Dear Readers, Sorry I have been away for so long. I usually try to post at least one thing a month. Having an older family makes us all very busy.
Glad to say I saw the new Top Gun film in the theatre yesterday. Cannot say it will appeal to all audiences, but it brought this GenXer many nostalgic moments and some surprisingly fresh content. Only criticism I might level is that the soundtrack was slightly better in the original, although this reboot develops the characters much better. The producer and company was correct to save this blockbuster originally slated for 2020 for a post-pandemic release. It is truly something worth seeing on the big screen. The audience we saw it with last night gave a slight applause at the end which I have rarely heard from an American audience.
Christ is risen! Χριστὸς ἀνέστη! Христос Воскресе! Truly, Truly, He is risen!
Who can contain this good news? The Lord of heaven, who lately was held fast in the grave is no longer there. He is risen! And with his arising, we too have eternal life.
Take a moment out of your day today and listen to this irrepressible good news with one of the brightest melodies of paschal joy, the Georgian (the country, not the state) version of the Resurrection theme song. And tell me after listening that you still don’t believe it. FOR CHRIST IS RISEN!!!
Op-Ed:Jewish Man Dies Penniless in Jerusalem, Messianic Claims Die with Him
He was born in a small town stable with barely a place to lay his head almost 33 years ago. Apprenticed to his father, a carpenter, he developed a reputation later in life as a teacher of the law and healer. Far from the important centers of commerce, trade, and education, he gathered a following of disciples mostly from the working class in the backwater region of Galilee. Many believed him to be the promised Messiah foretold of old by the prophets, but don’t messiahs come with more exalted pedigrees?
Forbid it Lord that I should boast, save in the death of Christ my God. All the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to His blood.
When i survey the wondrous cross by isaac watts
The hymn writer’s meditation on the cross of the Lord has always made a profound impact on my personal devotion. I was reminded of this verse this morning as we chanted the Royal Hours at the foot of the cross in Church. Watts’ verse is based on the epistle read at the first hour, St. Paul’s letter to the Galatians, “But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me and I to the world.”
There was a time in my life when I viewed the Eucharist as just a symbol. What really mattered was a person’s confession of faith. And this confession was way too often scrutinized and judged insufficient by those of us who felt we were in the know. But the Lord’s salvation is not like this. And the first time I heard this beautiful prayer from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, my heart was smitten by God’s abundant mercy:
Dear Readers, I came across this lovely portrayal of an Orthodox Holy Week from the associate priest of our parish who grew up in an Orthodox Christian country. I always say that we converts (those who became Orthodox as adults) can learn so much from those who knew it from their very cradle, for to them the faith is as natural as breathing air. This kind of simple innocence shines through in father’s words below. And if you have never been to any Orthodox services, behold NOW is the time, while Divine Services last until this Sunday when we celebrate the Feasts of all Feasts, Great and Holy Pascha!
Having prepared through weeks of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving, we are now approaching the “feast of feasts and the holy day of holy days.” But before we can arrive at that sacred day of Pascha, we first must traverse the Church’s Great & Holy Week, where there will be more services than usual, sometimes both in the morning and in the evening. That means more opportunities to emerge from our daily jobs, homes, and chores and into the Church – not unlike the way in which the ancient monastics would return to their monasteries after spending the entirety of Great Lent in the wilderness.
For those of you in my faithful readership who have yet to experience an Orthodox Christian Holy Week, now is your chance. At an Orthodox parish near you,begins a week of services next week unlike any you have experienced anywhere else on the planet. If you are local to Boston, you are cordially invited to attend all of the services our parish offers. If you can only do one, come to either Saturday morning Liturgy or late Saturday night, early Sunday morning for the Feast of Feasts, GREAT AND HOLY PASCHA.
Am reading a fantastic book for Lent by a woman who serves in ministry in the Anglican Church in their home parish in Pittsburgh, PA. She is another C.S. Lewis in her ability to take complex spiritual experiences and capture them with poignant and contemporary images. Her personal honesty and vulnerability make the work eminently readable and relatable. Tish Harrison Warren is author of Prayer in the Night: For Those Who Work or Watch or Weep. It is half spiritual memoir (my favorite genre of writing at this time of my life) and half prayer manual. The structure is based on the Compline service in the Book of Common Prayer, a service the author has grown particularly drawn to and even dependent upon.
Dear students, faculty, and staff of Boston Trinity Academy, it is a great honor for me to be with you today. I was asked to deliver a presentation entitled “Introduction to Orthodoxy” and I have dressed as fully as I could for the occasion. Inner cassock, outer wide-sleeved cassock, and the funny hat. There are two reasons I dressed like this. The first reason is for you to see what an Orthodox priest looks like and not be too scared next time you see one. The second reason is that people often mistake this look and the outward cultural elements of Orthodoxy for its essence. Several communities here in the United States, such as the Lebanese, the Russians, and the Greeks, use Orthodoxy as a banner under which they unite to project their cultural heritage and distinctiveness. Some think Orthodoxy is about the glory of Hagia Sophia, the iconic cathedral of Constantinople, modern-day Istanbul. Or they think it’s about long robes, beards, intimidating monks, and Byzantine Chant. Some believe Orthodoxy is an ethnic religion. “Are you a Greek priest?,” they often ask me. “When is Greek Easter this year?” “Can I come to your church if I am not Greek or Russian?” More tragically, Orthodox nations sometimes exploit their religious heritage to promote political agendas and even wage war on neighboring countries. OK, I’ll take off the funny hat now, so it doesn’t mess my hair!
God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.
The Four Spiritual Laws
Thus begins a classic tract of a witnessing Christian Church in which I was raised. A tract is a small pamphlet for people in a hurry to remind them in their busyness of their eternal destiny and worth in the eyes of Almighty God. I saw a movie tonight that epitomizes this message through the narrative of an unlikely football hero, a washed up old timer who missed his one chance to play pro only to claw, scrape and grind his way back into the contest.American Underdog about the story of St. Louis Ram’s quarterback Kurt Warner will leave you overcome with hope.