Betting on the Strong Man

When a strong man armed keeps his court, those things are in peace which he possesses. Luke 11:21 For his pains in casting out a devil of dumbness, our Lord is accused of being in league with the devil. On its face, the accusation is preposterous, assuming as it does that Satan is dumb enoughContinue reading “Betting on the Strong Man”

Look Toward Him

One of those occasions when Jan Dismas Zelenka (remember him?) was permitted to shine was Good Friday of 1730. After a liturgy recounting the Passion of Christ according to St. John, the court was treated to Il Serpento di Bronzo, a cantata based on Chapter 21 of Numbers. Wandering in the desert, the people ofContinue reading “Look Toward Him”

Only Jesus

For this is the will of God, your sanctification. 1 Thessalonians 4:3 And the disciples hearing, fell upon their face, and were very much afraid. Matthew 17:6 In the Transfiguration, Peter, James, and John saw their Lord in his undisguised sanctity. As he spoke familiarly to Moses and Elias (long since departed from this mortalContinue reading “Only Jesus”

Possessing All Things

But in all things let us exhibit ourselves as the ministers of God: As having nothing, and possessing all things. 1 Corinthians 6:4, 10 There is nothing which is not the possession of the wise person, except what is contrary to virtue. The whole world is his possession, since he uses it all as hisContinue reading “Possessing All Things”

All Kings Shall Adore Him

Embarking upon his earthly ministry, Christ is “led by the spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the devil” (Mt. 4:1). Taking Jesus up “into a very high mountain,” the evil spirit shows him “all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them.” “All these I will give thee,” he promises, “ifContinue reading “All Kings Shall Adore Him”

Guarding the Gates of Hell

Thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Matthew 16:18 The temple of Solomon was built on a very special rock. The Foundation Stone was considered the center of all creation, and a junction between heaven and earth. As Jeff CavinsContinue reading “Guarding the Gates of Hell”

Behold Upon the Mountains!

Behold upon the mountains The feet of him who brings good tidings, And who preaches peace. Nahum 1:15 Dietrich Buxtehude’s adaptation of a medieval hymn, itself the fruit of devotional meditation on Scripture, invites us with its exquisite beauty to contemplate the good tidings of our salvation, and the manner in which it has beenContinue reading “Behold Upon the Mountains!”

Help and Consolation

Thou true God and son of David, who already from eternity and from afar have seen intimately my heartache and bodily pain: have mercy on me! And let thy miraculous hand, that has turned aside so much evil, act for me likewise as help and consolation. Du wahrer Gott, by J. S. Bach (Music) FromContinue reading “Help and Consolation”

Serving the Good Wine

Bless them that persecute you: bless, and curse not. Romans 12:14 As Christians, we are called to perform a delicate balancing act. When faced with evil, we are neither to surrender, nor to overcompensate. “Hating that which is evil,” and “cleaving to that which is good,” we are to “overcome evil,” not by evil, butContinue reading “Serving the Good Wine”

Questioning Authority

They found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them, and asking them questions. Luke 2:46 One of the many prejudices masquerading as enlightenment in modern times is the notion that reason and religion are antithetical modes of confronting reality. How many voices call for “dialogue,” when they really meanContinue reading “Questioning Authority”