All posts by GretchenJoanna

About GretchenJoanna

Orthodox Christian, widowed in 2015; mother, grandmother. Love to read, garden, cook, write letters and a hundred other home-making activities.

A word from one of the Leaders.

Today we celebrated the Feast of the Holy, Glorious and All-Praised Leaders of the Apostles, Peter and Paul. As it was a weekday, the church was not full, but there were half a dozen strong choir singers and beautiful hymns to sing along with them. During the short Apostles’ Fast beforehand I read the epistles of St. Peter, and I wanted to share a passage here, one that I find especially encouraging.

Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,  casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.

But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

-From the First Epistle of St. Peter

In the Desolate Time

IN THE DESOLATE TIME

Friend, in the desolate time, when your soul is enshrouded in darkness
When, in a deep abyss, memory and feeling die out,
Intellect timidly gropes among shadowy forms and illusions
Heart can no longer sigh, eye is unable to weep;
When, from your night-clouded soul the wings of fire have fallen
And you, to nothing, afraid, feel yourself sinking once more,
Say, who rescues you then?—Who is the comforting angel
Brings to your innermost soul order and beauty again,
Building once more your fragmented world, restoring the fallen
Altar, and when it is raised, lighting the sacred flame?-—
None but the powerful being who first from the limitless darkness
Kissed to life seraphs and woke numberless suns to their dance.
None but the holy Word who called the worlds into existence
And in whose power the worlds move on their paths to this day.
Therefore, rejoice, oh friend, and sing in the darkness of sorrow:
Night is the mother of day, Chaos the neighbor of God.

Erik Johan Stagnelius (1793 – 1823) Sweden

For the chicken ladies.

You know who you are. And I count myself among your number, even though it’s been a long time since I’ve had the pleasure of tending a flock and listening to cackles. 

THE HEN

A famous hen’s my story’s theme,
Which ne’er was known to tire
Of laying eggs, but then she ’d scream
So loud o’er every egg, ’t would seem
The house must be on fire.
A turkey-cock, who ruled the walk,
A wiser bird and older,
Could bear ’t no more, so off did stalk
Right to the hen, and told her:
“Madam, that scream, I apprehend,
Adds nothing to the matter;
It surely helps the egg no whit;
Then lay your egg, and done with it!
I pray you, madam, as a friend,
Cease that superfluous clatter!
You know not how ’t goes through my head.”
“Humph! very likely!” madam said,
Then proudly putting forth a leg,—
“Uneducated barnyard fowl!
You know, no more than any owl,
The noble privilege and praise
Of authorship in modern days—
I’ll tell you why I do it:
First, you perceive, I lay the egg,
And then—review it.”

-Matthias Claudius (1740 – 1815)

My grandmother was also a chicken lady.

From the morning watch until night.

PSALM 129

Out of the depths have I cried unto Thee, O Lord;
O Lord, hear my voice.

Let Thine ears be attentive
to the voice of my supplication.

If Thou shouldest mark iniquities,
O Lord, O Lord, who shall stand?
For with Thee there is forgiveness.

For Thy name’s sake
have I patiently waited for Thee, O Lord;
my soul hath waited patiently for Thy word,
my soul hath hoped in the Lord.

From the morning watch until night,
from the morning watch let Israel hope in the Lord.

For with the Lord there is mercy,
and with Him is plenteous redemption,
and He shall redeem Israel
out of all his iniquities.