May 2, 2022

Prayer has always been a central part of what motivates the writing here. The name of the blog, The Orant, is a term used to describe a figure who is praying in early Christian art. In choosing this name, my hope was that both I and the readers here might all become people who are more deeply formed by practices of prayer in our own lives each day. Prayer has been a foundational part of my own life, in leading... Read more

March 3, 2022

I recently read through the fantastic new volume by Lester Ruth and Lim Swee Hong A History of Contemporary Praise & Worship: Understanding the Ideas That Reshaped the Protestant Church  This study offers a new gold standard in understanding the history of contemporary praise and worship music. It helps move the understanding beyond many of the limited narratives that focus too narrowly on the Jesus People’s influence and takes seriously many of the efforts and movements both within the Pentecostal/Charismatic churches... Read more

March 2, 2022

Jesus returned from the Jordan River full of the Holy Spirit and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. There he was tempted for forty days by the devil. He ate nothing during those days and afterward Jesus was starving.” Luke 4:1-2 Have you ever wondered why Jesus decided to begin his public ministry by retreating into the wilderness for 40 days? The voice of the Father declared Jesus his beloved Son, the Spirit descended on Jesus, and then…... Read more

May 14, 2021

I’ll be honest. I’ve struggled to find a good book on the Catholic belief in the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. The books with the most comprehensive approach tend to be so academically focused that they are difficult for the average reader to understand. Those written for popular audiences tend to fall into some common traps. Some of these books reduce the theology to a rigidly formulaic approach – relying on an Aristotelian cosmology which no longer... Read more

April 11, 2021

On this Divine Mercy Sunday, I am reflecting on the phrase “Kyrie Ellison” often translated as “Lord have Mercy.” This is one of the great prayers of the ancient church which continues to be a part of Christian worship until this day. In Koine Greek the word Eleison meant but just mercy as we think of it, but a total restoration of society. To pray Kyrie Eleison was to ask God to come into your community and to set every... Read more

April 2, 2021

When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, “It is finished.” And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit. Jn 19:30 Why do you think today is called Good Friday? Today we remember the death of Jesus. It is a solemn day, a sad day, a day of mourning. We remember the depths of the pain and agony that Jesus entered on the cross. We are dismayed at the capacity of humanity to hurt and betray one another. We... Read more

April 1, 2021

“The spirit of the Lord God is upon me because the LORD has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the afflicted, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, release the prisoners.” Is 61:1 Have you ever trained for a race? In some ways, Jesus’ fasting in the wilderness was similar to the preparation for a race. If you read Luke Chapter 4 in its entirety you see that Jesus’ fasting flows directly... Read more

March 31, 2021

“When it was evening, he reclined at table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said ‘Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.’ Deeply distressed at this, they began to say to him one after another, ‘Surely it is not I, Lord?’” Mt 26:20-22 Have you ever been shocked by something you did? It often happens when our emotions are running high. We yell at someone we love. We insult a person we respect.... Read more

March 30, 2021

Simon Peter said to him, ‘Master, where are you going?’ Jesus answered him, ‘Where I am going, you cannot follow me now, though you will follow later.’” Jn 13:36 Could you simplify your job description down to two words? In Jesus’ time learning to follow the way of God was caught as much as it was taught. Disciples would be invited to follow a rabbi (Jewish teacher) and would learn through emulation. You ate like your rabbi, slept like your... Read more

March 28, 2021

“I, the LORD, have called you for the victory of justice, I have grasped you by the hand; I formed you, and set you as a covenant of the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.” Is 42:6-7 Have you ever had someone who believed in you more than you believed in yourself? I can honestly say that in... Read more

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