Confessions of a Jesus Freak

As I continue to age, I find increasingly that a generation gap opens up unexpectedly at my feet. The first time it happened was in my first (Anglican) parish, in 1980. I had just heard that John Lennon had died, and I shared the news with a teenaged boy in the parish. “David,” said I, “John Lennon died!” He just stared at me blankly, so that I repeated the newsflash again. With…

Altar Boys

In a previous blog I examined the issue of whether or not the Orthodox Church should introduce (or in some cases, continue the new practice) of having girls serve the altar as the female equivalent of altar boys. As may be recalled, I answered negatively, citing the practical and non-theological reason that the introduction of the practice, at least in North America, would lead eventually and inevitably to the ordination of women…

Mind the Gap

Lately I was reading a very interesting essay on “The Hermeneutics of the Use of Early Liturgical Practice for Modern Liturgical Reform” by the German scholar Basilius J. Groen. I enjoyed its many insights, but was particularly struck by one almost off-hand comment.   Dr. Groen was commenting on the difficulty of simply borrowing liturgical practices wholesale from the early church and applying them to our own day as if nothing had changed.…

Pascha: The Blast of a Trumpet

From the prophecies of Isaiah: “It will come about also in that day that a great trumpet will be blown, and those who were perishing in the land of Assyria and who were scattered in the land of Egypt will come and worship the Lord in the holy mountain at Jerusalem” (Isaiah 27:13). The prophet here surveys the world around him, and sees how the people of God were languishing in exile,…

Who Was That Woman?

          In the services of Bridegroom Matins in Holy Week we hear of a woman who anointed Christ just before His Passion.  In the first Kathisma Hymn for Great and Holy Wednesday, she is described in this way:  “The harlot came to You, O Lover of mankind, pouring myrrh and tears on Your feet.  At Your command she was delivered from the stench of her evil deeds, but…

The Feast of Christ the King

In the Western liturgical calendar we find the feast of “Christ the King” (often changed to conform to the draconian canons of political correctness as “The Reign of Christ”). Someone once asked me if we Orthodox kept such a feast, and I answered, “Yes, we do. It is called ‘Palm Sunday’”. On the first Palm Sunday, Christ entered Jerusalem in triumph and was hailed by the multitudes as the coming Messiah. In…