It began as a response to the Covid-19 virus. I had just finished teaching a three-part series on David C. Ford’s translation of Saint John Chrysostom’s Letters to Saint Olympia (St. Vladimir’s Press, 2016). I did not realize at the time how timely the subject of despondency (depression) was. But then the Covid-19 virus shut down everything—even our worship and fellowship at St. John’s the Evangelist Orthodox Church in Tempe, AZ. As I read the many requests for prayers on St. John’s social network, I wondered what I could offer to my hurting fellow parishioners. I decided to post comments on Dr. David C. Ford’s excellent translation of the St. John’s letters. I highlighted each of these entries with a keyword to organize its thoughts. Immediately these posts received responses of gratitude.
When I ran out of thoughts from Dr. Ford’s translation, I decided to continue with commentary on the daily Epistles from the Orthodox lectionary. Again, I centered these with a keyword word that I called “the word of the day.” Once again, I received expressions of thanks for the counsel and encouragement of my posts.
Along the way, comments that I ought to publish my commentaries in a book surprised me. That was not my original intention. But last June, I had attended an “Ancient Faith” workshop for writers. Here was a possibility that I could send something that the Ancient Faith readers could use. I am thankful that my proposal was accepted.
Well, I have written my way through Romans and am working on 1 Corinthians at the moment. But something is happening to me as I write and think about the texts for each day. The message for one day seems to build upon the next. And I am becoming more open to receiving it. I have a deeper sense that the Lord is speaking to me through the living Word of scripture. And gradually, what I hear is guiding and directing me through the day.
I am praying that this experience of the Lord speaking to the heart and mind might be yours as you study the appointed readings of the Orthodox lectionary each day. I do not ask for agreement or disagreement, approval or disapproval. I only hope that you will develop a daily habit of opening yourself up to the Word of scripture. I am confident that your study will enrich and empower your walk with the Lord each day.