Thou hast broken open the all-devouring belly of Hell and snatched me out

Here are a few of the many hymns from last night with the start of Lazarus Saturday. Toward the end, several of them break into the voice of Lazarus himself or of Hell itself. Calling Lazarus from the tomb, immediately Thou hast raised him; but Hell below lamented bitterly, and groaning, trembled at Thy power,Continue reading “Thou hast broken open the all-devouring belly of Hell and snatched me out”

the direction in which their unmarred fulfillment must lie

J.R.R.Tolkien in his notes on “Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth.” Finrod, however, sees now that, as things were, no created thing or being in Arda, or in all Eä, was powerful enough to counteract or heal Evil: that is to subdue Melkor (in his present person, reduced though that was) and the Evil that he hadContinue reading “the direction in which their unmarred fulfillment must lie”

Where are these other things?

J.R.R.Tolkien in “Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth.” “But do you know that the Eldar say of Men that they look at no thing for itself; that if they study it, it is to discover something else; that if they love it, it is only (so it seems) because it reminds them of some other clearer thing?Continue reading “Where are these other things?”

Recovering the Millennia-Long Track Record of Praying with Icons in Christian Homes

Surviving the recent death of my mother after her five-year battle with cancer, my father (an ordained Presbyterian minister who works as a college literature professor) asked me for some simple suggestions regarding how to make use of icons in his home where he lives with my four youngest siblings. Two of these siblings areContinue reading “Recovering the Millennia-Long Track Record of Praying with Icons in Christian Homes”

to heal and to teach suffering men

Saint Athanasius is remembered today. Excerpts from On the Incarnation: The Lord did not come to make a display. He came to heal and to teach suffering men. For one who wanted to make a display, the thing would have been just to appear and dazzle the beholders. But for Him Who came to healContinue reading “to heal and to teach suffering men”

the continual sacralization of space

Alasdair John Milbank (born 23 October 1952) is a distinguished contemporary Anglican theologian. In a recent interview, he shared these thoughts about the church and incarnation: The Church is at once very very spiritual and very very concrete. The Church continues that sense of the Incarnation, and I mean that quite literally, that the churchContinue reading “the continual sacralization of space”

God—sheltered by humanity

Elizabeth After a lifetime outcast as childless, she gave home to one who should not have been with child. God—sheltered by humanity—first heard welcome from two women proclaiming over unborn children. Still questioned by her kin, speaking her child’s name, they called to confirm it with her silenced husband. Her boy “grew and became strongContinue reading “God—sheltered by humanity”

of anyone it is literally true that the whole world is her body

A human person requires a cosmos to sustain it: of anyone it is literally true that the whole world is her body, since the light of the sun, and the respiration of algae, are essential to her bodily survival. If there is a human person who is God, then the whole world, centered on thatContinue reading “of anyone it is literally true that the whole world is her body”

Honor all Matter and Venerate It

As modern Western people, our dichotomized categories and preconceived notions about body, soul, matter, and spirit are tragically inadequate to the task of engaging with the full mystery and beauty of reality. Ancient people understood reality in ways that we have lost the ability to understand: its full dimensionality, interiority, and microcosmic qualities. As aContinue reading “Honor all Matter and Venerate It”

we shall not cease from being deified

For if he has brought to completion his mystical work of becoming human, having become like us in every way save without sin (cf Heb 4: 15), and even descended into the lower regions of the earth where the tyranny of sin compelled humanity, then God will also completely fulfill the goal of his mysticalContinue reading “we shall not cease from being deified”