Rahab? One of these names is not like the others! (Sunday before the Nativity)

Hebrews 11:9-10, 32-40; Matthew 1; Joshua 2, 6:23-25 For someone not brought up in the Orthodox tradition, this Sunday’s reading from the gospel may seem strange: why read a genealogy in Church? That may be interesting for the historian or the Biblical scholar, but what does the ordinary person do with all those “begats”? Indeed, the genealogies of the Old Testament are one of the reasons that the novice, reading sequentially through…

By Hook or by Crook: On Shepherds, St. Nicholas and the Great Shepherd of the Sheep (December 06, 2015)

Readings: Hebrews 13:17-21; Luke 13:10-17 (Fast); Ezekiel 34; Wisdom of Solomon. (4:7-15) Though most of us inhabit twenty-first century cities, Christians (and especially Orthodox) have a high comfort level with the ideas of shepherds and shepherding. The prominence of actual shepherds throughout holy Scriptures, from the wandering patriarchs through to those who were in the fields at the Nativity, gives us a sense of familiarity. Then there the numerous references to the…

“Remember that you were a slave!” On Riches and Status (Ninth Sunday of Luke)

Readings: Ephesians 4:1-7; Luke 12:16-21; Deuteronomy 15:11-15; 16:11-12; 24:14-22 When I describe my formation in the Salvation Army as a youngster (I was the fourth generation of two families that were saved from degradation by this para-church group!), I like to say, using a Newfoundland expression, “It’s a good place to be from!” Membership in this activist faith community meant that, even in our mostly middle-income “corps” (parish), we were not strangers…

More on Angels: OCA reading Luke 10

A short “Addendum” to my blog on angels: I noticed today that the OCA gospel reading for this Sunday of the synaxis was Luke 10:16-21, rather than the story of Jesus raising Jairus’ daughter, the reading for the Antiochians. Certainly this is an interesting reading to put alongside Hebrews 2, and on a day when we remember the authority of the archangels, as well as the incomparably great authority of the Son…

Angels, Help us to Adore Him! (Twenty Third after Pentecost, Synaxis of the Archangels and Heavenly Host)

Hebrews 2:2-10; Luke 8:41-56, 9:1; Daniel 8:16; 9:21-11:1; Joshua 5:13-15, Rev. 12:7-11 Back when I was a graduate student, I assisted the loving but quite liberal professor of New Testament, George Johnston, in a large class given to students at McGill ( Montréal), who wanted to be more acquainted with the Bible, for the purposes of their various disciplines—English literature, music, law, and the like. Prof. Johnston was fond of me, but…

“Save us, O Son of God!” Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost

Galatians 2:16-20; Luke 8:27-39; Luke 16:19-31; OT passages on “Son of God” This weekend is one of the few in which the Orthodox jurisdictions do not follow the same gospel reading. Some read the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man, while others read the story about the man with a legion of demons. The epistle, however, remains the same, and is comprised of the words by which St. Paul corrected St.…

The Gift(s) of the Evangelist St. Luke: Bonus Blog

“With Sacred Songs, let us praise the holy Apostle the Narrator of the Acts of the Apostles and Author of the Bright Gospel of Christ the All-Hymned Luke Whose Fame is not Confined to Christ’s Church for He is the Physician who Heals Men’s Ills Nature’s Frailties and the Soul’s Injuries and he Prays Unceasingly, for our souls.” + Troparion of St. Luke the Evangelist, Tone 5 The name Luke has become…