Could Not vs. Did Not

Today we prepare our hearts to celebrate the Transfiguration of the Lord! Tomorrow is the Feast! Tonight we celebrate the Great Vespers of the Feast to properly get ready to enter fully into the Eucharistic celebration tomorrow! The Feast is here in the midst of our fasting preparations for the Feast of the Dormition. I love the wisdom of the Faith preserved in the rhythm of fasting and feasting. It arrests the…

Marvelous!

Welcome to the second day of the Dormition Fast! The wisdom of the fasting disciplines of the Church are meant to reinforce the reality that unless the faith is holistically practiced, that is it affects every aspect of your person, the real danger of compartmentalization exists! In my opinion, this is the greatest source for a nominal Christian faith. This idea that the faith is only one part of my life. When,…

Buy a Dishwasher!

“If you want a guarantee, buy a dishwasher!” These are the plain spoken words of a wise man to me early on in my spiritual journey that eventually led me to the Orthodox Church. He was responding to my questions about assurance of salvation and my mindset that still saw my relationship with God and my Christian life as more of a contractual business relationship rather than the messy relationships based on…

The Greatest Story Ever Told

My grandfather was an amazing storyteller. He was always a larger than life figure in my eyes as a boy and still is even as a grown man. He had this ability to mesmerize us grandkids with his stories of being a police officer in Atlanta, and his stories of his adventures with his friends. To this day, I have no idea if any of these stories he told actually happened! He…

Troublemakers and Peacemakers

In today’s Epistle Lesson from Romans, the Apostle Paul says: ” I appeal to you to take note of those who create dissensions and difficulties, in opposition to the doctrine which you have been taught; avoid them.” Romans 16:17-24 Have you ever noticed that the people who cause the most trouble in relationships are the most needy? They are the ones who seem to hurt the most, are embittered the most, and…

As Many as have been Baptized…

“For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” (See Galatians 3 and 4) If you received Christian baptism, then you “have put on Christ” AND you…

Entitled or Blessed – It Makes All the Difference

It’s practically a parable in all cultures and nations. The story of the spoiled and privileged son, full of potential and promise, squanders his gifts because he sees himself entitled rather than blessed. And we know the story always ends the same. By the way, this principle of the dangers of great blessings being seen as entitlements is true of both physical and spiritual blessings. This is exactly what our Lord encountered…

Equal to the Apostles

Do you know what the Church calls Mary Magdalene? Her title is “Equal to the Apostles. This title is given to a few saints who, like the Apostles themselves, excelled in the witness and proclamation of the Good News of the Resurrection of Christ. After all, as St. Paul declares, “if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” 1 Corinthians 15:14 The Church places such…

I’m a Wild Branch

The truth is we are all converts. Some of us were born into households where we learned at our earliest moments that the rhythm of the Faith was going to inform our lives. Others of us have these dramatic moments of confrontation with Faith that mark a specific time and place as the place where we came to Faith. But the truth is, we all have those kinds of moments scattered about…

Who Touched Me?

“Who touched Me?” What? Lord, the whole crowd is pressing in to touch You, and you ask “Who touched Me?” Lord, it doesn’t make sense. Everybody is touching You. I imagine that is what most of the disciples were either thinking or saying when the Lord asked this question in a large crowd one day. In reality someone had touched Him, but she had touched Him in desperation, in faith. After all,…