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Friday, August 4, 2017

“…And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate (ἐπὶ Ποντίου Πιλάτου, при Понтийстем Пилате), and suffered and was buried…” (Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed)

Besides the “Virgin Mary,” Pontius Pilate is the only human being mentioned in the Creed. Why? In order to underscore the importance of historical time, namely, the time “under Pontius Pilate,” when he was the Roman governor in Judea. When we profess our belief in Christ being crucified for us “under Pontius Pilate,” we are saying that we believe this happened in history, in real time, and not in some kind of myth or fairy tale.

So, when I embrace Orthodox faith, professing the Creed from my heart, I am also embracing the difficult fact that the Church exists within something called “time.” And that means change, because “time” is...

Thursday, July 13, 2017

“…And when he had ceased speaking, he said to Simon (Peter), ‘Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.’ And Simon answered, ‘Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.’ And when they had done this, they enclosed a great shoal of fish; and as their nets were breaking, they beckoned to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.’ For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be a...

Thursday, March 9, 2017

And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, ‘God has appointed for me another child instead of Abel, for Cain slew him.’ To Seth also a son was born, and he called his name Enosh. At that time men began to call upon the name of the Lord.” (Gen 4: 25-26)

It was only then, “at that time,” after The Fall, that “men began to call upon the name of the Lord.” Things changed. I don’t know the exact reason for the change at this specific moment, – why it happened after Enosh was born to Seth, who was born to Eve after Cain killed Abel. But I do know from the Bible that “men began” a different kind of relationship with the Lord at that point, by calling upon His name. I’d like to reflect on the simple fact of that change.

Things changed back then, and the...

Sunday, February 19, 2017

He (John the Baptist) said therefore to the multitudes that came out to be baptized by him, ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath/anger to come (ἀπὸ τῆς μελλούσης ὀργῆς)? Bear fruits that befit repentance…’” (Lk 3: 7-8a)

Today, on Meatfare Sunday, when we commemorate The Last Judgment, I’m thinking about St. John the Baptist’s approach to “the wrath/anger to come.” He’s asking, Who told you to “flee” from it? You can’t do that, because you can’t flee from your own selves, and from the “wrath” or “anger” you carry and multiply within yourselves, as a “brood of vipers.” What you can do is make a change, in “repentance” (a change of mind), and turn away from self-centered anger and fear, embracing God-centered love and faith instead. Similarly, our Lord in His parable of...

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

 “Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.’” (Mk 1: 14-15)

 

Earlier this morning in downtown Vienna I saw a little girl walking to school in a princess costume, because Ash Wednesday is coming up and the celebration of “Fasching” (the pre-Lenten carnival) is in full swing here. The costumes signify a readiness for transformation or transition – in a general sense, from winter to spring, and in a christianized sense – from darkness to light, in “repentance” (“metanoia,” meaning a change of mind or focus).

 

Today I’m grateful for this reminder to be open to change, the change made possible by “the good news” (even if for me Lent is still...

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