We Live in a Culture…


of anecdote, a life lived away from a larger narrative. Yet a larger narrative is a kind of stability that keeps us from faddishness, from having our lives jerked from one compelling but temporary story to another. It’s very hard to live a life of all exceptions and no rules, a life of individual moments without a larger explanation.

We live in a world of human drift because a story that feels good at a particular place in time might not have the wisdom, the strength, and the insight to last, leaving the one who lives it constantly on the move from one unsatisfying narrative to another. Left unchecked it can give birth to a world weary cynicism, a life where one believes nothing because everything else has failed to be enduring.

In this sad place there is, however, an invitation. Restless hearts can find a rest in God if they listen to their cynicism and emptiness and hear within it the call to a larger and more enduring story. Anecdotes come and go, truth remains, and Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”

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Tonight…


we watch the TV while somewhere else the storm rages. It’s quiet here in this part of the country. No ocean, no hurricanes, no lights, camera, action. Minnesota is far away and safe from all of this, tucked at the top and the middle of everything.

Sometimes its good to live in fly over country. No, we don’t get the TV weather coverage they’ll get in New York.  We can have two feet of snow and 60 mile per hour winds and the networks will give us 20 seconds tops. Yet there is a quiet here away from the coasts that pays us back for not being in the eye of whatever happens to be the current storm.

We’ll keep you in our prayers, all of you who are hunkered down in the face of the winds. We know lousy weather here in the upper Midwest and we sympathize more than you know. And when the time comes we’ll roll up our sleeves and help as we can because that’s what we do.

Yet if the bright lights and tall buildings are in New York City, and they are, there are times when its better not to be in the center of everything. Tonight is such a time. Storms come and go, but tonight everything is quiet in fly over land.

Psalm 16…


Psalm 16

Keep me safe, O God,
for in you I take refuge.
I said to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing.”
As for the saints who are in the land,
they are the glorious ones in whom is all my delight.
The sorrows of those will increase
who run after other gods.
I will not pour out their libations of blood
or take up their names on my lips.
Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup;
you have made my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
because you will not abandon me to the grave,
nor will you let your Holy One see decay.
You have made known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Thoughts from St. John of Kronstadt…


before his death.

“Owing to my old age (79 years) each day represents God’s special grace, each hour and every minute: my physical strength has become exhausted, but in compensation my spirit is brisk and burns toward my beloved Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ. How many pledges of grace from God have I received and am receiving; I trust this will also be in the future life, after death; while death is a birth unto life everlasting, but God’s mercy and love of mankind. God be praised! Fifty-two years of my priesthood have passed by God’s grace and mercy; I am still alive, although ailing. For so many years of blessed priesthood I shall be unable to thank the Lord, One in the Trinity. I served as I could, as I was able, and tried to do my best, but I made mistakes, was unwell, was strongly attracted by the enemy. Cover up, O Lord, all my sins with Thy mercy! What shall I render unto Thee, O Lord, that Thou hast granted me the mercy to have been born and brought up in the Orthodox Faith and Church and in our dear, priceless homeland, Russia, in which the Orthodox Church has been implanted from remotest times. I thank and praise Thee, the best I can, by Thy grace! Lord, there are no words in the human tongue worthy to thank Thee for all those countless blessings, revealed by Thy goodness to me, a sinner, throughout the course of my life, which has passed before Thy Face, Gracious Father! Even until now, already the seventy-ninth year hast Thou protected and saved me daily, and now especially, because of my enemies, seeking to swallow me up for the reason that I am Thy servant, though an unworthy one. But grant unto me, O Lord, the grace to thank Thee perfectly and to achieve a pure life, created for me through penance; grant that I may avoid the deceptive attractions of multifarious sin, which battles against me and wants to steal me away from Thee. Grant me to glorify Thee, loudly, loudly in this godless world.”

Words of Comfort…


Psalm 27

Of David.

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?

When the wicked advance against me
to devour[a] me,
it is my enemies and my foes
who will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then I will be confident.

One thing I ask from the Lord,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple.
For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
and set me high upon a rock.

Then my head will be exalted
above the enemies who surround me;
at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music to the Lord.

Hear my voice when I call, Lord;
be merciful to me and answer me.
My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”
Your face, Lord, I will seek.
Do not hide your face from me,
do not turn your servant away in anger;
you have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me,
God my Savior.
10 Though my father and mother forsake me,
the Lord will receive me.
11 Teach me your way, Lord;
lead me in a straight path
because of my oppressors.
12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
for false witnesses rise up against me,
spouting malicious accusations.

13 I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.