The Apostle Paul set the tone for this Sunday when he wrote to the Hebrews: "Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witness, let us also lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us..." We are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses - Prophets, Martyrs, Confessors, Bishops and Angels. Let us not forget the entire rank of Saints to whom this day is dedicated each year.
We should lay aside every sin and run the race - inspired by this panorama of those, known and unknown, who have lived their lives in piety and faith. They glorified God by their deeds of love. Let us emulate them and become victors in the challenge of human life.
The icon-screens in our churches are reminders of this idea. They are filled with holy figures from Church history who we should learn more about. It is also popular to have collective icons, that is, icons which depict a number of saints and scenes grouped together. Sometimes they are saints grouped by the month they are celebrated or by the roles they played together in the Church. The icon on our bulletin has a number of various groupings, all revolving around the majestic figure of Christ our Lord. He is flanked by the Holy Virgin, St. John the Baptist, then the Apostles, along with the Angelic host.
As we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we should look to Jesus as the Perfector of our faith. Hopefully we can strive to join the ranks of this illustrious group.
The Orthodox Weekly Bulletin – Cliffwood, NJ