Live in Church!

rsz_the-raising-of-lazarus-2069644_1280Lazarus Saturday, 2017

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 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.

Worse case scenario, if you are unable to appear hypostatically (in person), you can at least listen to a youtube channel created that has much of the key music or the ever-mellifluous Ancient Faith Radio. WARNING: Once you have gone to one service, you won’t be able to stop, so clear your schedule for God because He deserves your praise more than baseball games, concerts, or that addicting TV series. Let the divine drama begin!

Fixing Our Hearts on True Worship

liberale-da-verona-monks-singingAlmighty God, you alone can bring into order the unruly wills and affections of sinners: Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise; that, among the swift and varied changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.  

Collect from Fifth Sunday of Lent, Anglican Book of Common Prayer

I could not believe my ears. When I had just begun college, my Pastor at the time was telling me that the music I then desired, the tunes which were my life blood would very soon grow old and seem trite to me. In other words, I was made for something more refined, more subtle, and significantly deeper in both content and form.

Up to that point in my life, I argued vehemently that the Gospel content could be and should be inserted into a variety of contemporary forms and that these forms had little to no impact on the essential message. This Pastor contended otherwise, that medium and message were not only inseparable but mutually co-inherent. Continue reading

A Not So White Winter

Our whole family loves winter. It is a season of fun. I like winter when it is snowing. I fly outside into a blanket of white. This winter [of 2016-2017] we did not have much snow except one pretty big blizzard. The blizzards’ snow was so deep and fluffy and so fun to play with that we stayed outside for a whole two hours! You could make snow houses, snow men, or slide down on hills. The rest of the days of this winter were much warmer. So the snow melted fast.

My Debt of Love

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.      — Romans 13:8

February 26, 2017
Cheesefare & Forgiveness Sunday

seasonally_inspired_7-course_french_style_dinner_with_live_maine_lobster_and_prime_tenderloin_of_beef_main_entreesOn this Forgiveness Sunday, the beginning of Great Lent in the Orthodox Church, with our Western brothers and sisters beginning Lent this coming Wednesday, I need to beg forgiveness for a debt I will never be able to repay. It is a debt of love I owe especially to the Episcopal (Anglican) Church for midwifing me into the Orthodox Church over 25 years ago.

When I was a Christian in College without a church to call home, the local Episcopal church took me in. While the richness of the Orthodox Church stunned me into silence and kept me at an awkward distance, the local Anglican priest shared hymns and church customs that were more familiar. In the presence of an Orthodox Liturgy, I felt like a bum dragged off the street and set before a seven course French meal; Continue reading

Boys and Blizzards

61teuikzunlThe blizzard today in New England gave our own family the chance to read one of our favorite picture books by John Rocco. Blizzard tells the story from the author’s childhood  in 1978 Rhode Island when snow was so high that his family could not leave their front door or even shop for food at the local store. Little Johnny, according to the book, had been reading a survival book that informed him how to strap on tennis rackets to his feet and wax down his wooden sled runners to command 4 feet worth of snow without sinking through it. Continue reading

Reveling in Russia and Zigzagging through Zurich

russia-03_3298060bOur family flew to Moscow, Russia recently in 2015. We journeyed there in order to meet our aunts, uncles, friends and family. For a month, we rode the subway, peered at old monuments, and celebrated the 70th anniversary of Victory Day, the day when the Allies won World War II. Our family’s visit to Russia will always be memorable. Continue reading

Remembering Pastor Jim

0b0ef12A good and godly spiritual father of mine passed this morning. The thoughts and good wishes of so many of his spiritual children have been flooding the internet already, and I wish to add my remembrances to the growing chorus.

My parents and I met Pastor James M. Riccitelli at a moment of deep spiritual crisis, when the church that we had been attending gave my parents an ultimatum that drove them out of the fellowship. It was unfortunately not a new experience for us. I was in college at the time, and by then, my family and I had been a part of not less than 10 different churches. But this loss felt different than the others. I remember that I had a key to this church because I had become a member of her, not merely adhering to my parent’s wishes. When it was clear that we were not going to be able to go back, I looked with weariness toward the next fellowship of believers in Christ. What would they be like? Would we be welcome with all our brokenness and failed dreams?

Continue reading