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After Great Lent

Last Sunday Orthodox Christians around the world finally celebrated Pascha and proclaimed Christ risen from the dead. As in Western Christendom, Orthodox Easter is preceded by Holy Week—the liturgical pinnacle of the Orthodox Church. In this week of preparation and commemoration, our services, . . . . Continue Reading »

Exposure Therapy and the Way of the Cross

This Holy Week, I am feeling the need to participate in some Catholic extremism.Now of course, we live in a time when religious extremism is a major threat to the world. That’s why I find it all the more distressing that so may Americans have a warped view of what constitutes extremism. The Barna . . . . Continue Reading »

Buy One, Not the Other

The Tre Ore, the “three hours,” is a Good Friday devotional exercise that marks the last hours of Christ on the cross. The service is marked by prayers, readings, and devotional examination of the Seven Words, the last words of Christ.Those words, those seven, are evocative. They raise questions . . . . Continue Reading »

Death on a Friday Afternoon

Exploration into God is exploration into darkness, into the heart of darkness. Yes, to be sure, God is light. He is the light by which all light is light. In the words of the Psalm, “In your light we see light.” Yet great mystics of the Christian tradition speak of the darkness in which the light is known, a darkness inextricably connected to the cross. At the heart of darkness the hope of the world is dying on a cross, and the longest stride of soul is to see in this a strange glory. In John’s Gospel, the cross is the bridge from the first Passover on the way out of Egypt to the new Passover into glory. In his first chapter he writes, “We have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.” The cross is not the eclipse of that glory but its shining forth, its epiphany. In John’s account, the death of Jesus is placed on the afternoon of the fourteenth day of the month of Nisan, precisely the time when the Passover lambs were offered up in the temple in Jerusalem. Lest anyone miss the point, John draws the parallel unmistakably. The legs of Jesus are not broken, the soldier pierces his side and John writes, “For these things took place that the scripture might be fulfilled, ‘Not a bone of him shall be broken.’ And again another scripture says, ‘They shall look on him whom they have pierced.’” In the book of Exodus, God commands that no bone of the paschal lamb is to be broken. Then there is this magnificent passage from the prophet Zechariah: “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of compassion and supplication, so that, when they look on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.” Continue Reading »

“Father, Forgive Them”

The first word from the cross: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. Christians call them the Triduum Sacru, the three most sacred days of the year, the three most sacred days of all time when time is truly told. Maundy Thursday, so called because that night before he was betrayed . . . . Continue Reading »

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