Take Up and Read

Take Up and Read

Perhaps one of the most memorable verses in the New Testament comes from the Prologue of St. John’s Gospel, “ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν, καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος.” (“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was...

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Welcoming the Light: Letting Jesus Get Close

Welcoming the Light: Letting Jesus Get Close

The internationally known journalist, cultural critic, and scholar of the English language, H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) of Baltimore—who was also an atheist—regarded the ninth chapter of St. John’s Gospel as the best crafted short story in all of world literature. It is this chapter (read: John 9:1-38) that forms the...

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Meeting Christ: An Encounter She Would Never Forget

Meeting Christ: An Encounter She Would Never Forget

Continuing the post-Paschal themes of healing, transformation and belief in the risen Christ, this Sunday we visit John 4:5-42, wherein we hear of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman (St. Photini) at the well. In this passage, Jesus talks more to this one woman than in any other individual conversation...

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The Paralytic: Hoping, Healing, and Heralding

The Paralytic: Hoping, Healing, and Heralding

On the third Sunday after Holy Pascha, we hear the story of Jesus healing the Paralytic at Bethsaida (John 5:1-15). This passage is taken from what Biblical scholars have designated as “The Book of Signs,” i.e. John 1:19 through John 12. It precedes “The Book of Glory,” which deals with...

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The Women Were the First Heralds

The Women Were the First Heralds

Since the New Testament and throughout subsequent generations of believers, “Christ is Risen!” has been at the heart of the Christian proclamation (κῆρυγμα). It is how Orthodox Christians greet one another during Paschal season. Of all the written testimony about Jesus’ life, in the four Holy Gospels, His death and...

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A Second Chance Through the Resurrection

A Second Chance Through the Resurrection

As we remember the days of Christ’s final ordeal, the Church feels an oppressive silence at the death of her Lord, a silence that penetrates to the depths of the heart of every disciple—then and now—who stand wordless before the Cross. It is the silence after an execution, when everyone...

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Christ and a Case of Mistaken Identity

Christ and a Case of Mistaken Identity

This weekend, the Church moves into Great and Holy Week, culminating in the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. On Palm Sunday we cry out in praise of the Lord, but by the end of the week events will leave the bitter and sorrowful taste of the Passion. This week...

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The Secret is in the Climbing

The Secret is in the Climbing

His name was John (AD 579 – 649). A seventh century monk and eventually the Abbot of the Holy Monastery of St. Catherine at the base of Mt. Sinai, he came to be known in history as John of the Ladder (Κλιμακος), and he left Christendom with a text that...

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Carrying the Cross: How Much Does It Cost You?

Carrying the Cross: How Much Does It Cost You?

One of the most difficult things for human persons to face is rejection. Think of a time in your life when you felt rejected. Think of the feelings you had—sadness, betrayal, alienation and aloneness, and, for even a moment, a bitter lack of love and confidence in oneself. Rejection strikes...

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The Gift of Iconography: How Beauty Will Save the World

The Gift of Iconography: How Beauty Will Save the World

In one of his most famous novels, The Idiot, the writer Fyodor Dostoevsky has the hero of the work, Prince Mishkin, tell the depressed and cynical character Hippolite, “Beauty will save the world.” Prince Mishkin, who, like Dostoevsky, had epilepsy, is a sort of Christ-figure who represents the values Dostoevsky...

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The Hardest Forgiveness to Give

The Hardest Forgiveness to Give

Sunday is the Sunday of Forgiveness, the last day before Great Lent begins. Forgiveness is not a difficult concept to understand—we offend another, we ask for forgiveness, someone offends or hurts us, we are called by Jesus to forgive. Forgiveness is dialogical, involving two persons, as the theologian Martin Buber...

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Loving Others: Be Ye Doers of the Word

Loving Others: Be Ye Doers of the Word

In his poem “The Second Coming,” the Irish poet William Butler Yeats describes the post-World War I atmosphere in 1919. His first stanza is not only gripping, it speaks of so much of what we have seen during the past year. “Turning and turning in the widening gyre, the falcon...

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