church, but nothing, as St. Paul so boldly states, can separate us from the love of God. Not this hurricane, not anxiety, not nervousness, not material loss, NOTHING can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord!
Lord and Master of all things, at the dawn of creation, Your Spirit breathed on the waters, making them the wellspring of all holiness. You created the oceans and rivers, and all that dwell within them, and at Your word, the wind and the waves were born. The seasons follow Your plan, and the tides rise and fall on Your command. In both call and storm, You are with us. On the Sea of Galilee, even when the Disciples began to fear, Jesus showed that He was Lord over the waters by rebuking the storms, so that all would know that even the wind and the waves obey Him. Almighty Lord, Creator of all things, we ask You to calm the wind and the waves of the approaching hurricane, and spare those in its path form harm. Help those who are in its way to reach safety. Open our hearts in generosity to all who need help in the coming days. In all things and in all times, help us to remember that even when life seems dark and stormy, You are in the boat with us, guiding us to safety. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
We got this! He’s going to get us through it, together!
With Roger Hunt providing today’s Daily Reading: Listen Now.
These readings are under copyright and is used by permission. All rights reserved. These works may not be further reproduced, in print or on other websites or in any other form, without the prior written authorization of the copyright holder: Reading © Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Brookline, MA, Apolytikion of Abbot Marcellus © Narthex Press, Kontakion of Abbot Marcellus © Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Brookline, MA.
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyrighted 1946, 1952, 1971, and 1973 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. and used by permission. From the Online Chapel of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
Photo Credit: Long Room
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