Lent, Day 40 – What Jesus did on Saturday

(Holy Saturday) Read Matthew 27:57-66  I love Eastern Orthodox icons. Every Easter I project this icon called The Harrowing of Hades. (There are several variations with constant elements)  It portrays what Jesus accomplished in his death. Jesus is pictured standing over the broken doors of the place of death, fallen in a cross shape over the pit. […]

Transformation and Hope – learning from an icon

The transfiguration of the Christ, described in Mark 9, Luke 9 and Matthew 17, is depicted in this icon from the 16th cent. There is so much of the biblical story and so much powerful theology packed into it. An iconographic picture truly “worth a thousand words!” Many have asked about the meaning and use […]

‘Housekeeping’ as a spiritual discipline?

I actually enjoy some parts of “keeping” the house. I’ve always shared the tasks whether growing up, or in a house of guys or with my own family. (I have a running joke with a friend of mine who consistently stops by when I’m cleaning or vacuuming, troubled that I’m making him look bad!) Haven’t […]

Soul Medicine – Prescriptions from the Psalms

This week I re-read the 4th century letter of Athanasius of Alexandria written to a man named Marcellinus on the importance and use of the Psalms. It is often available as part of the his famous work, On the Incarnation. It should be in every Christian’s library.  The edition I have has an introduction by C.S. […]

Will we Suffer Well?

I preached on  Suffering Well last Sunday.  I later heard that upon hearing my sermon theme, my daughter whispered in my wife’s ear, “Wow, ‘Suffering Well‘ – –  Happy Mother’s Day!” Suffering is indeed part of the joy of Christian Discipleship. It is, as Luther said, a way we grow – along with the Scriptures and […]

So, Will All Be Saved in the End?

A follow-up to the teaching, Will All Be Saved in the End? in our Tough Questions Series.  I had the privilege at North Park University of speaking with Kallistos Ware, elderly Orthodox bishop and scholar from England. I had read his essay called, Dare We Hope for the Salvation of All? (I found it on the […]

Jesus pulled me up by the wrist

Holy Week and Easter Sunday were glorious times for our church. In the sermon Sunday, (available here) I used, as I have for many years, the icon of the Resurrection, originating in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Christ has smashed the gates of Hades (or death) and fashioned them as a bridge over the pit of […]

A Prayer to pray for 40 days (and beyond)

The “Lenten Prayer of Ephrem the Syrian” has become part of my regular prayer life. As I have done several times in the past – I “commend” it to you for your prayer (and repentance). The wording of the prayer is my latest version from much reading on the history of the prayer.  The commentary […]

Rediscovering (and un-stereotyping) LENT

This week is the beginning of Lent in the Western Churches. As a Christian and as a church, I believe there are many things, such as the Christian seasonal rhythms, that we need to rediscover or re-energize with true meaning. Sometimes this means some un-learning of old thinking. For example: Lent is NOT about ‘giving up’ […]