Making the Journey

The photo posted with this article is from Zion National Park in the American Southwest. I took the shot five or six years back when my wife and I were vacationing in the area. This blog started in late 2006 – this photo became a visual symbol for me of the journey toward Christ’s Kingdom. It is not so steep as many journeys are, but it is “upwards.” I am also aware that “journey” is something of a cliche in speaking about the spiritual life, but there are few other words that quite capture its character: “exodus,” “pilgrimage,” are two that come to mind.

In the past five years of this blog, I have, from time to time, shared portions of my journey with others, and many have shared portions of their own within the comments. I have also had conversations through email with many who wanted a more private conversation. In the course of these five years I am deeply grateful that many have said that these writings were of help in their conversion to Orthodoxy. Nothing could make me happier. I am also aware that many have sent notes of thanks that were not about conversions. I am equally grateful.

Somewhere in the next few months (I don’t watch numbers all that close anymore), Glory to God for All Things, will log over 3,000,000 views in its short existence. It is staggering – such a large conversation – so one-sided – forgive me. But the journey continues.

I believe that the most critical parts of our pilgrimage to the Kingdom are found in details and not in the general thrust and direction. A word of kindness, an act of kindness, is worth more than every book or article on kindness that may be read. The Kingdom of God does not consist of books and blogs – but of “righteousness, peace and joy.” Such acts of kindness are the steps that take us toward the Kingdom of God.

My life has changed dramatically in the five years of this blog. I have become a grandfather (twice); three of my children have married during the time of its writing; both of my parents and my in-law parents have been laid to rest. Thus now, together with my wife, I journey as an earthly orphan, though gifted with heavenly parents. I have published a book, doubtless the fruit of this blog’s work.

Most especially, I have found (to my surprise), a host of friends. The internet sometimes gets a bad name (because some bad things can be found there). But I have found an international community of friends – people for whom I can pray and who will pray for me. This is not facebook, nor a “social” network – but the common love of Christ is a network called the Body of Christ, and I am deeply grateful for this one.

I ask your prayers for my continuing journey as I offer mine for yours. I give thanks for you all and give glory to God for all things. All things!

About Fr. Stephen Freeman

Fr. Stephen is a priest of the Orthodox Church in America, Pastor Emeritus of St. Anne Orthodox Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He is also author of Everywhere Present and the Glory to God podcast series.



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19 responses to “Making the Journey”

  1. Margaret Avatar
    Margaret

    Thank you Fr. Stephen and thanks be to God for you and this blog! You have my prayers, thank you for yours! Glory to God for All Things!

  2. Mark the Zealot Avatar
    Mark the Zealot

    Father, Bless. I like this photo (and your blog) very much. It reminds me of the depiction of rock formations in icons. In a way I cannot express, the traditional way the stacked rocks are depicted speaks to me of eternity.

  3. Rd Andrew Avatar
    Rd Andrew

    May God grant you and this blog many years!

  4. Reid Avatar
    Reid

    Thank you for all you have done for us. I rejoice at your blog’s fruitfulness.

  5. David Abshear Avatar
    David Abshear

    Thank you Father Stephen and for the blog, although I have not converted to Orthodoxy, your blog has been largely responsible for my love of Orthodox spirituality. May Our Great God continue to bless your efforts.

  6. Handmaid Anna Avatar
    Handmaid Anna

    Father Bless. I have been following your blog almost daily for the past five years since my conversion to Orthodoxy. You have been so helpful in my journey of opening my heart more and more to the love of God. Thank you for every single posting!

  7. Darlene Avatar
    Darlene

    Dear Father, bless! You are an inspiration for me. Your writings reveal the heart of Christianity which is LOVE. I implore you, please continue to write! There are few blogs that are as irenic in the comment section. 🙂 I think this is due to the nature of your blog, one that seeks to reconcile others to the (as you say here) beauty of our Orthodox faith. Your approach is that of one who thinks it more prudent to win others through the fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control) than through debate and logic.

    Many years to you, Father! Kissing your right hand.

    Darlene

  8. Karen Avatar
    Karen

    Many thanks, Father, for all your efforts and your prayers. I remember you in mine with gratitude.

  9. James the Brother Avatar
    James the Brother

    Father Stephen,

    You have been so consistent in your presentation of this blog that the words, “Glory to God” have become synonymous with love, peace and fairness.

    Echoing, please continue to share your soul with us.

  10. Scott Morizot Avatar

    Thanks, Fr. Stephen. Not much else I can say.

  11. Babushka Joanna Avatar

    Thank you for all, Fr. Stephen.

    My Orthodox friends whom I have met online have meant so much to me…all around the world, we are united in Christ.

  12. María Avatar
    María

    Thank you very much for your blog. It has been a great help for me. I am a Roman Catholic who have received many blessing through your ministry.

  13. James the Brother Avatar
    James the Brother

    Emi,

    Same to you and hoping the path you are on takes you to the heights leading to a greater communion with God.

  14. Ferial Baz Avatar
    Ferial Baz

    Thank you Father for a great blog. I just discovered it a few months ago. I am a cradle Orthodox who happened not to grow up in the Orthodox Church. So, my exposure to it is somewhat recent, like 20 years ago, this is why I consider myself a convert to Orthodoxy. Your blog was something I looked forward to every time I opened my laptop. Whenever something touched my heart, and this happened often, believe me, I would share it with all my friends. Thank you Father Stephen for the efforts you put to share your soul with so many if us. Many years!!!

  15. Jim Avatar
    Jim

    Fr. Stephen,

    I am not Orthodox (maybe orthodox, however). As an Evangelical, your blog has been a deep well along the journey. I thank you very much. I hope to continue to drink deeply here and receive guidance for the Way.

    Blessings

  16. Drewster2000 Avatar
    Drewster2000

    Fr. Stephen,

    I echo the thoughts and prayers of the beloved saints above. It is more than obvious that a host of entreaties would rise up to Heaven if there was even a hint that you were considering not blogging anymore. I would be among them.

    I would want to cling to your pant leg, bring you refreshment, lighten your load, and anything else that would secure your position as feeder of these sheep so that we could all continue to give “Glory to God for All Things!” Any thought of you not being there makes me anxious. Not sad but distraught. Not uncomfortable but frantic.

    But (in a smaller way) I have been on your side of the table. It can be a huge chore and responsibility delivering content to the same level of excellence week after week. It can be easy for bloggers to get caught up in the frenzy, blinded by the wonderful communion that is to be found online, and simply begin to assume the role of servant to the grateful audience – no matter what the cost.

    So when I have such thoughts about even the remote possibility of you not being there for me online anymore, I have to allow God to remind me that He is the source of your wisdom, the creator of your ministry, the upholder of your life – online and in person.

    And He is my source as well. Anything that I cling to besides Him becomes an idol. I have to be willing to let go of brother, mother, employer, blogger and loved one for His sake.

    ~~~~~~~

    This reminder is very instructive for me……but I’m a slow learner. (grin) I still drink very deeply from your well and thank God fervently for your wonderful ministry to us, your digital flock.

    in Christ, drew

  17. Marion Latiolais Avatar
    Marion Latiolais

    Bless Father,
    Many years to you and the Wisdom of your blog. It is an inspiration to me and I share it with others. I am on a journey fro Roman Catholicism to the Orthodox Faith. Please keep my wife and I in your prayers.
    Your little brother in Christ,
    Marion

  18. Andrew Avatar

    Bless Father, Congratulations and may God grant you many years. Sharing your journey is an valuable gift to many. Deacon Andrew

  19. George Avatar

    Thank you for passing along some of the gifts you have received: God’s graces of faith, love and charity.

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