Planning for a 40 Day Party

May 2, 2021
Bright and Saving PASCHA
of our Lord Jesus Christ

Well, folks. It is here again. But this papa has had a lot less time than previous years to quietly contemplate the great mystery before us. But we Christians believe that all is part of God’s providence, so Glory to God for all things. I do have a good post written out, but I recognize with only 30 minutes left on the clock, I dare not wade too deeply into the waters of God’s extravagant love and our deep debt towards his unfathomable loving kindness. So instead, I will simply share a picture of our home shrine and wish you all…

Christ is risen! Χριστὸς ἀνέστη! Христос Воскресе!
Truly, Truly, He is risen!

Ivanhoe!

Dude! you have got to read this book, Ivanhoe! But first I have to ask you a question. Have you ever read a Great Illustrated Classic? Because if you haven’t, you have got to! I have read half of them. My favorite scene in it is when the bad guys are trying to escape their flaming castle. The only exit is blocked by the Black Knight, an insanely skilled fighter (they had already tasted his wrath).

The bad guy knight had to challenge him because he had no way out. His squire exclaimed, “Dude, it is like you are challenging the devil himself.!” Read this book and find out how the good guys prevail.

A Masterpiece of Repentance

Great & Holy Wednesday
Holy Week

In the thick of Holy Week now in the Orthodox Church. This always happens to me every year when we get to this moment. So many impressions. So many rich and deep spiritual conversations between my soul and the voice of the Church in the divine services. If those of you in my readership have never been to an Orthodox Church, NOW is the time. Between now and the celebration of Pascha this coming Sunday, you will experience the Lord’s suffering, death, and resurrection in a way you never thought possible.

This Wednesday’s service contains one of the most memorable characters of Holy Week, the woman Mary Magdalene, caught in many sins that broke open a very costly jar of ointment and anointed Jesus’ feet in an extreme act of repentance. The hymn that is sung to her at the end of the service is a masterpiece of repentance. Her deep humility and repentance provide a foil to the betrayal and hard-heartedness of Judas, but she also provides hope to those of us who by this point in Great Lent feel very far gone. Read these words of her hymn and feel drawn into her great story:

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Christianity Without the Cheese

Happy Easter to those on the Western calendar. Christ is Risen! Alleluia!

To those of us in the East, 4 more weeks til we party in the resurrection. But our friend Dallas Jenkins has given us a reason to celebrate early. FINALLY, media featuring the Son of God that is not overly sappy, obvious, moralistic, or preachy. Tonight in honor of Easter Sunday, Dallas gave us episode one of season Two of The Chosen. I recommend watching the whole first season and giving this brilliant man all the money you have saved up to donate to worthy evangelism! I cannot tell you how long I have waited for such understated, artistic loveliness. You will not be disappointed!

Reordering Our Disordered Desires

Forgiveness Sunday

At the beginning of another journey through Great Lent, I would like to offer this review of a book I recently finished. Please forgive and pray for me a sinner, and may our good God have mercy on us and forgive us all. Veliki Post!  Kali Tessarakosti!  Blessed Lenten journey to you all!

Never forget that when we are dealing with any pleasure in its healthy and normal and satisfying form, we are, in a sense, on the Enemy’s [God’s] ground. I know we have won many a soul through pleasure. All the same, it is His invention, not ours. He made the pleasures: all our research so far has not enabled us to produce one. All we can do is to encourage humans to take the pleasures which our Enemy has produced, at times, or in ways, or in degrees which He has forbidden. Hence we always try to work away from the natural condition of any pleasure to that in which it is least natural, least redolent of its Maker, and least pleasurable. An ever-increasing craving for an ever diminishing pleasure is the formula.”

C. S. Lewis’ demon Screwtape

A better description of our current culture’s infatuation with sex and the diminishing returns of unfettered promiscuity has never been so well put. And now with the publication of her most recent spiritual memoir, award-winning author Carolyn Weber describes how to reorder these disordered pleasures and loves in line with what St. Augustine called the City of God. In Sex and the City of God (SCG), Caro (as her close friends call her) provides a personal and powerful roadmap through a variety of sexual temptations including idolization of the beloved, casual hookups with friends, and one of the most devastating of all temptations, adultery. With a sharp wit and creative literary inspiration, this English professor narrates the details of her own love life and illumines all of her various relationships with the eternal truths of Scripture and the Holy Fathers.

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Making Firm the Foundations

For the prayers of parents make firm the foundations of houses.

Wedding Service of the Holy Orthodox Christian Church

This prayer best describes my feeling towards a man who gave me not only his daughter to wed but a firm foundation of prayer and life in the Church. This picture from our wedding contains my father, my father-in-law (that most antiseptic of English terms for relations), and me embracing in a “cord of three strands that cannot easily be broken.” And now that one of us lives on the other side of this vale of tears, I proclaim with the Divine Apostle that the cord remains unbroken.

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Nancy’s New Playhouse

I am Nancy, and this is my friend Bree. My grandpa and my dad are going to make a new playhouse and I am very excited because I am planning a party to celebrate.

“Oh no!” I say, “Here comes Grace!”

“I have a playhouse too,” she says. “And my playhouse is much better than yours.” Then she went away on her bike.                    

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The Madalorian

The Mandalorian is a TV show about a mysterious bounty hunter that wears a helmet and swore an oath never to take it off in front of anyone. He was born is a small village, and when he was five, the village was attacked by an army of super battle droids that killed his parents. He was saved by a group of Mandalorian that took him in as one of their own. When he started as a bounty hunter, he would hunt robbers and earn money. But then he found something more important in life…

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