If you’re an Orthodox Christian, this week marked the first day of a 55 day journey called Lent. I like calling it a “journey” more than a “season” because that helps me remember that there is a purpose.
Seasons come and seasons go and nothing really changes. We go through winter for a while and then it’s time for spring. And then soon spring goes and then it’s time for summer. Just a season. Something we go through just because the calendar tells us that it’s the time of year to go through it.
A journey however is something we go through for a purpose. Read More
Below is a post I wrote two years ago, just before the start of Holy Week 2016. As we near the start of another Holy Week, I thought this would be the perfect message for today. I hope you enjoy it and I pray that you all have a fruitful and blessed week as we prepare to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Read More
We just recently concluded the season in the church known as “the Holy 50 days” – that is the 50 days going from the Resurrection of Christ (aka, Easter) to the descent of the Holy Spirit (aka, Pentecost).
While this season was meant to be a time where we rejoice because Christ is here with us in all of His glory, unfortunately for many of us, it is seen as a time of “recovering” from Lent and soon becomes a breeding ground for sin.
Why is that? Read More
In the Orthodox Church, we are now in the period known as the "Holy Fifty" – a period of feasting where the church celebrates Jesus’ presence with the disciples after His resurrection – and yet, my heart is still meditating on Christ’s last week on earth before the crucifixion.
Throughout Holy Week, as I attended daily liturgical worship services, I reflected over the mode of worship in Orthodoxy, which emphasizes outward expressions of piety and devotion. I don’t mean this in a negative sense. Consider. Almost every part of the Orthodox Church is intended to lead Christians through a physical act of worship in order to model for us the posture that our hearts should be taking. Read More
It’s here. It's now officially here. Put away those hamburgers and get that ice cream out of sight. It’s time to break out the veggie burgers and soy milk. Why? Because LENT IS HERE!
Every year at the start of Lent, I like to set a goal or focus. Instead of fasting aimlessly, I like to have a target that I'm aiming for. And this year, God convicted me that my focus is very similar to what it was two years ago. (I'm even going back and rereading the same book I was reading back then).
So I decided to dig up the old blog post from 2015 - which is equally applicable for me - and hopefully for you as well. Happy Lent everyone! Read More
Tis the season! It’s the last day of November and that pretty much makes it official: the Christmas season is here!
The music’s on the radio and lights are up everywhere you go. It’s just a matter of time before Christmas Day is upon us and we celebrate the single most important event in the history of all mankind – a day that divides history between BC and AD… the day that Jesus Christ was born.
If you’re in the Orthodox church, you know that we prepare to celebrate Christ’s birth by a 40-day period of fasting called Advent. Advent is to Christmas what Lent is to Easter – a time to prepare ourselves for the enormity and significance of what is about to happen.
When something is important (ie, wedding day, birth of a child, Super Bowl), it takes time to prepare. You can’t just show up on the day of the event without preparation; doing so would lead me to question the value you place on that day/event.
That’s why the church gives us this time of fasting – so we don’t just “show up” on Christmas without being prepared.
So what should our focus be during this time? How should we prepare ourselves? What should we be doing? Read More
“Lent is here! Lent is here! What do I do now? Gotta get rid of all the meat in the house… gotta buy LOTS of veggie burgers instead… and tofu… and anything that tastes like plastic. What do I do next? How much should I fast? How much should I pray? How much should I read? And WHAT should I read? SOMEONE TELL ME WHAT TO DO!!!!”
Never fear my brothers and sisters, Fr. Anthony’s Wednesday blog post and Periscope are here.
Today I’ll share what I am “doing" for Lent (even though I don’t like that expression and you’ll see why in a minute) and I’ll be answering your questions about anything Lent-related in today’s scope at 12:30 pm EST Read More
In case you haven’t looked a calendar recently, you might be surprised to know that we’re now half way through Lent – the most sacred time of year during which Orthodox Christians prepare to celebrate and relive Christ’s death on the cross, His burial in a tomb, and ultimately His resurrection from the dead.
And since we’re at the half way point, it’s probably a good time to remind ourselves of why we’re doing what we’re doing. It’s usually during the middle of any race that you find yourself questioning what you’re doing… and why you’re doing it… and contemplating whether or not you can make it to the finish line.
So why do we fast for Lent? I mean really…why do we really fast? Why is fasting such a big deal in our church and we do place SOOO much emphasis on it?
“Lent is here, we can’t eat meat. Lent is here, we have to put soy milk in our coffee. Lent is here, don’t tell anyone that that’s milk chocolate, not dark chocolate. Lent is here, we can’t eat Cool Ranch Doritos, we have to eat Sun Chips instead.”
For too many people, Lent is all about food. "Don’t eat this and don’t eat that. Stay away from this and don’t even think about that." Food food food. For a season that is supposed to simplify our lives and our eating habits, it sure seems like we spend a lot of time talking (and thinking) about food.
But is Lent supposed to about food? Is that what this is all about? Or do we maybe have this thing backwards? Read More
One spiritual discipline that I have encountered the most difficulty in maintaining during medical school has been FASTING. With the Fast of the Nativity upon us, I thought it an opportune time to share how medical school has affected my fasting.
Why do I fast on Wednesdays and Fridays?
I’ve been a priest for close to 12 years now. And in those 12 years, I’ve probably preached more than 1,000 sermons. But very few of them have ever touched me in the same way as the one below.
This is the video of a sermon I gave two years ago during this same time of year – the second week of Lent. It is based on the passage from Matthew 4:1-11, the temptation of Christ in the wilderness.
I just watched it this morning and could still feel the chills in my spine as I remembered the picture of Jesus during those 40 days in the desert. The picture is not a pleasant one at all – it’s not the strong Jesus that we love to picture, or the Almighty Jesus or the Eternal Jesus. Instead we see a picture of a weak Jesus. A hungry Jesus. A Jesus in need of help from the angels. And that picture breaks my heart. Read More
Below is an article written by the late Reverend Alexander Schmemann – a prominent 20th century priest, theologian and writer in the Orthodox church here in America. Fr. Alexander published many books and articles and did much to help the spread of Orthodox Christianity in America before his untimely death from cancer in 1983.
The article below is about the significance and meaning of Forgiveness Sunday – the Sunday before the start of Lent. I am publishing it today because it is a perfect follow up to yesterday’s very popular post on FORGIVENESS: What Lent is All About.
I hope you enjoy this article from one of the modern day heroes of the Orthodox Church in America. Read More
Two days ago I posed a question to my blog readers: what do you think God wants us/you to focus on during Lent?
If we are going to get the most out of Lent and we are going to reach the destination we are aiming for (remember Lent is a journey, not a season), then what do we need to take with us along the way?
We agreed already that fasting is a key element, but there is certainly more. Much more! God is always more focused on the attitudes of the heart more than on the actions of the body. As the Scripture says in 1 Samuel 16:7, “For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (see also Matthew 5:21-22 and 5:27-28).
So what heart attitude do we need to focus on at the start of this Lenten journey? Where should our emphasis lie?