The 12 Days of Christmas

flierWorking up another Boston Byzantine Concert with Charlie Marge. This time, it is local to our nation’s capital in Washington, DC. Though our family is currently living in Syracuse, NY, we are still members of the Boston Byzantine Choir, attending practices by means of live streaming. I LOVE the 21st century, in which you can still play a part in a choir separated from you by hundreds of miles. Hey, if you are local to DC, come and see us in a few weeks for a program highlighting the 12 days of Christmas, Orthodox (byzantine) style. I promise all you theology nerds out there will NOT be disappointed. And for those who cannot drop everything and rush to Washington in the second weekend in December, there is Good News! We will be cutting almost everything we sing on a new CD to be released sometime in the next year in honor of the choir’s 25th anniversary. Stay tuned…

Sub-Culture Vs. Real Culture

Saturday, October 15/28, 2017
Mother of God Who Ripens the Grain

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

The English word culture is rooted in the Latin word cultura meaning agriculture, tillage, or husbandry. But the modern English word has drifted far from this association with the earth into realms of plastic fabrication and surrogate substitution. Many contemporary Christians, for instance, without an authentic culture to under-gird their worthy spiritual aspirations, have created a whole sub-culture which seeks simply to borrow popular forms it finds in the world and substitute Christian lyrics/content into them. Such a recycling of pop culture often results in entertainment that is cheap and inauthentic. Continue reading

Love the Enemy Within

Homily October 2/15, 2017
Ss. Cyprian & Justina

II Corinthians 11:31-12:9
Luke 6:31-36

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Christ is among us; He is and ever shall be. Beloved in the Lord,

Paul-Thorn-in-my-FleshIn this morning’s Epistle and Gospel, we are given two very difficult questions to ponder. What should we do with unanswered prayer and how do we love even our enemies? St. Paul raises the first question in his second letter to the Corinthians when he insists that three times he asked the Lord to remove a thorn in his flesh and after only the third time did he receive his answer. What are we to make of this heavenly reluctance to respond? How many of us have had similar unanswered prayer and have felt almost like giving up asking? Continue reading

To Be An Apostle

Sunday, September 4/17, 2017
15th Sunday After Pentecost

2 Corinthians 4:6-15
Matthew 22:35-46
Holy Prophet and God-seer Moses (1531 B.C.)

00-natalya-klimova-right-believing-grand-prince-st-vladimir-equal-to-the-apostles-enlightener-of-all-the-russias-2012

Enlightener & Equal-to-the-Apostles Great Prince Vladimir

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever. Beloved in the Lord, What does it take to be an apostle or a missionary? Among the great epithets that our mother church assigns to her saints, I admit that “Enlightener and Equal-to-the-Apostles” has to be one of my favorites. From the epistle this morning, St. Apostle Paul reveals a little of his inner psychology so that we can know a bit of what it takes. But I ask again, what could bring a human being to such a state as he describes? Continue reading

Love Your Local Library

For my yearly Back-to-School post, I would like to brag about our tradition of local libraries in America. Good strength to all in your September return to learning. God bless your studies in this new school year!

bangor-public-library-520b21653b418ebeJust moved to Syracuse, NY with the family, and one of our first official acts was finding the local library and obtaining a card for borrowing. My children who are of age all proudly sport their own card in their private wallet. I am determined they have this long before they ever have cards for spending money.

It is amazing to me that in all the national discussion about reforming education, no one ever seems to include the local libraries. All this talk about testing and standards, but no one includes the place where literacy is the most treasured and guarded gift. Continue reading

The Foolishness of Preaching

Preached my first sermon yesterday as a Deacon at Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church in Allston, MA. So pleased that the text for the day is the same one a friend of mine used to preach the best sermon I have ever heard. Memory eternal to Don Connors, preacher to the elderly and friend of lost souls.

Sunday, July 17/30, 2017
Eighth Sunday After Pentecost
1 Corinthians 1:10-18
Matthew 14:14-22

areopagusIn the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever. Beloved in the Lord,

You will not remember the words I preach to you today. You will not remember them any more than the senior citizens remembered these words from St. Paul when they were preached to them in a nursing home by a man who preached the best sermon I have ever heard. And what was his text? It was the same as it is for us this morning- the foolishness of preaching. For his question to that elderly audience is the same one I ask of you this morning. What good is it for me to stand here before you and preach a message that will so soon be forgotten? After all, as St. Paul says, “The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing…” and later in the same chapter of his first epistle to the Corinthians, he calls his own preaching foolishness. Continue reading

Glory to God for All Things

June19/July 2, 2017
St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco the Wonderworker

On this great feast day of America’s own saint, whose relics lie in the San Francisco Cathedral, I feel compelled again to bring the church into our home. I discover another divine service which is found online in both text and youtube, making it easy to pray along with the video. The Akathist Glory to God for All Things can be sung at any time for any reason, and I especially feel its message now as I plan departure from a city that has taken such good care of us these past several years. Wondrous is God in His Saints!