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Monday, January 6, 2020

     “Prepare, O Bethlehem, for Eden has been opened to all! / Adorn yourself, O Ephratha, for the tree of life blossoms forth from the Virgin in the cave! / Her womb is a spiritual paradise planted with the Divine Fruit: / If we eat of it, we shall live forever and not die like Adam. / Christ is coming/being born (γεννᾶται) to restore (ἀναστήσων) the image/icon (εἰκόνα) which He made in the beginning!” (Troparion-hymn, Forefeast of Nativity)

     As those of us on the Older Calendar celebrate Christmas Eve today, (and our New Calendar friends celebrate Theophany), I’m thinking: Christ comes into our world to turn things around; to transfigure the previously death-bringing into the life-bringing. He comes and creates in us a new “spiritual paradise,” gifting us a new kind of produ...

Thursday, April 19, 2018

     “Come, let us drink a new drink (Δεῦτε πόμα πίωμεν καινόν, Приидите пиво пием новое), not miraculous water drawn forth from a barren stone, but from the fount of incorruption, springing from the tomb of Christ. In Him we are established (ἐν ᾧ στερεούμεθα, в немже утверждаемся).” (Irmos 3 of Paschal Canon)

     Here the author of the Paschal Canon, St. John of Damascus, is comparing the “miraculous water drawn forth from a barren stone” by Moses in Exodus 17: 5-8 (and also later, in Numbers 20) with the new life offered to us in the risen Lord from a most unexpected place, – from a stone tomb, – in His unexpected exit from there. Every day, I am invited to “drink” of His life-giving word, and to “drink in” His life-giving presence in my life, however stone-hearted I may feel....

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

O God, my God, early in the morning I seek you (πρὸς σὲ ὀρθρίζω), my soul thirsts for you, and moreover my flesh, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” (Ps 62: 1, according to the Septuagint)

This is what it’s like, waking up early in the morning with all sorts of thoughts scurrying about in my head. That chattery “place” in my head, raising concerns about this and that, is “a dry and weary land where there is no water.” It’s also a tap on the shoulder from God, calling me to seek Him; to get up and re-connect with Him, Who alone restores me to true life and true peace, giving me to “drink” of His “living water,” His humbling grace.

Your Good Spirit shall guide me into the right land” (Ps 142: 10) today; a land in which I not only do not thirst, in neediness and insufficiency,...

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