Little Suns on Stems

Be like a dandelion, whenever they fall apart, they start again. Have hope. ~ Anonymous

Love all creation, the whole of it and every grain of sand within it. Love every leaf, every ray of God’s light. Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things.~ Starets Zosima, in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov

Dandelions make me smile. They were the first backyard flowers I ever picked, and seemed like beautiful, brilliant, little suns on stems. My mom lovingly placed many bedraggled bouquets into vases all around our home.

I picked daisies too, and was delighted that when turned upside down, they became tiny white tutus tinged with rosy pink edges. It was the first thing in my young life that I ever coveted… a daisypetal ballerina skirt. Yes, the “clothing thing” starts pretty young for some of us gals.

Fast-forward 50 years to church (this has absolutely nothing to do with dandelions)… where I helped my very young granddaughter venerate an icon. There happened to be an angel in it… an angel with… red shoes. My granddaughter, stood in deep contemplation (which I assumed to be a pious moment), until she whispered fiercely, “Baba, I want those shoes!” But, I digress, and since there wasn’t (to my knowledge), a local Byzantine Payless Shoes Store on this side of the Bosphorus, we can at least agree the gal “clothing/shoe thing” indeed seems inherent. Let us return again to the topic of dandelions.

I remember being around 4, and handing a fistful of crumpled suns to a visiting, elderly relative. Expecting to hear a grateful thank you, she instead recoiled in horror and hissed, “Weeds!”

What on earth were weeds? They sound terrible… horrible! Determined to defend, I stubbornly objected. “But, God made flowers! How can they be bad?” Of course that didn’t fly well with the visiting relative, and although the incident ended in a stalemate between her and I – God won that round.

Later, as a teen mowing our lawn (under duress), I observed how prolific and tenacious those blessed dandelions could be. They even pop up through cement cracks! Wow. Now that’s perseverance! Oh, that I could be just a little like that!

Whether by chance or design, and through a “herby” friend (who’d scoop up chickweed for a chew), I stumbled upon how healthy and nutritious dandelions are (unsprayed of course)! They’re literally everywhere! God created them, and they’re filled with His goodness. Who knows what other exciting benefits they hold? Time will tell.

Meanwhile, a young grandchild recently wove two dandelion-chain crowns, and solemnly placed one of the diadems on my head. We took a regal selfie together… oblivious to the sticky, white, sap dripping onto our bangs.

I thank God, Who, in His Wisdom and compassion, created the noble, persistent, dandelion – and grandchildren.

Here is a super video on “how to” choose and eat dandelion greens! If you pick them yourself, do make sure they’re unsprayed, and not too big. Otherwise they may be bitter, tough and furry! But when you time it just right, they’re amazing!

May your Lenten Journey be peaceful, fruitful, and green.

Sunday of All Saints

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,  looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. ~ Hebrews 12:1-2

Since the 4th century All Saints’ Day is celebrated on the first Sunday after the Great Feast of Pentecost. Today we commemorate all saints from everywhere… from the time of Adam until the end of the world. We honour the known and unknown… Whether they be men, women or children… these shining clouds of witnesses have lived to the fruition of Holiness.

All the Saints are like fragrant flowers in God’s Heavenly Garden.

Kontakion (a little hymn) of All Saints: The universe offers to Thee, O Lord, as the Planter of Creation, the God-bearing martyrs as the first-fruits of nature. By their prayers, O Most Merciful One, through the Mother of God keep Thy Church, Thy estate, in deep peace.

Sermon on Sunday of All Saints ~ Igumen Zacchaeus Wood


Alleluia was inherited by the first Christians from Hebrew worship. It means Praise God.

The Polyeleos is the most festive part of the Matins service. The word comes from the Greek polys (much), and eleos (mercy). The Polyeleos Hymn consists of parts from Psalms 134 (Praise the name of the Lord, Alleluia) and Psalm 135 (Give thanks to the Lord, Alleluia) The Polyeleos singing is accompanied by multiple repetitions of For His mercy endures forever. During this part of service all the vigil lamps in the church are lit and blaze joyously.

Polyeleos (Much Mercy)

Spiritual Dew

Scientifically speaking, dew is water vapour in air that condenses and collects on cool surfaces such as plants, soil and other ground coverings. (Think of a mirror in a steamy bathroom.) Dew point is the temperature which water vapour in the air becomes saturated and the condensation begins. Many kinds of flora and fauna rely on dew for healthy hydration. In some fields of natural medicine, dew is esteemed with a surprising range of internal and external healing properties.

Dew only forms under a clear sky. It won’t come if there are clouds, wind, or stormy weather. Dew is a silent blessing… a humbler version of rain. It is gentle and nourishing. It sustains. It energizes. It is as refreshing as God’s unconditional love.

I am reminded of a particular trip to a convent visiting my goddaughter. Around day number three, and not feeling well, I was introduced to an unusual idea (new to me, but touted widely), that bare feet can absorb dew’s health benefits directly into the immune system. The abbess suggested whether or not that was indeed the case, I should just try Dew Walking, barefoot on the grass; for its reviving effects alone… plenty enough reason in itself.

Next morning I slipped out from the guesthouse and removed my sandals. Standing on the grassy green and savoring its coolness, the rising sun beamed through the trees, emblazoning the field as with millions of diamonds. A small choir of birds trilled. There was a whiff of fragrant incense. Was it breath from the pores of tiny wildflowers and grasses, ascending in morning praise to God? I slowly passed through the pearl and diamond droplets which clung to clover, wildflowers and grass. I paused. With sun on my face and feet gently planted on the grass – I felt a strong sense of connectedness, of being rooted together with God’s creation. In my heart, I joined my breath with theirs, in a silent prayer of praise, thankful for this peaceful blessing, for this Spiritual Dew.

Many Scripture passages refer to the importance, blessings and miracles of dew. During the Exodus to the Promised Land, God miraculously feeds the Israelites with manna from heaven and dew every morning (Exodus 16:13-14; Numbers 11:9). There are the two miracles (Judges 6:36-40) in which Righteous Gideon asks God regarding a fleece, first that it should be wet with dew in the morning while everything around is dry, and then that it should be dry in the morning while everything around is wet with dew.

Unexpected and tranquil blessings of Spiritual Dew are gifts from the Holy Spirit. There is strength and power in blessed silence.

I heartily encourage you to try barefoot Dew Walking on a summer’s morning!

May we, with God’s help, be refreshed with Spiritual Dew in all things, with each other, and to His glory.

May God give you of the dew of heaven and of the fatness of the earth and plenty of grain and wine. ~ Genesis 27:28

May my teaching drop as the rain, my speech distill as the dew, like gentle rain upon the tender grass, and like showers upon the herb ~ Deuteronomy 32:2

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard,  even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore. ~ Psalm 133: 1-3

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