an abstraction does not need a Mother

In her very person as a Jewish girl become the mother of the Messiah, Mary binds together, in a living and indissoluble way, the old and the new People of God, Israel and Christianity, synagogue and church. She is, as it were, the connecting link without which the Faith (as is happening today) runs theContinue reading “an abstraction does not need a Mother”

the Tree of Life blossoms forth from the virgin in the cave

Our homily in church this morning was on Jesus Christ as the tree of life as it is given back to us at Christmas. This idea that Jesus is the tree of life is among the most prominent images from the church’s oldest Nativity hymns and prayers. Here is one example: Prepare, O Bethlehem, ForContinue reading “the Tree of Life blossoms forth from the virgin in the cave”

she will carry to her rambling race that bright and living fire

God’s Mother was born today, the first of the twelve great feasts in the church year. These poor thoughts rattled around in my mind over the last few days, so I set them down. Those familiar with the feasts connected to Mary’s life will see that my words are just clumsy responses to three ofContinue reading “she will carry to her rambling race that bright and living fire”

The Virgin today accompanies the Child in His first offering to the Father

Select hymns and prayers from the Antiochian Church’s Festal Orthros on the Presentation of Our Lord Jesus Christ (February 2) From the Kathismata of the Presentation: Let the ranks of angels be astonished with wonder, and let us raise our voices in praise, as we behold the ineffable condescension, the condescension of God; for HeContinue reading “The Virgin today accompanies the Child in His first offering to the Father”

Orthodox Positions on Sin within the Life of Mary the Mother of God

This is a topic that I’ve read about over several years now (primarily online, not having come across it much within books), and I have wanted to collect together a few comments from various online sources into one place for myself as a simple reference in conversations (particularly when I am asked about this topicContinue reading “Orthodox Positions on Sin within the Life of Mary the Mother of God”

He remains in the very thick of it

From Scott Cairns’ book The End of Suffering: Well, the story goes that He has descended into the very thick of it. The story goes that He remains in the very thick of it. In mystical synergia, He collaborates with His Body, now and ever. In appalling condescension, He remains Emmanuel, God with us. WhereasContinue reading “He remains in the very thick of it”

Reflections on Mary and God’s Family this Nativity

Mary is prominent for all Christians during the Nativity season, and she is particularly on my mind this year as my family and I have all just entered the Orthodox church. Raised in a deeply loving and devout Presbyterian home, I have come to believe that the Protestant and Evangelical churches (as well as RomanContinue reading “Reflections on Mary and God’s Family this Nativity”

but the men that drink the blood of God go singing to their shame

Their gods were sadder than the sea, Gods of a wandering will, Who cried for blood like beasts at night, Sadly, from hill to hill. “…The men of the East may spell the stars, And times and triumphs mark, But the men signed of the cross of Christ Go gaily in the dark.” “The menContinue reading “but the men that drink the blood of God go singing to their shame”

the thing I bear is a lesser thing

“…Come not to me, King Alfred, Save always for the ale: Why should my harmless hinds be slain Because the chiefs cry once again, As in all fights, that we shall gain, And in all fights we fail?” “Your scalds still thunder and prophesy That crown that never comes; Friend, I will watch the certainContinue reading “the thing I bear is a lesser thing”