Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house

When it comes to the most basic activities of daily life, no one needs to give us instructions about what tools are for or how to use them. Without thinking, we use utensils for eating. Without a moment's thought, we turn on a light switch in a dark room. Without the least bit of reflection, we make sure the light shines on what we may be reading.  And yet, when it comes to the life of the Spirit, we seem to need additional instructions, we seem to need to be told to do the obvious. As foolish as it may seem, we really need to be reminded that no one lights a candle and puts it under a bushel, … [Read more...]

A Christmas Poem

When Caesar Augustus ruled the mighty Empire of Rome, When peace purchased with bloodshed enshrouded each home, When mortal man had reached the deep night of despair, When prophets were silent and holiness rare,Lo, in the humble town of the shepherd-boy king, In the arms of a maiden all pure, yea purer than spring, Was beheld a sight strange to angels, unapproachable to men, God as a child, the Almighty, a friend.O Wisdom unfathomable, Condescension Divine Heavenly Bread in the straw where cattle did dine. Heaven’s gates now flung open and that sword flaming of old No longer guards … [Read more...]

Moving Beyond the Familiar Christmas Story

Is there anything more familiar in Christianity than the Christmas story? The child in the manger, the shepherds watching their flocks, wise men from the East, and angels singing, “Glory to God in the Highest!” There is something that warms the heart in the familiar. It is safe. It shelters. It is sort of like home. Certainly, there is a place for this aspect of the Christmas experience. The gentleness of the Mother and Child, the simplicity of the shepherds, the piety of the wise men, and the radiance of the angels soften our souls in the midst of the harsh winter of this life. And yet, where … [Read more...]

And He Will Come Again in Glory

In the Creed, we confess that our Savior will come again in glory. And through this confession, we proclaim with joyful voices that all the wondrous and extraordinary truths we believe concerning our compassionate God will one day, the proverbial day of the Lord, be as manifest as the sun, making daylight pale into darkness by comparison. Many Christians today become fearful with an unsettling foreboding when they think about the end times, because they focus on the anti-Christ with all his futile machinations, instead of on Christ totally victorious with utter ease on that last, great day. … [Read more...]

And Sits At the Right Hand of the Father

The Nicene Creed is not a mere set of beliefs that we confess with our mouths, but the Way that we follow in thought, word, and deed leading to eternal life in communion with our triune God. The Creed is meant to open up to us new worlds of holiness, new experiences of the divine, and above all newness of life found only in Christ. This is evident in the creedal formula “and sits at the right hand of the Father,” for with our minds fixed on the rule of God where Christ reigns forever, with our hearts comforted in the knowledge that Christ has indeed ascended to the Father where He continues to … [Read more...]

Philautia versus Agape

In my last post I shared some thoughts about the patristic notion of philautia and the psychological concept of self-esteem.  In this post, I would like to offer a reflection upon the difference between philautia and agape.  As I described it, philautia is characterized by an obsession with the self.  It is always directed inward and if perchance it finds itself concerned with others on the outside, it is only because of their importance for the preservation of the self’s inner world, the center of all possible universes.  This tends toward a narcissistic myopia that holds up an illusion of … [Read more...]