The Dormition and Translation of the Holy Theotokos

Readings: Philippians 2:5-11; Luke 10:38-42; Luke 11:27-28; Genesis 5:22-24; 2 Kings (4 Kingdoms) 2:1-12. As a response to my last “bonus” blog on the Transfiguration of our Lord, one of my writers asked me if I might consider writing on the Old Testament background not only to the readings for Sunday’s Divine Liturgy (which I have been doing every other week), but also for the major feasts. This week’s offering is a…

The Transfiguration: Transforming Light

The Transfiguration, found in Mark 9:1-13, Matthew 17:1-13 and Luke 9:28-36, is both a key moment in Jesus’ own ministry, and in the apprenticeship of his disciples. Meditation upon this scene, both in word and through icon, has been a powerful source of spiritual growth for Christians throughout the ages. The following is an excerpt from my book Ecstasy and Intimacy: When the Holy Spirit Meets the Human Spirit, available both in…

God’s Signs: Building on the Foundation, Walking the Sea

1 Corinthians 3:9-17; Matthew 14:22-34 Isaiah 8:13-18; Psalm 107:23-31 Our Scripture passages for this Sunday’s Divine Liturgy are well known. The epistle reading speaks of our identity together as the Temple of the Holy Spirit. The gospel reading narrates that marvelous story of Jesus encouraging the apostle Peter to walk upon the water. At first there seems to be no relationship between the two: and then, we see the common denominator! It…

Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the Fourth Ecumenical Council: the Apostolic, Conciliar and Concrete Church

Readings for Great Vespers and Divine Liturgy: Genesis 14:14-20; Deut. 1:8-11, 15-17; Deut. 10:14-21; Matt. 5:14-19; Titus 3:8-15. I write this blog for the Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the Fourth Ecumenical Council as I am flying to Fort Worth, Texas, to speak at an event for Catholic Anglicans, concerning the importance of conciliarity. There I will meet with old friends (and no doubt make new friendships) from the Anglican community,…

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost: “Beloved For the Sake of Their Forefathers”

Readings: Romans 10:1-10; Deuteronomy 30:8-15. One of the things about the gift of a lectionary is that we faithful eventually end up reading uncomfortable passages. Our epistle reading, Romans 10:1-10, is part of Paul’s three chapter passage (Romans 9-11) concerning the place of Israel, the Torah, and Jesus in God’s plan of salvation for the world. Here the apostle Paul exclaims, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them [the…

Third Sunday after Pentecost and of Matthew; Light, Peace and Wrath: One of these Things is Not Like the Others?

Romans 5:1-10; Matthew 6:22-33; Psalm 127:1-2; Baruch 3:12-20 I continue to be amazed at the bracing realism of the word of God: at times we are brought face to face with sin and death; almost in the same breath, the word speaks of “the hope of the glory of God.” After all, that is what light does—it illumines what is there (not always a pretty sight!), as well as showing the way…

The Sunday of All Saints: Memory Eternal!

Readings: Matthew 10:32-33, 37-38; 19:27-30; Heb 11:33-12:2; Gen 12:1-10; Sirach 44:1-15 Memory eternal! I remember the first time that I heard this expression, as someone coming to know Orthodoxy. Its prominence in the Orthodox community when speaking of the faithful departed puzzled me, because I supposed that we ought to speak more of the certainty of the resurrection: probably if I had attended a memorial during the Paschal season, when we sing…