Cleansing the Temple in John

A rather oddly placed story – always a problem for those who need to harmonize the gospels (and many of the Fathers tended to desire this themselves) – is the story of the “cleansing of the temple” found in the second chapter. In other gospel accounts it is always part of the story of Holy Week. But here in John it follows immediately after the miracle at the wedding in Cana (another…

You Must Be Born From Above – John 3

Absolutely one of the strangest conversations to occur anywhere in the gospels takes place between Jesus and the inquiring Nicodemus in the third chapter of John. Of course, at least one of its verses (or at least its Stephanus Pagination verse number) has become nationally famous as an attendee at almost all televised American sporting events (3:16). The language of being “born again” has passed into American Evangelical popular parlance for probably…

Mystagogical Catechesis and the Gospel of John

I promise to get “off topic” from time to time – but I would like to do a bit of a “series” here in the post Pascha period – doing what has been done in the history of the Church – and look at the Gospel of John and what it means for us as believing Christians. I’m not suggesting a straightforward Bible study – but to look at a number of…

Which Way Does Time Work?

I have a 19 year-old son, who would probably rather watch episodes of almost any science fiction show than eat pizza (almost). He particularly loves shows about time travel. In a town like Oak Ridge, it’s possible to have serious discussions with serious people about things that I thought only young boys took seriously (we have some particle physicists in the parish (Russians) and, as I say, Oak Ridge is a town…

The Lamb – Slain from the Foundation of the World

It was granted to him [the beast] to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If anyone has an ear, let him hear. These are strange verses from the…

He Who Has Ears to Hear

I am convinced after years of preaching and listening to preaching that the bulk of Scripture has become lost to our ears. We hear it, but fail to “hear” it. And I do not mean this merely in the moral sense (doubtless we fail to be “doers” of the word). Rather, I am aware of a kind of dullness, of seeing a very narrow set of things that become the lens through…

Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth

Learning to read the Bible (since we now have them so readily available) is a difficult thing. We pray always for the Bishops of the Church that God will “grant them to the Churches, long lived…rightly dividing the word of Truth.” Rightly dividing the word of Truth, or properly interpreting the Scriptures is quite difficult. The modernist approach of the historical critical method can be useful for some things, but has never…

Saving the World Through Beauty

This essay of mine was originally posted on Pontifications. It is reprinted here with some slight changes.    Thus the most persuasive philosophic proof of God’s existence is the one the textbooks never mention, conclusion to which can perhaps best express the whole meaning: There exists the icon of the Holy Trinity by St. Andrei Rublev; therefore, God exists. – from Pavel Florensky’s Iconostasis This short quote from St. Pavel Florensky’s Iconostasis is among…