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Monday, May 11, 2020

    “Keep me, O Lord, for I have hoped in you. I said unto the Lord: You are my Lord, for of my goods, you have no need (ὅτι τῶν ἀγαθῶν μου οὐ χρείαν ἔχεις, яко благих моих не требуеши).” (Ps 15/16: 1-2, Septuagint-translation)

     God would not truly be Lord, if He had ”need” of anyone or anything; i.e., if He were somehow insufficient, in and of Himself, and depended on the “goods” of others to keep Himself fulfilled. As the Source of Good, that is, as the Source of Life, He certainly has no “need,” as we say in the above-quoted Psalm, of “my goods.” But God does “want” me to embrace true goodness, His life, even while He does not “need” me to do that. Because outside of it I am not truly alive. I just “walk in the valley of the shadow of death” (Ps 22/23: 4) with no compa...

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

For you, brethren, have been called to/for freedom (ἐπ᾽ελευθερίᾳ); only do not use freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another! I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.” (Gal 5: 13-17) 

This passage is all about the bondage of self-seeking “lust,” which can deprive me of the freedom of self-offering, Spirit-filled “love.” 

The “Spirit,” that is, the Holy Spirit, is the God of Love,...

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Every one should remain in the calling (ἐν τῇ κλήσει) in which he was called. Were you a slave when called? Never mind. But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity. For he who was called in the Lord as a slave is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a slave of Christ. You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. So, brethren, in whatever (state) each was called (ἐν ᾧ ἐκλήθη), there let him remain with God.” (1 Cor 7: 20-24)

This is a difficult passage about our “vocation,” or “calling” from God. More specifically, it’s about 1. The fact that God has “called” us, and 2. The place or state we were in, when He did so. And St. Paul says, sure, if you were in a bad place at that time, when He called you, and you’re in a position t...

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery… For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants of one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if you bite and devour one another take heed that you are not consumed by one another.” (Gal 5: 1, 13-15)

So, we are not “consumers” of one another. Other people, the Apostle is saying to me, are not to be seen by me “as an opportunity for the flesh.” They are, rather, an opportunity for service. “Through love,” he says, “be servants of one another.” This perspective, the perspective of the cross, liberates me from the bondage of self-seeking and need...

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Jesus then said to the Jews who had believed in him, ‘If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.’ They answered him, ‘We are descendants of Abraham, and have never been in bondage to any one. How is it that you say, ‘You will be made free’?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, every one who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not continue in the house for ever; the son continues for ever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” (Jn 8: 31-36)

What kind of “bondage” is Jesus pointing out to me here? It is the bondage of my “sin” (ἁμαρτία, missing the mark); that is, my loss(es) of focus and distractions in false directions, toward short-sighted desires. My usefulness in God’s h...

Monday, June 27, 2016

For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants of one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if you bite and devour one another take heed that you are not consumed by one another.” (Gal 5: 13-15)

Freedom! What does it mean? It means I can stop fighting people, and stop struggling to control them. Because in the Spirit, Whose gifts, like love and patience and faith, are showered abundantly on all of us, I can hand over to Him the burdens of control and judgment. “For through the Spirit, by faith, we eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.” (Gal 5: 5)

So let me serve today, in love, rather than struggle, in self-righteousness. Because my God i...

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