Telling the Truth, Then and Now: the Nativity of John the Baptist

Luke 1: 1-80, 3:16-20, Malachi 4, Romans 13:11-14:4 Jesus began his ministry in full awareness of the dangers of telling the truth, and being the Truth.  As God, He knew the human heart and the depths of evil to which it can sink.  As man, He surely took notice of the sacrificial life of his slightly older cousin, John the Baptizer.  His cousin spoke the truth to everyone—including the compromised religious leaders…

“More is Going on than Appears to be Going On”: Lessons from Scripture on the Feast-day of the Righteous Prophet Job

Job; James 5:11; Ezekiel 14:14-20 Tell me, brother, what you are able to endure, And how much of a man you are, I will tell you. Job the righteous rich man and all-glorious By Satan on a dunghill was thrown, And with pus and sores covered, To dogs and to men, a horrifying sight! Whatever he had in a day perished Except faith and except patience. But with the weapons of faith…

St. George: Linking Legend with Historical Lessons

Revelation 12:9-11, Job 41:1-5, Isaiah 43:9-21, Isaiah 27:1 The stories concerning St. George are both a delight and a complication in the Orthodox tradition. For those of a practical mindset, a story that involves a princess, ravenous dragon and the knight who tames the beast smacks of legend. What is it doing among the more sober accounts of a soldier-saint who was bold to speak the truth in a hostile environment, who…

Lazarus Saturday: the Overwhelming Question

Hebrews 12:28-13:8; John 11:1-45; 2 Maccabees 7; Daniel 12 And would it have been worth it, after all,… Would it have been worthwhile, To have bitten off the matter with a smile, To have squeezed the universe into a ball To roll it toward some overwhelming question, To say, ‘I am Lazarus, come from the dead, Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”— If one, settling a pillow…

The Annunciation: When Hello is not simply Hello!

(Hebrews 2:11-18; Luke 1:24-38; Judges 6:12-15) Conventional greetings and words of introduction are notoriously slippery things. In the past year, my husband and I have grown very fond of the Scottish band “The Proclaimers,” whom many in America know from their popular song, “I’m gonna be”: You know, “And I would walk 500 miles, and I would walk 500 more, just to be the man…”  Well, they have a very funny song…

St. Patrick, Natural Icons and the Sacramental Creation

Readings: Isaiah 13:2-13; Genesis 8:4-21; Proverbs 10:31-11:12 St. Patrick, the Bishop of Armagh and Enlightener of Ireland, was born as a slave in Britain—either Scotland or Wales— between 385 and 390, travelled to Ireland in response to the call of God, eventually became bishop of the area of Armagh, in Northern Ireland, and died, having braved many dangers for Christ, on March 17, 461. Today his name is, alas, associated with carousing…

“I Have Reminded You, My Soul:” The Canon of St. Andrew of Crete and the Sunday of Orthodoxy

Hebrews 11:24-25, 32-40; John 1:43-51, 2 Peter 1. For four weekdays leading up to the Sunday of Orthodoxy, we inhabit, in our prayers together, the canon of St. Andrew of Crete, who in many of his odes takes us to the stories of the Old Testament, as he encourages his soul (and ours!) to repent. In some of his instruction he meditates upon the figure of Moses and so prepares us for…