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“Waitin’, watchin’ the clock, it’s four o’clock, it’s got to stop.  Tell him; take no more, she practices her speech as he opens the door, she rolls over.  Pretends to sleep, as he looks her over.  She lies and says she’s in love with him can’t find a better man.  She dreams in color, she dreams in red, can’t find a better man.  Can’t find a better man.”  Better Man by Pearl Jam

During the course of Lent we have been “waitin’, watchin’.”  I began this letter with lyrics from the Pearl Jam song “Better Man” because it speaks to two issues, that someone is waitin’ and watchin’ for a better man.  But it also speaks to disappointment with the better man spoken about in this song.  (“She lies and says she’s in love with him.”)

Throughout Great Lent we have heard these wonderful readings from Hebrews on Saturdays and Sundays that have gone to great lengths to point out the fact that the sacrifices and rites of the Old Covenant were inferior to the once and for all offering of the Great High Priest Jesus Christ, the One Who offers and is offered; both priest and victim.  The rites of the Old Testament had to be repeated.  The Lord offered Himself once and for all.  The High Priest in Leviticus entered the Holy of Holies made by hands every year with the blood of animals to atone for the sins of people as well as his own.  Christ enters the Heavenly Holies of Holies not made by hands with His own blood to atone for our sins, not His own as He was sinless and was more than mere man.

“For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.”  Hebrews 9:12-13

The better man of the Old Testament rites was inferior to the Better Man of the New Covenant; His offering is the Sacrament of the Church.  The Old Covenant was a shadow, a type of what was to come.  The Old Covenant high priest didn’t get the job done.  The High Priest of the New Covenant gets the job done.

“For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men, training us to renounce irreligion and worldly passions, and to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world, awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.”  Titus 2:11-3

The time of Holy Week has come, and all that we have been watchin’ and waitin’ for has been revealed and fulfilled in the Life Creating Death and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  This is the “appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ”  It is this “appearing” that the thief on the cross experiences that we sing about at Holy Friday Matins:

“The wise thief You made worthy of Paradise in a single moment O Lord.  By the wood of the Your Cross illumine me as well and save me.”  Exapostilarion of Holy Friday Matins

Isn’t this the eternal moment of “Today” that we have been waitin’ and watchin’ for during the course of Lent and Holy Week?  The Better Man who has come, is coming, and is to come.  He is the One Chrysostom refers to in his Paschal Sermon concerning what is encountered when Christ descends to Hades:

“Hell took a body, and discovered God.  It took earth, and encountered Heaven.  It took what it saw, and was overcome by what it did not see.”

Can’t find a better man.

Christ is Risen!  Indeed He is Risen!

With love in Christ,

Bishop of Chicago and the Midwest

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This Week in the Life of your Bishop

Diocesan Assembly: October 8-10, Lansing, IL

Upcoming Feasts of the Church

Polyeleos-rank Jun 23 - Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God
Great Feast Jun 24 - Nativity of the Holy Glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist, John
Polyeleos-rank Jun 26 - Tikhvin Icon of the Mother of God
Polyeleos-rank Jun 28 - Icon of the Mother of God, called The Three Hands; Polyeleos-rank Our Venerable Fathers Sergius and Herman, Wonder-workers of Valaam
Great Feast Jun 29 - The Holy Glorious and All-Praised Leaders of the Apostles, Peter and Paul
Polyeleos-rank Jul 2 - The Holy Hierarch John Maximovich, Archbishop of Shanghai and San Francisco;
Polyeleos-rank Jul 3 - The Holy Hieromartyr Philip, Metropolitan of Moscow
Polyeleos-rank Jul 5 - Our Venerable Father Sergius, Abbot and Wonderworker of Radonezh
Polyeleos-rank Jul 6 - Our Venerable Father Athanasius of Mount Athos
Vigil-rank Jul 8 - The Sitka (Kazan) Icon of the Mother of God
Polyeleos-rank Jul 10 - The Deposition of the Robe of our Savior; Polyeleos-rank Our Venerable Father Anthony of the Kiev Caves
Polyeleos-rank Jul 11 - The Holy Equal of the Apostles Blessed Princess Olga
Polyeleos-rank Jul 12 - Icon of the Mother of God, called The Three Hands
Polyeleos-rank Jul 14 - Our Venerable Father Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain
Vigil-rank Jul 15 - The Holy Equal of the Apostles Great Prince Vladimir
Polyeleos-rank Jul 17 - New Royal Passion-bearers Tsar Nicholas and his family
Vigil-rank Jul 19 - Our Venerable Father Seraphim, Wonder-worker of Sarov
Vigil-rank Jul 20 - Holy and Glorious Prophet Elijah
Polyeleos-rank Jul 23 - Pochaev Icon of the Mother of God
Polyeleos-rank Jul 24 - Right-believing Russian Princes Boris and Gleb
Polyeleos-rank Jul 26 - The Righteous Priest Jacob Netsvetov, Enlightener of the Native Peoples of Alaska
Polyeleos-rank Jul 28 - Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God
Polyeleos-rank Jul 30 - The Holy Martyr John the Warrior


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