Monday, July 30, 2007

Blessed Are Those Who Hunger

There is a wonderful short article in the Aug. 2007 issue of Christianity Today (sorry, couldn't find it online yet) that fits in very nicely with the Orthodox practice of fasting.

Eat, Drink and Be Hungry by John Koessler

"Blessed are those who hunger? Hunger and thirst signal need.....How can they be a source of blessing?.....Why not, 'Blessed are the righteous?'. Hunger implies a lack of righteousness. Jesus proposal is so radical, it turns our notions of God and righteousness and blessing on their heads. He blesses what most of us would curse.
According to Jesus, when we draw near to the kingdom, it is better to come empty than full. We are tempted to think that righteousness is the condition we must be in to be blessed. Jesus says the opposite. Righteousness is the blessing; hunger is the precondition.
......Righteousness is not our natural food. As a result, we are being consumed by our appetites. Like our first the Garden of Eden.....we too long for what seems good, pleasing and desirable, but which will destroy us in the end.....So God takes steps to help us get over our taste for food that cannot satisfy. To our discomfort, the main tool He uses is hunger.

Why is blessedness associated with hunger? Because those who bring their hunger to Christ will be filled with his righteousness. Thus, righteousness must be a gift before it can become a practice. The promise of righteousness is offered to those who are empty. It belongs to those who are aware of their lack.

Righteousness works from the inside out. We usually go about it the other way around; we try to work on it from the outside in, as if it were a matter of externals. If we worship in the right building, perform the right rituals.....we are righteous. If we read our Bibles and pray in the morning, give a tithe....we are righteous.....If we are to have righteousness as Jesus defines it, we must receive it like beggars, letting it transform us from the inside."

Try to get hold of a copy. It's worth the price of the magazine.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

This is just weird

This is what the rental company (courtesy of Pepsico's insurance) gave me to drive while my car is out of commission. Yes they actually gave me this big ole, redneck, 4 wheel drive, extended cab monstrosity. I realize that in Oklahoma these vehicles are practically issued to you with your driver's license but I have been fortunate enough to have lived a sheltered life and have never before driven one. And as further proof that I am living in a version of Hooterville, when I got home yesterday I found that the power was off to most of the town including the police station, the library and my house. The reason? A squirrel got into a transformer. Lovely. Apparently for a few hours, the squirrel won. Still not convinced? Okay, here's another one: a few nights ago there was fire in an empty house a few blocks from us. The only reason the fire was discovered was that the firemen smelled smoke and drove around town till they found the fire. Now that's a small town! However, even with all its quirks, this town has been good to us so I'm not complaining. Laughing maybe, but not complaining.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Life's little surprises

Guess what happened to me yesterday?

I was rear-ended by a Pepsi truck of all things. Its hard to see under the Visqueen but the impact shattered the rear window completely and also did a number on the rear door and fenders. Thankfully I got off with only a case of whiplash and none of my kids were with me. My darling husband dropped everything at a work and rushed to the scene of the crash to lend his support. And hey, its only a car after all.

Sunday, July 8, 2007


Happy news! Father says that I will be chrismated sometime this fall!
How thankful I am for the gift of Orthodoxy. Last Sunday at Divine Liturgy, as I looked at the icons surrounding me and the people worshiping with me, I felt a peace that I barely have words to describe. It was like being wrapped in soft blanket. I was not alone, I was supported by a community that transcends time and place. Utterly safe. Completely loved. I know feelings are by nature, transitory. I know there have been times in my life when God felt very distant and that most likely I will have times like that again. But I also know in my heart of hearts that this is more "real" than any other reality I have ever experienced.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

From Father Stephen's blog today:

In Lewis’ That Hideous Strength, his character, Mark Studdock, is pictured being tempted to lose his soul through a long string of seemingly inane choices (engineered by the infernal regions), no one of which in itself seems all that bad.
Our hearts are formed and shaped in a very small crucible. The large decisions frequently come as the fruit of many much smaller. A decision to act and live with integrity, for instance, will yield many smaller results, even surprising results.

This really rang true for me especially in two areas of my life that I am trying to and eating habits. Its so easy to convince ourselves that the the little bad choices...eating a candy bar, buying yet another skein of yarn...really aren't destructive. But they are and the cumulative weight of them inexorably pulls you down.