About true fasting
Tuesday, March 11, 2014, 10:12 AM

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Thoughts on fasting from the eastern church. (The sound quality is scratchy, but it is subtitled. 6 minutes.)

 About true fasting

Saint John Chrysostom

Saint John Chrysostom

For let not the mouth only fast, but also the eye, and ear, and the feet, and the hands, and all the members of our bodies. Let the hands fast, by being pure from rapine and avarice. Let the feet fast, but ceasing from running to the unlawful spectacles. Let the eyes fast, being taught never to fix themselves rudely upon handsome countenances, or to busy themselves with strange beauties. For looking is the food of the eyes, but if this be such as is unlawful or forbidden, it mars the fast; and upsets the whole safety of the soul; but if it be lawful and safe, it adorns fasting.

~ St. John Chrysostom (Homily III, paragraph 8, Ascetic Treatises)

 About true fasting

Saint Basil the Great

St. Basil the Great

Beware of limiting the good of fasting to mere abstinence from meats. Real fasting is alienation from evil. “Loose the bands of wickedness.” Forgive your neighbor the mischief he has done you. Forgive him his trespasses against you.

St. Basil On Fasting (pdf)



Ash Wednesday (Western Church)
Wednesday, March 5, 2014, 7:00 AM

Jesu meines Lebens Leben

Christ the Life of all the living,
Christ the Death of death our foe,
Who Thyself for us once giving
To the darkest depths of woe,
Patiently didst yield Thy breath
But to save my soul from death;
Thousand, thousand thanks shall be,
Blessed Jesus, brought to Thee.

Thou, ah! Thou, hast taken on Thee
Bonds and stripes, a cruel rod;
Pain and scorn were heaped upon Thee,
0 Thou sinless Son of God!
Thus didst Thou my soul deliver
From the bonds of sin forever.
Thousand, thousand thanks shall be,
Dearest Jesus, unto Thee.

Thou hast borne the smiting only
That my wounds might all be whole;
Thou hast suffered, sad and lonely,
Rest to give my weary soul;
Yea, the curse of God enduring,
Blessing unto me securing.
Thousand, thousand thanks shall be,
Dearest Jesus, unto Thee.

Heartless scoffers did surround Thee,
Treating Thee with shameful scorn,
And with piercing thorns they crowned Thee.
All disgrace Thou, Lord, hast borne,
That as Thine Thou mightest own me
And with heav’nly glory crown me.
Thousand, thousand thanks shall be,
Dearest Jesus, unto Thee.

Thou hast suffered men to bruise Thee
That from pain I might be free;
Falsely did Thy foes accuse Thee:
Thence I gain security;
Comfortless Thy soul did languish
Me to comfort in my anguish.
Thousand, thousand thanks shall be,
Dearest Jesus, unto Thee.

Thou hast suffered great affliction
And hast borne it patiently,
Even death by crucifixion,
Fully to atone for me;
Thou didst choose to be tormented
That my doom should be prevented.
Thousand, thousand thanks shall be,
Dearest Jesus, unto Thee.

Then, for all that wrought my pardon,
For Thy sorrows deep and sore,
For Thine anguish in the Garden,
I will thank Thee evermore,
Thank Thee for Thy groaning, sighing,
For Thy bleeding and Thy dying,
For that last triumphant cry,
And shall praise Thee, Lord, on high

Dietrich Buxtehude 1637 – 1707



Great Canon of St. Andrew (Eastern Orthodox)
Monday, March 3, 2014, 7:00 PM

Canon of Repentance 

1. Where shall I begin to lament the deeds of my wretched life? What first-fruit shall I offer, O Christ, for my present lamentation? But in Thy compassion grant me release from my falls.

2. Come, wretched soul, with your flesh, confess to the Creator of all. In future refrain from your former brutishness, and offer to God tears in repentance.

