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Wednesday, June 6, 2018

     “The promise to Abraham and his descendants, that they should inherit the world, did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression. That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants—not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham, for he is the father of us all, as it is written, ‘I have made you the father of many nations’—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. In hope he believed against...

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

     “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life (ἐν καινότητι ζωῆς).” (Rom 6: 3-4)

     This past, “Thomas” Sunday (the first one after Pascha/Easter), is also called the Sunday of Renewal, or simply “New” Sunday, because it is the first Sunday of the year on which we celebrate the Lord’s resurrection “anew,” having celebrated it in a special, once-a-year manner on Pascha or Easter. We continue to celebrate the resurrection “anew” on every Sunday throughout the year in our weekly liturgical cycle, the focal point of which is always Sunday. That is to say, all...

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” (Jn 8: 12)

How many times have I heard these words, and they just passed over me? But this morning, while it’s still dark outside and a group of drunks is singing and laughing outside my windows in the center of Vienna, I just came across this passage and it’s almost overwhelming. It’s “killing me softly,” if that doesn’t sound too cheesy. (Sorry to those of you who will now have Roberta Flack’s voice in your heads).

What does it mean, to “have the light of life”? It means walking and talking and reacting to things in God-reliance, rather than burdensome self-reliance. It means breathing the fresh air of the Lord’s presence, in the sense of belongi...

Sunday, October 29, 2017

This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” (Jn 6: 50-51)

What kinds of “life” and “death” is Christ talking about here? The kinds that begin already here, in this world. The Son of God has come “down from heaven,” has inserted Himself into our physical world, in the flesh, to share with us true life, in Him. He offers us communion/participation in His physical Body and Blood, that we may, already here, “have life, and have it abundantly” (Jn 10: 10). He shares with me His human-divine Being, sweeping me up into the unity God intended for us in the first plac...

Monday, October 16, 2017

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment/condemnation (εἰς κρίσιν οὐκ ἔρχεται), but has passed (μεταβέβηκεν) from death to life.” (Jn 5: 24)

Here is the choice my Lord places before me: 1. I can ”come into judgment/condemnation,” which means sitting in my own “debt” or death-bringing guilt, without embracing God’s mercy and God’s way forward, or 2. I can “hear” His word and embrace faith, moving forward through the ups and downs, on the life-bringing way of the cross, in humble forgiveness of myself and others. Thus I can “pass from death to life,” walking through things in the light and lightness of God’s word.

Today let me choose life, asking the right kinds of questions. Let me ask God’s kinds of quest...

Monday, August 7, 2017

I shall not die, but live, and I shall tell of the works of the Lord. As he disciplines, the Lord has disciplined me (παιδεύων ἐπαίδευσέ με ὁ Κύριος, наказуя наказа мя Господь), but he has not given me over unto death.” (Ps 117: 17-18, Septuagint-translation)

I shall not die, but live! – I say this morning, just as we say at the beginning of Matins, when we sing “The Lord is God.” It is sometimes tempting, after a difficult experience, to “die” a spiritual death, to lose heart and stop praying, having lost hope in God and also in humanity. This might be our reaction when we suffer a painful loss, say, of a loved one who has either abandoned us or died; or when we suffer the loss of a job or position, or of our physical health.

But the Psalm-verse quoted above invites me to grow, rather than...

Thursday, May 18, 2017

I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (Jn 10: 9-10)

If any one enters by me…” – Enters what? Everything: every new day, every daily responsibility, relationship, conversation, online or face-to-face, or any situation, be it a business-meeting, an evening with friends, a blind date, a trip to the mall, a vacation, or just the daily traffic jam on my way to work. Christ invites me to “go in and out” of everything “by Him,” so I don’t have to do it alone, in meaninglessness and self-isolation. Everything has abundant meaning and purpose, leading me to “salvation,” when I let God be part of it, shedding the light of His word...

Monday, May 8, 2017

“’He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of / through the Father (διὰ τὸν Πατέρα), so he who eats me will live because of / through me (δι᾽ἐμέ). This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever.’ This he said in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum. Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, ‘This is a difficult (σκληρός) word; who can listen to it / hear it (ἀκούειν)?’” (Jn 6: 56-60)

“Many” of the disciples were speaking a different language, so to say, from the one Jesus was speaking, when it came to the concept of “living.” Our Lord is talking about “life” the way God meant it to be for us, as a shared thing, in communion w...

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life (τὸ φῶς τῆς ζωῆς).’” (Jn 8: 12)

What is “light”? In physical terms it is that which enables us to see. In theological terms it is God Himself, whose presence enables me to see things as they are, rather than how I wish or imagine them to be.

Let me not walk in darkness today, because I don’t have to. “God is the Lord and has revealed Himself to us.” (Ps 117: 27) Blessed is He Who comes, and blessed are we who receive Him, and choose to walk in His light and lightness.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” (Rom 6: 3-5)

His death and His resurrection. These things, which “happened” to one, specific Man, at a specific moment in history, “under Pontius Pilate,” – they “happened” also to me, when I participated in them, in baptism. So that I, too, “might walk in newness of life.”

I have that kind of potential, like an inextinguishable spark deep inside me. But I tend to forget this mysterious gift t...

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