By the Waters of Babylon

A traditional hymn from the Lenten season. By the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion. Alleluia. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. Alleluia. For there they that had taken us captive required of us a song; and they that had carried us away required of us a hymn, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. Alleluia. How shall we…

Why Does God Sing?

A comment was posted this past weekend about prayer and singing (or “chanting”). This article represents some earlier thoughts I have written on the topic. Over the course of this next week I will be largely engaged in another writing task and will only be able to monitor the blog once or twice a day. I’ll also try to post some things of interest. Why would God sing? The question may sound…

A Nature That Is Less Than Obvious

In modern usage, the word “nature” generally refers to growing things – “the great outdoors.” Having been born in the ’50’s, I have been the veteran of several “back to nature” campaigns. There is a sense, at least as old as the Enlightenment, that if we could only get ourselves “back to nature,” things would be alright. Some of the present day environmental movement has this sense about things. Green is good.…

The Secret Place

Of all the places and spaces to which we should attend – this article names the most important. I suspect that our failure to recognize holy space in the physical surroundings of our lives contributes to our inability to find the holy place within our own heart. I am not sure which must come first – but I think we must know both. Without a proper regard for the ‘secret place of…

The Shape of Heaven

This post from 2007 continues thoughts on Holy Space and its place in our lives. I am feeling my way forward with this post – that is to say – I have some thoughts that are probably still in formation – so bear with me. That human beings have a particular relationship with icons is, to me, part of the dogma of the Church. It is not an expressed dogma – the…

The Heavenly Spaces

“The Church is the earthly heaven; in these heavenly spaces, God lives and walks about.” In these words of Patriarch Germanus, we get a glimpse of the dizzying heights of the church building’s significance. The Byzantines treated space as God’s dwelling place. Their architectural problem was to create harmony between the natural scale of the human and the transcendent scale of the infinite. Recent attempts to find forms adapted to the modern…

The Light of Beauty

Everything is beautiful in a person when he turns toward God, and everything is ugly when it is turned away from God. Fr. Pavel Florensky +++ In thinking about darkness and light – and their role in our apprehension of the truth – I cannot but think about Beauty, which is a primary place in which the light of God made manifest among us (if rightly perceived). The heart that is full…

The Opacity of Sin

“And this is the condemnation: that the light has come into the world and men preferred darkness to the light for their deeds were evil” (John 3:19). There is an opacity to sin: we do not see through it. Sin sheds light on nothing beyond itself. It refers only to itself and because of this it is darkness. It is the nature of light to give beyond itself and what it illumines…

Christmas Throughout the Ages

I’ll have to ask for forgiveness at the outset on this post – mostly because of its speculative nature – something I generally prefer not to engage in – at least not for others to read. The Incarnation of Christ is significant in the course of our salvation – but we all too easily look at the story from a mere moral or soteriological point of view and fail to stop and…

What the Heart Reveals

It has been said that “icons do not depict but rather reveal.” It is an insight into the intrinsic character of icons. Events that are seen in a merely historical manner do not reveal their true nature. The meaning of an event and its significance are almost never  apparent. Indeed, the world itself does not yield its significance to us by mere observation. In St. John Chrysostom’s prayer of the Divine Liturgy,…