The Boundary of Death

Having spent two-and-a-half years as a Hospice Chaplain, I had opportunity to be present to over 200 deaths (that does not include the many I have witnessed in my years in ordained ministry. As you sit with someone who is dying, there finally arises a boundary beyond which you cannot go: death itself. I can pray for the “departure of the soul from the body” (the priestly service done at the time…

In Accordance with the Scriptures – Part 2

Another candidate for consideration within the New Testament (particularly the New Testament as Interpretation) is the Johanine Corpus, the writings of St. John.  I am particularly intruiged by its development of a theology of “glory.” Glory is not new to the Jewish Community. The glory of God inhabits (or once inhabited) the Temple. I would grant, in a mood of generosity, that early Christians might describe Christ as “glorified.” What becomes utterly…

The Grace of Repentance

From Archimandrite Sophrony’s On Prayer There, on the Holy Mountain, my life found its right track. Almost every day after the Liturgy I knew a feeling of Easter joy.And strange as it may seem, my constant prayer like some volcanic eruption proceeded from the profound despair that ahd taken over my heart. Two seemingly totally incompatible states met together in me. I am recording facts. I did not understand myself what was…

In Accordance with the Scriptures

This short phrase, “in accordance with the Scriptures,” occurs rather politely in the course of the Nicene Creed. It does not mean that what is described is described “according to the Scriptures,” that is, in a literal sense, but rather that these matters – on the third day rose again from the dead in accordance with the Scriptures, are matters that happened in fulfillment of the Scriptures themselves. It is, first off, a…

And the Word Became Flesh

Revealing to you the pre-eternal counsel, Gabriel came and stood before you, O Maiden, and in greeting said: “Rejoice, earth that has not been sown! Rejoice, burning bush that remains unconsumed! Rejoice, unsearchable depth! Rejoice, bridge that leads to Heaven! Rejoice, ladder raised on high that Jacob saw! Rejoice, divine jar of manna! Rejoice, deliverance from the curse! Rejoice, restoration of Adam; the Lord is with you!” From the Vesperal Stichera of…

Whither the Episcopal Church?

Retired Bishop Wantland of Eau Claire’s statement, in response to the recent rejection by the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops of the demands by the other Primates of the Anglican Communion is staggering: The Episcopal Church is no longer a Catholic body. It is no longer even a Christian one. Itis simply an embodiment of a corrupt, historically inaccurate, spirit of this age. And if the Anglican Communion does not see the Episcopal…

The Challenge of Atheism

I will quickly confess that I am not a philosopher. I am not trained in the subject and always struggled in the few doctoral classes that were in the area of “Philosophical Theology.” Thus, this will not be a philosophical response that settles matters for believers viz. atheism, or settles matters viz. Orthodox Christianity for atheists. It is just some observations. That the world would be better off if everyone were an…

The Mother of God – Telling the Whole Story of Salvation

This Friday and Saturday the Orthodox Church focuses its liturgical attention on the ancient hymn known as the Akathist, the “the hymn we sing unseated, i.e., Akathismos” (what hymn would you sing while seated methinks?). St. Romanos the Melodist was the author of the first Akathist, written in honor of the Theotokos (“Birthgiver of God”). It has its own particular poetic form. Many of the Saints now have Akathists written in their…

St. Mary of Egypt

One of the most remarkable stories of the early Church, read each year on this day in Lent during the Canon of St. Andrew, is the Story of St. Mary of Egypt. I know of nothing better to do this day than read it (or attend a service in which it is read – I did the latter this morning). Do yourself a favor and ponder the mercy of God. The Story…

The Problem of Church

My title may sound a bit strange – for I do not mean to say “the Problem of the Church” – but simply the problem that something exists called “the Church” creates for modern Christianity. My thoughts are occasioned by a question posed to one of my recent posts. I assumed that the person posing the question was an evangelical or protestant of some sort – for the statements that were questioned…