St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

December 2019

Fr. Antony reading the GospelDear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

Glory to Jesus Christ!

"Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength." (Nehemiah 8:10)

Tucked away in one of St. Gregory Nazianzens exquisite Dogmatic Poems is this lovely verse:

For the Logos on high plays
In all sorts of forms, mingling with his world
Here and there as he so desires.

There is a joyful sound to St. Gregory's epiphany. The Logos, the Word, the Son "plays." It brings a light-hearted note to our understanding.

My Systematic Theology teacher once commented that Nietzsche criticized Christianity (particularly what he found in some Protestant sections of Germany) as joyless and I think his critique is often true. We are so bound up in our problems that we cannot see the truth that we are loved extravagantly. We have come to see, God more often as judge and jury and not as Father and Lover.

Bishop JOHN was once asked how God sees us when we are angry with him. He replied something like this, "I think he looks at us and says, 'Ah, how cute! My little child is throwing a fit.'"

I love this quote from Alan Watts that reflects this same idea, "Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun."

In this great season of joy and light, perhaps we all need to lighten up.

With great affection,
 Fr. Antony