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Wednesday, April 1, 2020

 “Who has wrought and done these things? He has called her (αὐτὴν) who called her (αὐτὴν) from the beginning of generations; I God, the first and to all futurity, I am (ἐγώ εἰμι). The nations saw, and feared; the ends of the earth drew near, and came together, each one judging for his neighbor and that to assist his brother: and one will say, The artificer has become strong, and the coppersmith that smites with the hammer, and forges also: sometimes he will say, It is a piece well joined: they have fastened them with nails; they will fix them, and they shall not be moved. But you, Israel, are my servant Jacob, and he whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraam, whom I have loved: whom I have taken hold of from the ends of the earth, and from the high places of it I have called you, and said to...

Monday, March 30, 2020

 “The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, ‘Lift up your eyes, and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land which you see I will give to you and to your descendants for ever. I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your descendants also can be counted. Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.’ So Abram moved his tent, and came and dwelt by the oaks of Mamre, which are at Hebron; and there he built an altar to the Lord.” (Gen 13: 14-18)

     This is our Church’s reading from Genesis at Vespers today, on Monday of the fifth week of Lent, in 2020. That fact alone is mind-blowing, indicating to me that the re...

Friday, March 27, 2020

 “Now the whole earth had one language and few words. And as men migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another, ‘Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.’ And they had brick for stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.’ And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the sons of men had built. And the Lord said, ‘Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; and nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let Us go down, and ther...

Thursday, March 26, 2020

 “Noah was the first tiller of the soil. He planted a vineyard; and he drank of the wine, and became drunk, and lay uncovered in his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it upon both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father; their faces were turned away, and they did not see their father’s nakedness. When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him, he said, ‘Cursed be Canaan; a slave of slaves shall he be to his brothers.’” (Gen 9: 20-25)

     Noah did not know that wine would make him drunk, because he was the first to make and drink wine, and to experience its effects. Nor did Noah’s sons know why their father, t...

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

 “…And Mary said to the angel, ‘How shall this be, since I have no husband?’ And the angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.’ And Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.’ And the angel departed from her.” (Lk 1: 34-38)

     The “mystery” or “sacrament” of the Virgin Birth, that is, of the Most Holy Virgin’s “vocation,” raises an understandable, human question: “How shall this be…?” It is similar to the question(s) raised by Nicode...

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

 “Now Jacob went out from Beersheba and went toward Haran. So he came to a certain place and stayed there all night, because the sun had set. And he took one of the stones of that place and put it at his head, and he lay down in that place to sleep. Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And behold, the Lord stood above it and said: ‘I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. Be...

Monday, March 23, 2020

   “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence; and remove not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation: establish me with the governing/directing Spirit (πνεύματι ἡγεμονικῷ).” (Ps 50: 10-12, Septuagint-translation)

     Psalm 50 (51) is chanted several times each day, in our daily cycle of church-services. In it we ask for “renewal,” several times each day, – because we can be “renewed” in God’s ever-new, ever-“governing” or “directing” us forward, Spirit, whenever we choose to open up to Him. Whenever I notice that I’ve slipped into going around in circles, according to “old” patterns or some “wrong” spirit or voice in my head, like idleness or despondency, I can call out and be restored in...

Friday, March 20, 2020

   “In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be (ἁγιασθήτω) Thy name…” (Mt 6: 9)

     It’s the first thing we “ask” for, in the Our Father; that God’s name “be hallowed.“ We’re saying, “Let it be” holy. But who is it that we are “asking,” to “let it be” this way? We are asking ourselves, while calling to God as our Witness, to let His “name,” – His “reputation” amongst us, if you will, – not to be tainted by our own projections upon Him, of our own shortcomings and issues (for example, our “daddy issues,” say, of a distant or absent or unreasonably-demanding or otherwise-abusive parent). Because God Himself does not need to be asked to do thus, as He does not stand in the way of His name being hallowed in our world and in our hearts. We do that. Hen...

Thursday, March 19, 2020

   “And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall arise to rule over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust, and his rest shall be honor (ἡ ἀνάπαυσις αὐτοῦ τιμή). And it shall be in that day, that the Lord shall again show his hand, to be zealous for the remnant that is left of the people, which shall be left by the Assyrians, and that from Egypt, and from the country of Babylon, and from Ethiopia, and from the Elamites, and from the rising of the sun, and out of Arabia. And he shall lift up a sign (σημεῖον) for the nations, and he shall gather the lost ones of Israel, and he shall gather the dispersed of Juda from the four corners of the earth.” (Is 11: 10-12, Septuagint-translation)

     As this third week of Lent leads us to the upcoming Sunday of the...

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

   “A foolish woman is noisy; she is wanton and knows no shame. She sits at the door of her house, she takes a seat on the high places of the town, calling to those who pass by, who are going straight on their way, ‘Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!’ And to him who is without sense she says, ‘Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.’ But he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of hell.” (Prov 9:13-18)

     Here, at the end of Chapter 9 of Proverbs, “foolishness” or “folly” is personified as a woman. But note that the opposite of “foolishness,” that is, “wisdom,” is also personified as a woman in the beginning of this same chapter, – to put our p.c.-sensitivities to rest. “Foolishness” can also be defined as “sin” in g...

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