There are about 6,000 Greek islands, maybe a hundred or so are inhabited. Each island has a story. One may possess a special historical significance, while another may be recognized as a great tourist destination. I remember how many years ago, I was told that some islands are special and possess a more enduring quality.

The days in the calendar year are a like Greek islands; there are a lot of them, and they are known for different things. Some days are for work or school, others for play. Some days possess great historical significance. Still, there are other days that have an even more enduring quality. These are the holy days.

I like to think that these holy days, or feast days, can become like steppingstones that create a path leading us through the weeks and months ahead. If we let them, I believe these days can even chart a sure course through the years of our lives, because they always give us a glimpse of heavenly things while helping us stay on the path to our destination. The Church knows this very well, and so we keep the feast days holy by celebrating Divine Liturgies. This is how we continue to walk in the Light of Christ and not lose our way.

Especially on these days, the worship of the Church becomes more of an invitation to experience the holiness and the power of the Saint or feast commemorated. Just think how we are stirred when receiving the holy light at Pascha, by singing Christ is Risen, or by just entering the Church and beholding the symbols of victory, the cross, the empty tomb. Think how faith strengthens every time we light a candle to express our joy and trust in the Lord.

Memory is powerful, and because of this, we have so many commemorations throughout the year. In fact, our way of worship in the Church is meant to revive memories, both collective and personal. In the unique liturgical setting of the Divine Liturgy that includes the richness of our hymns, icons, candles, incense, and vestments, worship comes alive and invites our participation. In this environment, you can sense that the Grace of God seeks to integrate you into Divine life.

Keep in mind that our feasts are not just exceptional times we set aside for ceremonial commemorations of past events or heroic personalities. They are much different than that; they possess a unique atmosphere because in Divine services the climate is always different, always richer. This is the climate of holiness, where remembrance becomes reality and where we come to know and experience that the Lord is Good.

So then, throughout the rush of summer with all its hopes and expectations, we can also take care to put ourselves into that unique and beautiful climate of holiness that is the Church, attending her Divine services that are filled with God’s Grace and the power and truth of the Gospel.

Looking ahead to this upcoming month, we see that within just the first two weeks we will be celebrating the Lord’s Transfiguration and the Dormition of the Theotokos. Both have been placed before us like beautiful steppingstones that provide a solid footing meant to guide our steps, direct our lives, and keep us close to Christ. May we remember these days are grace-filled and keep them holy. Kalo Mina!