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…

The Ascension: Christ’s Victory, Our Hope!

Readings: Luke 24:46-52; Acts 1:1-12; Isaiah 2:2-3; Isaiah 62:10-63:9; Zechariah 14:1-11. The Ascension is, among those who call themselves Christians, a relatively neglected Feast, except among who those hold to the ancient liturgies. No doubt the event itself is problematic for the contemporary imagination, as C. S. Lewis pointed out half a century ago—skeptics scoff at the prospect of a three-story universe, and the bizarre picture (for those of the twenty-first century)…

The Sunday of the Samaritan Woman: Living Water, The Gift WHO IS God

Readings: John 4:5-42 and MANY OT Texts! It is common to hear scholars speak of Christians in one breath with Jews and Christians as “people of the Book.” And, indeed, we honor the Scriptures (including the Old Testament) deeply, as did Jesus, who, along with the religious leaders of his day, began with the presupposition that “the word of God cannot be broken!” St. John the Golden Mouthed reminds us of the…

Sunday of the Myrrh-Bearing Women: Anointing and Faith

Readings: Mark 15:43-16:18, Acts 6:1-7; Psalm 44 (MT 45); Exodus 40:1-15 My heart overflows with a goodly theme; I address my verses to the king; my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe. You are more beautiful than the sons of men; grace has been poured upon your lips; therefore God has blessed you forever. Gird your sword upon your thigh, O Mighty One, in your glory and beauty! In…

Great and Holy Pascha: The Restoration of the Kingdom

Blog 7 Great and Holy Pascha: The Restoration of the Kingdom On great and Holy Pascha, we flash forward just a little from that Easter morning, and we read Acts 1, gazing upon the tableau of the disciples, talking with the risen Lord for 40 days, and listening to his final words. Luke rehearses for us the climactic conclusion of his gospel, and tells us that Jesus, after his resurrection, spoke to…

The Sunday of St. Mary of Egypt: A Cautionary Tale and Godly Ambition

Judges 9: 1-56; Isaiah 53: 7-12; Hebrews 9:11-14; Mark 10:32-45 The power of the story has always fascinated me. Beginning as a child who cut her teeth on C. S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, and as an undergraduate who wrestled with and appreciated genre in literary studies, I have been trained to ask questions about the inter-relationships between form, content and tenor. The Scriptures are replete with different mini-forms and also full-blown…

The Sunday of the Adoration of the Holy Cross: Learning Obedience.

Readings: Hebrews 4:14-5:8; Mark 8:34-9:1; Sirach 2:1-9; Isaiah 50:4-9 Anyone who has nurtured toddlers remembers the moment—that time when the little darling asserts his or her self-will in utter clarity. My oldest daughter, as in every area of life, was precocious–it happened the November before she turned two. The weather in Ottawa, Canada (the coldest capital city in the world!) had turned bitterly cold; already we had begun the routine of snow…