3. Having rivaled the first-created Adam by my transgression, I realize that I am stripped naked of God and of the everlasting kingdom and bliss through my sins. (Genesis 3)

“The Great Canon is served during the first week of the Great Lent. During Great Compline on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.” (citation)



Sunday before Lent
Sunday, March 2, 2014, 12:00 PM

This evening, the Eastern church begins its annual Lenten fast with the vespers service of Forgiveness Sunday. Before we spend the next 40 days in the repentance of our sins, we prepare ourselves by asking forgiveness not only of Christ and of the priests, but of everyone in our church whether or not we have knowingly offended them. It allows us to put an end to any chance animosity we might bear toward one another and to commence the fast in a proper state of humility and peace.

You’ll notice that participants prostrate themselves before each other, acknowledging the real presence of Christ within all:

In the Western church, this Sunday  is known as Quinquagesima Sunday, Quinquagesimae, Estomihi, Shrove Sunday, [and] the Last Sunday after Epiphany (citation). Bach wrote the following music in its honor:

Bach Cantata BWV 127 “Die Seele ruht in Jesu Händen

Die Seele ruht in Jesu Händen,
My soul rests in the hands of Jesus,

Wenn Erde diesen Leib bedeckt.
Though earth covers this body

Ach ruft mich bald, ihr Sterbeglocken,
Ah, call me soon, you funereal bells,

Ich bin zum Sterben unerschrocken,
I am not terrified to die

Weil mich mein Jesus wieder weckt.
Since my Jesus will awaken me again.

Recital at Indiana School of Music (1990)
Brian Madsen Oboe, Diana Livingston soprano



Historic Communication
Thursday, February 27, 2014, 11:12 AM

Pope Francis reached out recently to the Evangelical community via a video message that has already started going viral, but which I present here in hopes it will  give our readers pause to consider the sincere love of Christ that fundamentally unites us.



Lagniappe – Robert Lowry (1864)
Sunday, February 23, 2014, 7:00 AM

At the River

Shall we gather at the river,
Where bright angel feet have trod,
With its crystal tide forever
Flowing by the throne of God?

Refrain:

Yes, we’ll gather at the river,
The beautiful, the beautiful river;
Gather with the saints at the river
That flows by the throne of God.
(more…)



Art of Eternity – Part III
Saturday, February 22, 2014, 7:00 AM

When East Meets West

“Andrew examines early Christian art and the reasons for its evolution during the Renaissance. He also reveals just how far modern artists have been influenced by the pre-perspective view of the world.”



Lagniappe – Brother Claude Ely
Sunday, February 16, 2014, 7:00 AM

This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it! ~ Psalm 118:24

Ain’t No Grave (Can Hold My Body Down)

There ain’t no grave
Can hold my body down
There ain’t no grave
Can hold my body down

When I hear that trumpet sound
I’m gonna rise right out of the ground
Ain’t no grave
Can hold my body down


Well, look way down the river
And what do you think I see
I see a band of angels
And they’re coming after me

Ain’t no grave
Can hold my body down
There ain’t no grave
Can hold my body down

Well, look down yonder, Gabriel
Put your feet on the land and sea
But Gabriel, don’t you blow your trumpet
Until you hear from me

There ain’t no grave
Can hold my body down
Ain’t no grave
Can hold my body down

Well meet me, Jesus, meet me
Meet me in the middle of the air
And if these wings don’t fail me,
I will meet you anywhere

Ain’t no grave
Can hold my body down
There ain’t no grave
Can hold my body down

Well meet me, Mother and Father,
Meet me down the river road
And Mama, you know that I’ll be there
When I check in my load

Ain’t no grave
Can hold my body down
There ain’t no grave
Can hold my body down
There ain’t no grave
Can hold my body down

Written by Brother Claude Ely, sung by the Peasall family.



Art of Eternity – Part II
Saturday, February 15, 2014, 7:00 AM

Part Two – The Glory of Byzantium



Lagniappe – Joseph M. Scriven (1855)
Sunday, February 9, 2014, 7:00 AM

(more…)


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