My last post was indeed a truthful one, putting the best construction on Greek Fests (and the various other celebrations and offerings of various Orthodox). It seemed to be that this past weekend, and for that I am heartily thankful.
However, the curse of such events lies in just what was posted in the comments. All too often, the Greek Fest, or Evening in Athens, or whatever it might be called becomes the source of income to operate/continue the given community. That is to say, a proper stewardship has given way to something else.
The monetary support for the local community -- paying the bills, paying the priest, etc -- is actually to come from the generous proportionate weekly first fruits giving of the members of that community. This was underscored at a recent Stewardship seminar given in our Metropolis -- and that seminar indicated strongly and correctly that proper Stewardship isn't merely giving a few bucks in the tray every so often.
It is truly a sad commentary when any parish or community relies on the "world out there" to support it through services paid for at the Greek Fest or whatever else it might be. When this happens, it is, more often than not, because the parishioners are NOT giving first fruits -- tithing is ten percent -- but letting everything else in their lives come first. And this is truly a curse!
It might come also because various programs, be they building or otherwise, however well intended, are entered without truly counting the cost, or with a lack of patience that results in suddenly being saddled with a debt that is almost unmanageable.
God does provide! And He has provided richly and abundantly in every parish. The complaining and negative talk that often crop up are the result of lack of faith, and lack of living commitment.
We must not hold the various festivals primarily to support the necessary and essential expense of the parish -- so that they become absolutely necessary for survival. They can do all that I previously mentioned, with their income perhaps supporting a special project or outreach or ministry.
God calls us to welcome the stranger into our midst: He does not call us to get that stranger to do what we are called to do!
So that which can be a blessing -- a Greek Fest -- can also become a curse when it becomes a god, something the consumes and drives us to the point that we put aside that which is needful as we work out our salvation, seeking to be joined in the communion of the blessed and Holy Trinity!
Have the events -- but in their proper place and perspective!
Glory to God for all things!