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.”
I was asked to play Santa Claus today for our Parish School but not the legendary one that poses for pictures at shopping malls and lives at the North Pole. I was asked to play the real one that lived and reposed in the 4th century, worked and continues to work wonders, and is loved the world over as Saint Nicholas of Myra in Lycia. Trying to live like a Saint is hard enough; imagine trying to play one live. The task was daunting but there is a way to study for the part.
Moscow is principally for us a place to gather as many friends and family as we can muster at any given time, and since the observed holiday for Victory Day is tomorrow (Monday), the Sunday gathering at our apartment is more than usually crowded. My American friend and his family come over with fried chicken wings and garlic bread, while my wife’s local cousins bring their children for a sleepover. It is a grand occasion of East meets West with overlapping conversations in Russian and English. But the capital part of the evening after all the eating and customary toasting is the after dinner tea. It is the most vital symbol of the seemingly endless conversation that ensues. Continue reading →
As Bilbo the Hobbit is known to say, “Dangerous thing leaving your front door. You never know what adventure might await you.” I have always loved this combination of the momentous with the ordinary, of a risky adventure with something as commonplace as closing the front door.
The Russian definition of adventure is very different from the American one. When our cousin invited me for a walk through the forest to see a waterfall, I knew my American visions of well-traveled paths, safe overlooks, and points of easy return were all illusions. It was more like a bush-wack than a stroll. What made it more difficult is the very steep landscape in this mountainous, seaside region. Continue reading →
In America, we like to start and end our events “on time”, and whenever things don’t strictly correspond to the clock, guests and hosts alike can get pretty disturbed. In Russia and especially here in Sochi, we follow a different kind of clock and feast in a very different way.
Today is Sunday, the day of the Lord’s resurrection, which is by default always a feast day. After going to morning Liturgy, we return to our aunt’s home to a table laden with delights befitting the day, but as I posted earlier the point is not the delicious food, but the company gathered, which for Sochi allows the largest amount of family not only to gather for a single meal but to live for a while in close proximity to one another.