Healing the Trauma of Sin

Love this post about the importance of healing from the trauma of sin written by my boss. It is a very Orthodox reflection emphasizing sin’s destructiveness to God’s likeness within us; how it isn’t just about disobeying the rules. Very good for Lent!

Trinity Newton Homilies

Sermon for Sunday, March 9, 2014; First Sunday in Lent
Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7Romans 5:12-19Matthew 4:1-11Psalm 32
Listen here online:

This morning I’m not going to talk so much about sin as I am going to talk about talking about sin.   So often, sin is something we don’t talk about – at least not much – which is a loss because the “grammar” and “vocabulary” surrounding sin contain great capacity for healing.

But I don’t want to begin there.  First, I want to go back to November 11, last Veterans’ Day.  Last Veterans’ Day, NPR told the stories of several different veterans from several different wars.  Though all the stories moved me, the one that touched me most was the story of Coast Guard veteran Joe Williams, who was part of “Operation Tiger,” a dress rehearsal off the coast of England for the Normandy…

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The Reluctant Orthodox – Volume 12 “By the Waters of the Maumee, We Sat Down and Wept”

Quite honored to be featured on Marilyn’s blog. Hope you all will be strengthened by the account. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year.

MARILYN R. GARDNER

In my faith journey this past year, I’ve discovered some people who have walked the road before me and can offer wisdom, challenge, and comfort when I need them most. Aaron Friar is one of those people. He comes from a protestant background, has attended many churches in the past, and has a deep and abiding respect for the traditions of his past even as he is fully a part of the Orthodox church today. Today his post gives me joy and encouragement as I move into the ever-new (for me) yet ancient traditions of the Eastern Orthodox faith. You can read more about Aaron at the end of the post.

By the Waters of the Maumee, We Sat Down and Wept

Marilyn’s series on the Reluctant Orthodox has spurred me to share a bit of my own faith journey. I offer this in tribute to her present struggle to discover…

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What a Prayer Book is For

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Reader’s Stand on Crete

I had the distinct privilege and honor to chant the vigil tonight at my home parish, and as I was singing the hymns of preparation for the weekly celebration of the resurrection on Sunday, I was reminded of a post that has been brewing for a while in my heart. Our eccelsiarch (head chanter who arranges the service schedule) recently redid one of our key service books which was in sore need of repair. He painstakingly removed the well-loved pages of a prayer book published in 1988 and inserted them, one by one, into sheet protectors and a three ring binder that now consolidates two service books into one. Seeing the highly used pages reinvigorated with new life reminded me of a time long ago when my opinionated self learned a lesson about the true purpose of a prayer book… Continue reading

Each Hearing in His Own Native Tongue

August 6, Repose of John Mason Neale (1818-1866)

The miracle of Pentecost is one which I think we take for granted in this age of google translate. That each of those diverse peoples present at the coming of the Divine Spirit could hear the good news proclaimed in his own native language is not only astonishing, but a source of great comfort.

In our own time and historical circumstance, we can be grateful for many reliable and storied translations of the Scriptures in our mother tongue of English. Indeed the King James Bible, for example, which recently celebrated its 400th anniversary, is not only a reliable translation of the original text but an inspiration for countless works of English literature.

So much is well and good for the Scriptures in English. But what of other important modes for divine communion? What of the Divine Services, especially the ancient Liturgies of St. John Chrysostom and St. Basil the Great which form the setting for the jewel of the Scriptures in the Eastern Orthodox Church? For us Orthodox Christians in English-speaking countries, we have the Anglicans of the nineteenth century to thank, especially the Rev. John Mason Neale. Continue reading

A Church that Sings

DSCF0160Great and Holy Friday, 2013

One of the struggles I had when I first became Orthodox was discovering within the Church a tradition of congregational singing not unlike what I grew up with in the Protestant Church. What one often finds in a typical Orthodox Church either here or abroad is that the entire service is sung by a choir, either amateur or professional, that performs pieces from a place removed, either in a choir loft or off to the side. The unconscious message this sends, especially if they are singing from the loft, is that the rest of the people in the nave are off the hook, and that their work consists merely of silent prayer in their respective place. Continue reading

Hasten to the Tomb!

I had been planning it all week, but like all difficult things, when the time came to actually carry it out, I was lingering in the throes of early morning drowsiness. I have been trying for years to attend the Western Easter Vigil Service that I format every year for the parish where I am employed as an administrator. But for the last several years, the Eastern and the Western calendars have been in sync, and I would never miss a drop of Orthodox Holy Week, especially as I usually lead the service on the morning of Great and Holy Saturday.

But this year I had my opportunity, and I determined to seize it. Continue reading

Edible Ecumenical Dialogue

Three King’s Bread

I have always loved this time of year between the two Christmases (New Style and Old Style) which falls for West during the twelve days of Christmas right before Epiphany on January 6. Unlike those in America who might feel that the lights have all been extinguished and it is time to go back to business as usual, I feel like the party is just getting started and not only for the Orthodox Christians who might be known for their extensive pre- and post-festive extravaganzas.

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Celebrating an Orthodox Advent

I’ve been sitting on this post idea for a while, waiting for time that I could hole away, make my usual draft on paper, and then come to the computer for the final version. But this time of the year conspires to rob every available moment for preparations both real and imagined.

I have blogged before about redeeming the time and finding the reason for any season. Now that we are upon what Christians consider one of the holiest seasons of all, the preparation for the birth of the Savior of the world into our frail human flesh, it is a good time to take at least a few moments to reflect, lest the rush of our many to-do lists keep us from the one thing needful. Continue reading