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…

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

As stated in this blog a day or so ago, I have recently been asked to make available material from previous years’ blog pieces about the days of Holy Week and Pascha. Acceding to this request, I provided links to a couple of pieces written about Palm Sunday. Today: reflections on the events commemorated in Holy Week. “The Apostasy of Judas” can be accessed here. “Holy Week Anti-semitism” can be accessed here.

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

I have recently been asked to make available material from previous years’ blog pieces about the days of Holy Week and Pascha. The task reminds me of the memorable aphorism attributed to Yogi Berra, “It’s like déjà-vu all over again!” (The baseball star was known for such wonderful malapropisms, such as “Ninety percent of baseball is mental; the other half is physical” and “Always go to other people’s funerals; otherwise they won’t…