They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers ... And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts ..." (Acts 2:42-47)
God does not call us out of chaos. He calls to us from within the chaos. A raging tempest, howling demoniacs, stampeding pigs, and indignant mobs — our gospel reading is anything but calm and balmy. One storm follows another, and right there in the storm, who do we find — Jesus Christ. Christianity does not offer a life without storms. It offers us a focus in the storm. “When he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in t
“Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my soul shall be healed.” Do we believe genuinely that we need Jesus’ healing? You lie down at the dentist office, shut your eyes, and there it is…muzak…brainless, sentimental, background music. It follows you nowadays in retail stores, elevators, and just about everywhere. If we are honest, sometimes the Church sermons and prayers become like religious muzak — a soundtrack consoling t
“His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you’” (John 2:5). It really is this simple. Do what God wants. I have read the story of the wedding of Cana hundreds of times over, but I have never noticed this little passage. So much is happening: the wedding guests, the water jars, the miraculous wine. In all the stir, we lose this simple message. Behind Jesus Christ’s first miracle is a mother’s quiet advice: “Do whatever he tells you.” There was once an old shepher
“Arise, shine, O Jerusalem: for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee” (Isaiah 60:1-3). Darkness will spread; the Lord will arise. Few verses portray so strikingly the paradox of our Lord’s coming. Epiphany is saturated in paradox. Darkness, death, and sorrow occur at every instance. Yet, in that darkness, God’s redemption is piercing.
“The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe” (Proverbs 18:10). Looming high above the shores, the monasteries at Mount Athos are built as impenetrable fortresses. Faced with the threat of marauders and pirates for centuries, the monks found safety behind massive stone walls. Today, we are also assailed by constant threats, though of a more subtle kind: turn on the news, you have fear and anger; do an internet search, you have consumeris