On Monasteries, Children, and Loving Our Enemies

Gunmen Kill at Least 28 Coptic Christians in Egypt The headline spares nothing, except that there were children. I numbly read the article describing the pilgrimage. The group was headed to St. Samuel Monastery for a pilgrimage when pick up trucks reportedly drove up to the busses and began firing automatic weapons. I read as … Continue reading On Monasteries, Children, and Loving Our Enemies

Holy Saturday 

Yesterday was Good Friday, a day when all of Christendom takes a moment to stop and pause at the memory of sacrificial love.  But what happens between Good Friday and Easter Sunday? What happens to us on the days between tragedy and healing? What transpires when the crisis is over, but the end is not … Continue reading Holy Saturday 

Lenten Journey: Palm Fronds and Hosannas

Palm fronds await us as we enter into our parish. It is Palm Sunday - that joyous day before Holy Week, where all of life makes sense as Jesus rides into Jerusalem, greeted by masses of people proclaiming him king. Unlike those crowds who gathered that day so long ago, we know what is coming. … Continue reading Lenten Journey: Palm Fronds and Hosannas

The Resilient Orthodox – Breathe in Holy

As I step into church, I breathe in pungent, sweet incense. I can see smoke rise in front of evening shadows on the wall. Fading light reflects off of gold and burgundy icons. I take a deep breath and I breathe in holy. I breathe it in, my whole being alive to incense and all that accompanies … Continue reading The Resilient Orthodox – Breathe in Holy

Pre-Paschal Reflections

It is ten pm on Saturday night. I sit on the couch in a darkened room. White lights peak through the window from the outside. We are the rare family that keeps Christmas lights up all year long, for who doesn't need more light in their life? All day there has been a sense of … Continue reading Pre-Paschal Reflections

The Resilient Orthodox – Healing a Hole in the Heart

When I was six years old in boarding school, we had prayer and devotions every night. We would pray for the teachers and the house parents; we would pray for our parents who lived far away and did important work; and every night we would pray for Esther Cutherell. I had never met Esther Cutherell, … Continue reading The Resilient Orthodox – Healing a Hole in the Heart

The Resilient Orthodox: We Come Needy

The morning light reflects off the gold of the icons and it is beautiful. The church is quiet, save footsteps walking up to venerate the icons. We are in community, yet we are alone. We come needy. We come with hearts heavy with the burdens of the week. We come with anger and with pain, … Continue reading The Resilient Orthodox: We Come Needy

When Someone Takes Your Paschal Cheese

Let me tell you about Paschal Cheese. Paschal cheese is a special, sweet dish that originated in Russia and made its way to the United States and I thank God it did. Paschal cheese is made of cream, eggs, butter, confectioners sugar, candied citron, chopped almonds, golden raisins, vanilla, and farmers cheese. It goes into a … Continue reading When Someone Takes Your Paschal Cheese

The Resilient Orthodox: Pre-Paschal Reflections on Faith

It's Saturday evening and bright, soon-to-set sunlight still shines through our windows. It is a blessed contrast from what the weather has been for the past two months and we delight in it. It has been quiet around Communicating Across Boundaries this past week for it has been Holy Week in the Orthodox tradition. It … Continue reading The Resilient Orthodox: Pre-Paschal Reflections on Faith

The Beginning of Lent – Eyes Wide Open

I idly sit down at the bench waiting for the subway. I am part of this early morning crowd, here before sun up. We are a quiet, sleepy group. As I look around my eye rests on something someone has left on the bench just a foot away from me. I open my eyes wider … Continue reading The Beginning of Lent – Eyes Wide Open

On Celebrating Nativity

Yesterday was Feast of the Nativity - our Orthodox Christmas. As people new to the Orthodox church, we are still learning how to walk between these dates and traditions. Our Protestant families celebrate the 25th of December and we will continue to do this. But along with that is a new celebration on the 7th … Continue reading On Celebrating Nativity

The Resilient Orthodox – Now Lay Aside All Cares

It comes at the perfect time of the service, after we sing the Beatitudes and the gospel is read. After the homily and during the service of the Eucharist. It comes when my mind has started to wander and the worries of the coming week begin to creep in. The choir leads us in what is called … Continue reading The Resilient Orthodox – Now Lay Aside All Cares

The Resilient Orthodox – “Axios”

"Axios!" The Bishop proclaims in a strong, authoritative voice. "Axios!" We respond in loud unison. "Worthy!" He proclaims and again we repeat after him - this time the word in English "Worthy!" We are witnessing our friend John's ordination as a Deacon of the Bulgarian Diocese in the Orthodox Church. It has been a beautiful … Continue reading The Resilient Orthodox – “Axios”

The Reluctant Orthodox – Volume 30 “From Reluctance to Acceptance”

  The journey from reluctance to acceptance isn't usually a dramatic event, it's a slow process. It happens so slowly, in fact, that it is almost imperceptible. But the realization that you have crossed a line can come as suddenly as a summer storm. In that instant you realize that you are no longer fighting or questioning, instead you … Continue reading The Reluctant Orthodox – Volume 30 “From Reluctance to Acceptance”

The Reluctant Orthodox – Volume 29 “On Dads, Pastors and Priests”

When I was 9 years old Lizzie Hover's dad died. He died in a head-on collision on a dusty desert road in the Sindh area of Pakistan. The night before he had been at my parents home with his lovely wife Carol. They had talked, laughed, and discussed furlough plans as both were heading to … Continue reading The Reluctant Orthodox – Volume 29 “On Dads, Pastors and Priests”

The Reluctant Orthodox – Volume 28 “On Mother Susan and Popadia Paula”

"That Mother Susan is really wise." We had arrived back home after Divine Liturgy and the welcome "post-fasting" coffee hour, designed to be substantial since we fast before communion. My husband burst out laughing. "She's not Mother Susan" he said. "She's Popadia Susan." Once again I find myself traveling into the land where I forget … Continue reading The Reluctant Orthodox – Volume 28 “On Mother Susan and Popadia Paula”

The Reluctant Orthodox – Volume 27 “Myrrh Bearing Women”

There were eight of them. Eight who on Palm Sunday were overjoyed with the honor given to their teacher, their rabbi. Eight of them who on Wednesday could not believe that this man Jesus, a man who they had followed and loved, this man who had known their deepest sins and pains was unlawfully arrested … Continue reading The Reluctant Orthodox – Volume 27 “Myrrh Bearing Women”

The Reluctant Orthodox – Volume 26 “On Midwives and Confession”

I wait on a side pew with several others. Vespers and vigil have ended and most of us are sitting in silence. In the far left corner of the sanctuary our priest sits with someone. We sit and wait, none of us impatient. Like a waiting room in a doctor's office, each of us come … Continue reading The Reluctant Orthodox – Volume 26 “On Midwives and Confession”