"Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village, and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house.
And she had s sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet and heard His Word.
But Martha was distracted with much serving and she approached Him and said,
"Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?
Therefore tell her to help me."
And Jesus answered and said to her,
"Martha, Martha you are worried and troubled about many things.
But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that Good part,
which will not be taken away from her."

(Luke 10:38-42)

Sitting at the Lord Jesus Feet

Written by:
H.G. Bishop Youssef

This summer I hope we will all have the heart of Mary. That we will stop to listen to God whenever the opportunity arises. During summer vacations it is often much easier to be as Martha hurrying about, preparing for job and vacation schedules, doing those projects and tasks which were postponed due to hectic school schedules, and perhaps even trying to organize a summer school class in the midst of all of this.

I believe planning, preparing, and organizing are important. Yet, they should not overtake you. I want to encourage you to plan your summer taking the time to listen whenever the opportunity arises to the Lord Jesus Christ. There are many opportunities for spiritual enrichment within the diocese this summer with the youth in mind.

The St Mary and Archangel Michael Orthodox Church in Orlando, Florida has planned a tour of Egypt. The date for this trip is June 4-20, 2001. There are many diocese retreats scheduled (Deacons, Servants, and Youth) for the summer months. Everyone should attend as many of these as pertains to them. Retreats are a wonderful way in which to enrich your summer months. Organized learning within religious settings are quiet ways that we can hear the still voice of God that often gets drowned out living in the unstructured summer months.

Check your church's summer calendars not only for activities but also for ways in which you can serve your church. If nothing comes to mind think of innovative ways to serve. Plan youth groups to go read the Holy Bible to the elderly and sick, organize a hymns group and teach new songs to the small ones, initiate a campaign to go visit all those youth who haven't been regularly attending church services and encourage them to do so.

Look around at ways to create. Does your church need an updated youth directory? Can you write an article for the Mighty Arrows? If you haven't started the Bible Contest or need to resume it let it take the place of the school hours instead of television. Can you help out with your church newsletters? Does your church website need to be updated?

Our diocese is teaming with creative and innovative youth who have much to offer as service to the church. Please do not let yourself say "I am so bored" and "I have nothing to do." This is simply not true. Be faithful in the tasks set before you.

Reading is a must for the summer. Set aside time each morning as you awake to read the Holy Bible. Begin you day with God's word and learn to listen quietly to His many messages. The summer is a great time to read from the church's wealth of literature. Read the endearing stories of the saints, travel through Egypt during the first centuries, read of the Apostles lives and the challenges they overcame, appreciate Coptic art, and understand the deification in the Lord Jesus Christ. There is so much that can be learned within well- written church literature. Do not delay with planning your summer reading program. Books can be found within your church bookstores and within the book order form of the MIGHTY ARROWS.

Always remember to put the Lord Jesus Christ central in your life. Let Him come before computer chatting, craft projects, movie theatres, sports, and television. If there is a beginning point in spiritual development it is the conscious choice one makes to become useful to the Lord Jesus Christ and therefore, to others.

I pray that this summer the most important thing we will all do is to take the time to sit at the Lord Jesus Christ's feet and really LISTEN!

God bless you all,

His Grace Bishop Youssef
Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States