The Disturbed Mind, the Grasping Mind, the Single Mind, and the Transformed Mind: the Sixth Sunday of Easter

Readings: Acts 16: 16-34; Psalm 1 This sixth week of Easter we understandably focus upon the illuminating story of the blind man healed by Jesus, and the religious leaders who remained spiritually blind, thinking that they needed no healer. But this gospel reading of John 9 is always coupled with a fascinating story from the Acts of the Apostles 16: 16-34 that also provides for us godly models and a cautionary tale.…

Paralysis and Pride: Sunday of the Paralytic and Fourth of Easter

Wisdom 17:2-18:1, John 5; Acts 9:32-42, Luke 24:1-12 One of the later books of the Old Testament, the Wisdom of Solomon, gives us a wise description of a hidden reality: those who oppose God are often paralyzed by their opposition, though they suppose themselves to be pro-active and practical. Listen to this passage talking about the Gentile rulers who held God’s ancient people captive, thinking themselves to be in control of the…

Shine, O New Jerusalem!

Isaiah 66, Ezekiel 44-48, Revelation 12, Revelation 21-22 This is the week for shining, the week to be bright. It is one of the few times during the year that Orthodox are forbidden to fast, for there is an action to match every season. Indeed, during Pascha we heard that wonderful hymn to the Theotokos that addresses all of us, for in her we see a picture of our own inheritance: The…

When a Woman is Like a Bush: Humility and the Annunciation

Luke 1:39-43; Exodus 3:1-8; Jeremiah 32:44; 33:13-16,20-22 The Hymn for this coming feast of the Annunciation proclaims: “Today is the beginning of our salvation, The revelation of the eternal mystery! The Son of God becomes the Son of the Virgin As Gabriel announces the coming of Grace. Together with him let us cry to the Theotokos: Rejoice, O Full of Grace, The Lord is with You! Among the many names and titles…

What About Melchizedek?: the Third Sunday of Lent

Hebrews 4:14-5:10; Mark 8:27-9:1; Genesis 14; Isaiah 53; Psalm 44/45 Hebrews 4:14-5:6, our epistle reading for Sunday (with the verses surrounding this passage) concerns not only Great Lent, but the Easter and Ascension triumph that follows. It begins with the victorious portrait of the One who has passed into the highest heavens, on our behalf. Here we find a summary of the astonishing Christology of the message to the Hebrews, where Jesus…

On Babylon and Babies’ Heads: Psalm 136 and Preparing for Lent

When I was an Anglican, teaching at a Presbyterian College (where I still instruct!), I was frequently annoyed by the high-handed way in which the Revised Common Lectionary, used by both denominations, excised uncomfortable bits for its Sunday readings. Frequently, “positive” portions would be unnaturally detached from the more sober passages of judgment that were part of the prophet, or the apostle, or even the Lord’s rhetoric, and left to stand alone.…

Right but Dead Wrong! Judgment Sunday

(1 Cor 8:8-13; 9:1-2; Matthew 25:31-46; Ezekiel 34) Judgment is one of those matters about which contemporary Christians prefer not to talk—or think, for that matter. But as we approach Great Lent, here we are again, confronted with the problem of God’s judgment. The language for many of our hymns and prayers of this week breathes the atmosphere of, say, the prophet Ezekiel, who, says one biblical scholar, put forward a “harsh…