The Indomitable Courage of Women

The myrrh-bearing women are an image of the Church. Taken together they reveal the broad catholicity of the Church, for they were a diverse lot, and included both the conventional married woman, Mary the mother of Joses, and the highly unconventional Mary Magdalene. They also reveal the primacy of devotion to Jesus, for their mutual devotion to Him was the only thing that bound them together. And, not least, they also reveal…

A Reason for the Hope that is in Us

“Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet believe.” These words of Christ, spoken to Thomas and recorded in John 20:29, have often been misunderstood. Some suggest that Christ was offering a blessing to those who believe in Him without any evidence at all, who accept Him on blind faith. This is not what Christ meant, for Thomas never accepted Christ on blind faith in the absence of any evidence. Indeed,…

The Mathematics of Misery

One of the many memorable lines from the classic The Princess Bride says it admirably. In that film, the then-mysterious Man in Black says to the Princess, “Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.” This is not cynicism, but consensus, for it expresses a universal feeling. Life is filled with pain and loss, with sickness, bereavement, and death. And, to put it in historical perspective, let us remember…

Paschal Lunacy

I suspect that many Orthodox have shared the experience of inviting friends to the Paschal service only to be met with polite but stunned surprise: “Would you like to join us for Pascha this year at our church?” “Sure. Sounds like fun. What time do you meet?” “The service begins on Saturday, at 11.30 p.m.” The sharing of this information is usually followed by a moment of silence. Then: “Sorry—what time? 11.30…

“It’s Like Déjà-Vu All Over Again”: Pascha

As mentioned before I have recently been asked to make available material from previous years’ blog pieces about the days of Holy Week and Pascha. I have provided links to the material for Palm Sunday and the events commemorated in Holy Week. Today: reflections on Pascha. “A Fixed Date for Pascha?” can be accessed here. “Understanding Pascha” can be accessed here. “Pascha: The Blast of a Trumpet” can be accessed here. “Antipascha/…

A Floating Axe-head

It is very easy to miss the story of the floating axe-head. Indeed, a book containing stories in 2 Kings that I found in a theological library which should have included that story in 2 Kings 6:1-7 completely omits it. The book comments on the story immediately before the story of the floating axe-head, and the story which immediately follows it, but entirely omits the story of the floating axe-head itself. The…