Learning from Rest

Of the making of books there is no end and much study wearies the body.

Ecclesiastes 12:12

Another calm before the fall storm. My brilliant wife suggests squeezing at least one last trip to the beach in before the crazy fall schedule prohibits us. We go with the three youngest children and our baboushka (“little grandma” in Russian) to Old Silver Beach on Cape Cod, one of the few west facing beaches just over 1.5 hours from Boston. It’s like our back-to-school beach, as it works well to drive here on a mid-afternoon and stay until sundown. A last minute surplus from our local food pantry leaves us well supplied with road food and a picnic supper.

Continue reading

Becoming a Fool for Christ

8th Sunday after Pentecost

1 Corinthians 1:10-18
Matthew 14:14-22

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Glory to Jesus Christ, glory forever. Saint Basil’s Cathedral which sits on the southern edge of Moscow’s Red Square has stood for almost five centuries as the symbol of all of Russia. With its 11 smaller chapels all united under a network of colorful iconic domes, it is a testimony to the protection of God over this ancient land and victory over the enemies of his peaceful Kingdom. The natural question asked by most visitors to this grand temple has a surprising answer. Who was St. Basil? After which great saintly monarch, patriarch, or general is this grand symbol of Russia named?

Continue reading

Camping with Free Range Children

Want to recommend the practice of camping out there to all of you with family looking for an inexpensive vacation. Throughout this summer, we have had the good fortune to tent and cabin up at two of our favorite sites in Massachusetts, Lake Dennison in Winchendon and Camp Denison in Georgetown, MA. One of our friends has extolled the experience of camping with kids, especially kids who usually live confined in the city, as allowing them to roam freely, like free range chickens. While camping has many challenges, this overall experience really makes it all worth it. Here are some of the best pictures from our recent outings.

Continue reading

The Cape’s Relaxing Magic

Made it to the Cape after my older three went ahead a day early with their uncle and a family friend. They were very happy to see me come along with my van full of bikes, groceries, and fun-in-the sun implements. Timing is perfect as temperatures in Boston soared to an unseasonable 90 degrees, leaving the Cape and the Islands hovering around the high 70s and low 80s: I call it Southern California weather.

Continue reading

The Deliciousness of Redemption

When I was a boy, my heroes were Christian missionaries who journeyed to primitive tribes in remote places on the globe, learned the language and culture of the locals, created an alphabet for that tribe, then translated the Scriptures into that newly discovered language. I thought perhaps someday God might call me to such a work, so I studied classical languages as a basis for all untranslated tongues. Though I never became a missionary of this type, the work of translating and communicating the Gospel to an unreached people continues to interest me.

Continue reading

A Surprise from God

There was a time in my life when I was a clueless Protestant convert to the Holy Orthodox Church. Every weekend, as a bachelor, I headed to a monastery that bore the name of a despised Greek Orthodox Metropolitan that became a saint after his death and is loved the world over by the common people. This saint taught me so much in the brief time that I knew him that I labeled my automobile, the St. Nektarios Taxi Service. Every weekend I was bringing pilgrims to this monastery that bore his name. Tonight, I saw an online screening of a new movie about his life as part of the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival. It was every bit of what I remember from my bachelorhood encounters with this saint who is the champion of the common man.

Continue reading

Resurrection Healing

4th Sunday of Pascha of the Paralytic

Acts 9:32-42
John 5:1-15

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Christ is risen! Truly he is risen! The Pascal Canon declares “This is the chosen and holy day, the first of Sabbaths, King and Lord of days, the Feasts of feasts, Holy Day of holy days on this day we bless Christ forever more.”

And on this Sunday of the never-ending day of the resurrection we remember a man who seemed to possess never-ending suffering. The paralytic in today’s Gospel had been by the pool of Bethesda for 38 years. Yet he does not waver in his desire and perseverance to be healed, even when as he confesses that he has no man to help him into the healing pool. The question put to him by the Lord is quite striking and may even sound offensive to some of us, “Do you want to be healed?”

Continue reading

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:

Continue reading