Our blogger Judith has written in recent months about both the woman with a flow of blood and Jairus’ daughter. In a recent family conversation, both of them came up again, and the discussion would have evolved differently if I hadn’t had Judith’s thoughts in mind. It certainly went to places we weren't expecting!
Once when I was in a difficult situation, I couldn't think of a saint who was known for help with traveling on planes. So I appealed to a saint who rode a horse instead. It worked.
In 1992, I was flying home on standby due to a domestic emergency. All the seats were taken. I prayed to St. Menas with fervor.
Suddenly, a soldier walked up behind me in the line at the airline counter. I stepped aside, as she seemed important. She said to the flight attendant, "I believe I need to be put on this flight. Here are my credentials."
Our blogger cosiders ways that people have found to deal with spiritual and physical turmoil during times of war or pandemic. The icon above appeared at the Mirozh monastery in the year 1198. When a plague hit the city of Pskov during the reign of Ivan the Terrible, there were reports that the icon streamed myrrh from both eyes that healed many.
I’m part of an upcoming conference that has to do with Evil and Spiritual Combat in a Time of Pandemic, so I’ve been thinking about those things lately. I shuddered when I heard the words “evil” and “combat.” “Evil” struck me as archaic and overdrawn and “combat” as too militant.
I had the honor and pleasure of moderating a panel of Orthodox women in the workforce earlier this month, the first of several planned virtual events sponsored by Axia Women. The panelists were (top) Lijin Hannah Thomas and Christine Kelly and (bottom) Katherine Demacopoulos, and myself.
I was born in Serbia during World War II. When I was Christened in the small Russian Orthodox church outside of Belgrade, my Grandfather stood as my Godfather and my Aunt Anna as my “stand-in” Godmother. An old silver cross of my Grandfather’s was my baptismal cross, and apparently I howled loudly after the dunking. That was my introduction to Orthodoxy as a tiny newborn. Throughout the war, family prayer and Russian Orthodox family prayers sung aloud, morning and evening was a daily factor in my growing awareness. Every family member sang in the church and Grandfather was the choir director. I was supposed to be named Mary but for some reason that did not happen.
"A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited his people!”
Not a magician or doctor. Not a wizard. A Prophet, in communion with God. Acting on God’s behalf. One whose Powers come directly from the Holy One.
They saw a man Who was moved by compassion and by the power that comes from God, the Creator, the All Mighty, to bring a widow’s son back to life. (Luke 7:11-16)
"God has visited us!!!" they cried. Of course, they were afraid. We might expect jubilation, cheers and applause... but no ...this is fear.
I’m lucky enough to be taking a class in New Testament at a local seminary. It has forced me, among other things, to read whole Gospel books from start to finish at single sittings. That has been revelatory. For one, it has awakened me to the narrative patterns and themes that the writers brought to telling these vital stories – something important to me as a literary scholar.