The Complete Community

Hebrews 13:17-21, Judges 1-5, Psalm 1, St. John Chrysostom’s Sermon 34 on Hebrews This Sunday we read the conclusion of that rich letter to the Hebrews, the authorship of which was debated even by some fathers.  Whether the letter is indeed by St. Paul, or by another master of theology, rhetoric, and pastorship from those early years of the Church, it speaks strongly to us today.  In Hebrews 13:17-21, which are given…

Awaiting His Advent Actively

Colossians 3:4-11, Psalm 94/5 Advent, or the Fast of the Nativity, is a time of waiting:  preparing for when we will joyfully celebrate, yet again, Christ’s nativity (His first Advent!) and waiting with patience for when He will come again in glory at his second promised Advent.  Consider this stirring and demanding passage from Colossians 3:4-11, prescribed for Divine Liturgy this week, that captures the kind of “active waiting” to which we…

Singing the Lord’s Song in a Strange Covid-19 Land

Ephesians 4:1-6, Genesis 37-50, Psalm 132/3 You know what happens when you do not keep a schedule?  Frequently you end up with a harder task than you would have had if you hadn’t shirked a responsibility.  That is my plight this week – I did not work on my blog and podcast according to schedule, and so missed last week’s wonderful passage in Ephesians, full of juicy theological themes.  Instead I see…

Angels, Elections, and the Marks of the Lord: the Synaxis of the Archangels

Hebrews 2:2-10; Joshua 5:13-15; Judges 6:2-24; Galatians 6:11-18 For some reason, this is a week in which I have been thinking about angels: what an odd thing to be doing during election week! But in my teaching, I am preparing to lecture on and to discuss C. S. Lewis’s cosmic trilogy.  In these books, the eldila—his fictional equivalent to the light-bodied powers, come to humans as emissaries of the LORD, and help…

From, In, and For God: the Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost

Gal 1:11-19; passages from Jeremiah; 1 Cor 15 On FaceBook this morning, an argumentative friend in a Dialogue group responded to a wise saying of a Church father by reminding us that all prayer in the New Testament is directed towards God, not the saints.  Her fear concerning mediation, of course, is shared by many Protestants, who believe that both our esteem of the saints and our traditions separate us from God,…

Scattering Abroad and Thankful Generosity

2 Cor 9:6-11; Psalm 111/112; 1 Kings 17 As I contemplate our Epistle reading for this coming Sunday, I sit surrounded by reminders of God’s goodness to our family.  As ex-patriot Canadians, we celebrate Thanksgiving early, and I enjoyed spending time with my grandchildren this week, singing (to the Godspell tune) “All Good Gifts Around Us” with several of them.  Even our pup, Angus, enjoyed the scraps of turkey that fell from…

Pastors and Paradox: Sixteenth after Pentecost, First Sunday of Luke

(2 Cor 6:1-11; Psalm 68/69; Isaiah 52:13-53:12) Our faith is full of mysteries, and requires us to hold together ideas that may seem, on the surface, irreconcilable.  After all, we worship the God-Man, glimpse a God who is utterly beyond us while unthinkably close by the ever-present Spirit, and understand ourselves to be creatures given the command to become like God.  Our epistle reading for today reminds us not only of the…