From Darkness, Light

At this time of year, we Christians begin thinking about the shining of the Light in the darkness. The Lord Jesus will soon be born in our festal calendar, and He is lauded in our hymns as the Sun of Righteousness, the Orient from on high Whose coming at this moment begins to enlighten the nations. And this lines up poetically quite beautifully with…

Children of Abraham or Religious Consumers?

Ss. Barbara of Ba’albek and John of Damascus / Tenth Sunday of Luke, December 4, 2016 Galatians 3:23-29, 4:1-5; Luke 13:10-17 Very Rev. Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, one God. Amen. Today we have two readings from the Scripture that mention something similar. In the epistle reading from Galatians 3,…

Christians are Naturalized Citizens

The following is the naturalization oath that makes someone a citizen of the United States when immigrating from another country: I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the…

Some Encouragement, O Christians!

Sometimes, Christian exhortation can get you down. It’s not that it’s not edifying when received well, but sometimes we don’t receive it well. If we’re not ready to receive the exhortation, we feel judgment. And of course an encounter with God’s word is always a judgment, because it reveals who we are. We should be receiving God’s word with joy, because it’s good news,…

The Struggle of True and Pure Citizenship

With the national election now (mostly) in the rearview mirror but yet not so distant, we are again in a time of reflection on national service and what it means to be a citizen, most especially on our duties to our fellow citizens. Unfortunately, most of the reflection is of a rather cynical and externalized sort, trying to figure out why this candidate won…

What is Spiritual Discipline Actually For?

Metropolitan Anthony (Bloom) of Sourozh is one of my favorite modern writers because, even though I have not really even begun to read all of his that is available in English, whenever I read something by him, I immediately feel a sense of hope in Jesus Christ. His transparency and peace are immediately accessible in all his writing. And since there is still so…

Shouldn’t This Thing Just Work? An Intentional Christianity

I get frustrated at machines sometimes, especially computerized machines. They do the most inexplicable things at times. When I was a stagehand, we called this IWF (Intermittent Weird Failure). IWF when I was a stagehand was eminently addressable—in most cases, we just switched out the offending part and went on with our lives. But I don’t always have that option out in the world…

Fix Your Spiritual Life with This One Weird Trick

I wanted to pass on one piece of wisdom that was given to me by more than one spiritual mentor: Go to bed on time. I know that may seem small and obvious, but I continually talk to people (and am a person!) who don’t get enough sleep. In some cases, there’s little that can be done about it—children, work, insomnia, etc. But in…