Time in the Shape of the Cross: 3 Reflections

This morning, I received an interesting email from a reader/ listener of Time Eternal. This person had recently read Dr. Al Rossi’s book Becoming a Healing Presence. “Rossi speaks of time as cruciform (cross-shaped),” she wrote. “This idea really intrigues me, but I also feel like I don’t fully grasp what is meant by it and how I…

The Apostles Fast: Bridging the Paschal with the Ordinary

  Well, it’s finally here. We’re in the thick of the Apostles’ Fast–a fasting period that begins the day after the Sunday of All Saints (the Sunday immediately following Pentecost) and culminates in the feast of Sts Peter and Paul (June 29). The fast goes back at least to the fifth century, and probably a bit earlier (there…

A Basket-less Resurrection: 4 Ways Pascha is Different for Greeks than other Orthodox

Christ is risen! Xristos Anesti! Christus ist auferstanden! A week or two before Holy Week, I mentioned to a friend that our Greek Orthodox parish (like most Greek parishes) doesn’t do blessed baskets at Pascha (1). I don’t think my priest would know what to do if–in the chaos of pre-Pascha preparations–I suddenly appeared on the solea with a basket full…

Holy Week: the best of times, the strangest of times

Dang it. I’d done it again. I vowed not to, I told myself I’d be smarter this year. But alas… it seems I’m doomed every Holy Monday evening to the same fate. Namely, the fate of slipping quietly into Church and opening my prayer book (smartphone app) to the Bridegroom Matins of Holy Monday. And not realizing until…

Beyond Punctuality: Being on Time for the Right Time

In Germany, where I’ve lived several times, there is a well-known proverb that translates: “Five minutes ahead of time is exactly the right time.” One of my supervisors there once threatened to dock pay when I showed up on time for work one morning. For her, if I wasn’t ahead of time, I wasn’t on time. And I was setting myself on…

(Re)Reading Rilke on the Way to Lent

I am praying again, Awesome One. . . . It’s here in all the pieces of my shame that now I find myself again. I yearn to belong to something, to be contained in an all-embracing mind that sees me as a single thing. Rainer Maria Rilke   Last week, I realized something startling: it seems no one…

Meeting Vulnerability in the Presentation of Our Lord

February 2, the Presentation of our Lord, the marks the next of the twelve major feast days on the Church calendar. It’s a time we commemorate the Jewish ceremony of the redemption of the firstborn as well as the ceremonial purification of the Theotokos after childbirth. In Greek, the feast sometimes referred to as the Meeting. In that…

Adventures in Holy Water: What a leaky font taught me about sacramental reality

Note: This essay was originally written in January 2015, after a particularly memorable Eve of Theophany.  For Orthodox families like ours, today is Theophany: the commemoration of Christ’s baptism. Liturgically, it marks the end of Christmas, and the beginning of something new—a turn from Christ’s infancy and towards His life on earth. And so, we’ll take down the lights,…

Christmas Eve with Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Well, Saturday is upon us and this evening, we will embark on the Great and Holy Feast of the Nativity of Christ. Call me crazy, but there’s always a bit of grief when you know a fast is ending. Believe me I’m looking forward to Christmas and all that entails (cough Bacon cough). But the fasts are always such a…