Worship and the Arts -or- “Beauty will save the world”

The God we worship glories in beauty! And how we live and worship should rightly reflect this. I recently had the joy of preaching on Worship and the Arts (linked here). In it I reference several important Biblical texts and statements on the importance of Beauty. Many of these are contained in the following essay […]

Mary’s Magnificat: Soundtrack for a Revolution

The “songs” of Luke’s Gospel are many and amazing. Zachariah, Simeon, the Angels’ Gloria, and of course Mary’s Magnificat! They are sung throughout the year: morning, evening, and late nite by Christians all around the world. In preaching on the Magnificat, I borrowed this title: “Soundtrack for a Revolution” from a documentary on the “Freedom Songs” […]

Annunciation, some further thoughts in art and poetry

The arts help us slow down, and like Mary, “ponder these things” in our hearts. Above is a famous Western painting, along with an Eastern icon. Below are two poems from two of my favorite poets, Denise Levertov and Scott Cairns.   Annunciation, by Denise Levertov ‘Hail, space for the uncontained God’ (From the Agathistos Hymn, Greece, […]

Possessing the Peace of Christ

“Acquire the Spirit of Peace and thousands around you will be saved.” (Seraphim of Sarov, Russia, 18th cent.) Our sermon series in Advent at Christ Church is called: Give Them Jesus. We are teaching the themes of HOPE, PEACE, JOY, and LOVE through Scripture, art, and personal stories. The series. None of these four virtues are dependent […]

Poetry Monday – Ephrem the Syrian on Christ’s Nativity

Ephrem the Syrian, known as the ‘Harp of the Holy Spirit’ is described as ‘the greatest poet of the patristic age and perhaps the only theologian-poet to rank beside Dante.’ Ephrem was not only a well-known figure in the Syriac-speaking world but also was well known in the Greek East and the Latin West. I […]

Give Them Jesus!

Christ is come to save the people Whom He has created and whom He loves. Eastern Hymn for the Sunday before the Nativity Martin Luther, the Reformer, strongly challenged the church of his day (16th Century) over unbiblical practices like indulgences, that were drastically clouding over the Good News. It’s  recorded that Luther’s spiritual father […]

Adam and Christmas Eve

The Story of God and Man begins with the creation of Adam – the first icon, made in the image and likeness of God. Though designed to walk with God and rule the earth with him, Adam (whose name means ‘humanity’) falls and God immediately begins the great cracked-icon-restoration project with the promise of the […]

Christmas Eve Preparation – an early Christian ‘sermon hymn’ on the Nativity

If you want a deeply spiritual treat this Christmas season, let me urge you to listen to or read one of the best loved ‘hymns’ of Eastern Church music called the Kontakion of the Nativity.  listen to Frederica Mathewes-Green reading the full Kontakion with background music. The written version can be downloaded and read. This […]

The Picture Comes Alive

This Holy Week – Thursday and Friday at Christ Church, the building was transformed into a series of Tableaus or still and dramatic scenes.  The tableau pictured here is Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Below are words I wrote for the program. It seeks to capture the Spirit’s many colored gifts at work in […]

Listen to a 4th Century Nativity Hymn

If you want a deeply spiritual treat this Christmas season, listen to Frederica Mathewes-Green reading the Kontakion of the Nativity here. I have listened to this many times and referenced some of the verses at Christ Church. The written version can be downloaded in pdf form here.  It is in dialog form involving Mary and […]