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Saturday, April 15, 2017

When You did descend to death, O Life Immortal, / You did slay hell with the splendor of Your Godhead, / And when from the depths You did raise the dead, / All the Powers of Heaven cried out, / O Giver of Life, Christ our God, glory to You!” (Troparion-hymn of Holy & Great Saturday)

The great “silence” of Holy Saturday, when the God-Man lies in the tomb, is different for all those involved. For Joseph of Arimathea and the women who had seen “how his body was laid,” and now, on the Sabbath, “rested according to the commandment” (Lk 23: 56), it was a day of great mourning and buried hope.

For us, however, today’s “silence” is more like the calm before a storm. Because we know that the Lord of the Sabbath is “working” even as “all mortal flesh” is silent in the face of His horrifying death: “M...

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. Jesus said, ‘Take away the stone.’ Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, ‘Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?’ So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upward and said, ‘Father, I thank you for having heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.’ When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind h...

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.” (Jn 1: 14)

Are we divinizing a text, when we say that “the Word” became flesh? No. We’re talking about a Person, “the only Son,” and His relationship with Another, “the Father.” He is “begotten” or “born” of the Father, like a word is “born” of an intelligent being; It is conceived within, and brought forth when spoken. Do I entirely “understand” this and “know” God’s eternal, mysterious Being? No. And that’s OK.

It is OK, specifically because God is not an idea I construct in my mind so that I have someone to pray to, nor a philosophical system I map out, so that I have certain ethical “guidelines” for everyday life. No. He is a Living Being with Whom...

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

As You were voluntarily raised upon the cross for our sake, / Grant mercy to those who are called by Your Name, O Christ God; / Make all Orthodox Christians glad by Your power, / Granting them victories over their adversaries, / By bestowing on them the Invincible trophy, Your weapon of Peace.” (Byzantine Kontakion-hymn of the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross)

As those of us on the Older Calendar celebrate the Exaltation of the Cross today, I am reminded that He didn’t “have to” die on the cross. His Father did not have unresolved “issues” of anger or resentment, with which He needed help. No. He was fine.

We were the ones with the “issues.” We had broken our relationship with Him, having lost our focus, our vision, or “missed the mark” of harmony with Him, in taking the path of “sin”...

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