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Monthly Message from Father Niko – January 2020

 

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Beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord,

Of all the wonders of planet Earth and human physiology, the main “ingredient” that makes up the human body is, remarkably, the same one that covers three quarters of the planet- water. As we see in every corner of creation, water is synonymous with life. The greatest forests and jungles on earth grow where there is an abundance of water. Farmers require water to grow their crops, which can grow even in the most barren environment with just a little water. The sound of running water attracts animals, whether a watering hole in the African savanna or a bird bath in one’s backyard. An oasis, a patch of water found in the middle of the desert, is a life-saving, life-sustaining spot in an otherwise lifeless area. Indeed, in recent years, Californians have seen, firsthand, just how damaging a drought in our area can be! Throughout history, in every civilization, water is seen as precious, as necessary to survival, to sustenance, and to growth.

In the Bible, as well, the Lord uses water on countless occasions to save and to sustain life. In the story of creation, in the book of Genesis, the Bible tells us that “the spirit of the Lord hovered above the waters,” as He prepared to give the earth form. (Gen 1:2) The Hebrews, fleeing the wrath of the Pharaoh of Egypt and crying to God for help, were saved when the Lord parted the Red Sea, and they passed through the waters (Exodus 14: 10-29). While wandering in the desert looking for water, Moses tapped a rock and out came water to replenish the people of God (Numbers 20: 10-13). There are countless stories of life-saving water in the Scriptures and the lives of saints.

The beginning of the Lord’s ministry on earth was his baptism by the hands of Saint John the Baptist in the Jordan River, a life-sustaining body of water in an otherwise arid land. According to Saint John Chrysostom, the Lord did not consent to be baptized because He needed to be sanctified, but rather to sanctify the waters, so that each believer may be sanctified. Much can be said about this great moment in the history of salvation that we celebrate each January, especially about how we as Orthodox Christians continue to experience the miracle of the sanctification of the waters each year- through the service of the blessing of the waters celebrated on January 5th and 6th, by baptizing our children in a font of water, and how we bless our homes the beginning of each year with holy water.

Traditionally, families ask the priest of their community to come to their home sometime between January and March (depending on the size of the parish) and celebrate a house-blessing service, in which the hymns of Theophany are chanted, and holy water is sprinkled around the home. One might ask, “Why is water used to sanctify a home? Can’t we just say prayers for the home?” The simple answer is, yes, of course we can. However (and here is the long answer), water, as we remember, is synonymous with life. It is a reminder to us of how often God used water in life-saving miracles. It is also a “tangible prayer,” in that we can touch it, feel it, and drink it. And on top of all that, we as Orthodox Christians firmly believe that God can work through created matter. Each sacrament involves something created- oil that is blessed for Holy Unction, two human beings who are blessed in Holy Matrimony, bread and wine that is consecrated during Holy Communion, and water that is blessed for Holy Baptism. Since we believe that the Holy Spirit is just as active today as He was at the Jordan River on the day of Theophany, the benefit of praying this service in the home is nothing less than making present the blessing of the Jordan in our home- spiritual strength, protection, and the peace of God.

This New Year, when we begin focusing on our New Year resolutions and things about ourselves that we want to improve, let us also focus on our connection, our relationship with the Lord, and attend one service in which water is blessed. Or at the very least, remember to pick up a bottle of holy water for the home. It will be just as sustaining to our soul as water is to the earth.

Kali Xronia!

With love in Christ,
Father Niko Bekris

If you would like to have your home blessed this New Year, contact Fr. Niko at the church office (510) 581-8950 or office@cvresurrection.org 

Our Church

Our Priest and Our Team

Liz Levy

Office Administrator

Marcelo P. Souza

Site administrator, teacher.

Renee Taylor

Communications Coordinator

Fr. Niko Bekris

Parish Priest since 2015

Anna Teodosiadis

Youth Director
Our Ministries

Latest Updates

“Let every heart prepare Him room” – Christmas Eve Services 2019

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The second Resurrection Greek Orthodox Church General Assembly of 2019 was held on December 8th. Check out highlights of the meeting, including the Building Project presentation by George Psefteas.

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The Crab Feed has been rescheduled to Saturday, January 4, 2020 due to the delay of the Bay Area commercial Dungeness crab season. Tickets are still available. Adults $50, Children $20 (12 and under). Contact the church office (office@cvresurrection.org or 510.581.8950) to reserve a table today!  

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Thanksgiving is a special time for all of us to give thanks to God for all He has done throughout the year and to consider how we might give back to Him. Please prayerfully consider giving a gift to the Lord by year end so your Parish can continue to strengthen her ministries and expand services for our beloved Parishioners.

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We Recognize and Celebrate the Veterans of the Resurrection Parish. We shall forever be grateful to the heroes who inspire and encourage us with their unselfishness, courage, and willingness to protect our freedom.

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Second Annual Ornament Exchange and Fast Friendly Potluck – Sunday, December 15th, 4:30 p.m.

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Mark your calendar and help us usher in 2020 in style!

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Our fabulous Resurrection Choir invites you attend their 37th annual Crab Feed on Saturday, December 7, 2019

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Join George Papageorge for an evening that will Ignite vision, discussion and brainstorming within the parish!

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All interested adults and middle/senior high school youth are encouraged to attend this new education class with Justin Bosl

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Join us for a potluck dinner and night of fun! All are welcome.

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Please join us for this year’s Golf Tournament at Castlewood Country Club in Pleasanton where once again, our Gyro Chefs, Baklava Sundae Scoopers, and team of Bartenders will be serving up our delicious Greek fare & treats!

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From the Fathers

Spiritual Sayings

Do not say, “this happened by chance, while this came to be of itself.” In all that exists there is nothing disorderly, nothing indefinite, nothing without purpose, nothing by chance … How many hairs are on your head? God will not forget one of them. Do you see how nothing, even the smallest thing, escapes the gaze of God?

wAs it is impossible to verbally describe the sweetness of honey to one who has never tasted honey, so the goodness of God cannot be clearly communicated by way of teaching if we ourselves are not able to penetrate into the goodness of the Lord by our own experience.

God loves us more than a father, mother, friend, or any else could love, and even more than we are able to love ourselves.

A certain monk told me that when he was very sick, his mother said to his father, “How our little boy is suffering. I would gladly give myself to be cut up into pieces if that would ease his suffering.” Such is the love of God for people. He pitied people so much that he wanted to suffer for them, like their own mother, and even more. But no one can understand this great love without the grace of the Holy Spirit.

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