At the start of this week, I was looking forward very much to seeing more faces I haven’t seen for the last three or four months at the Liturgy this coming Sunday. Then yesterday we had the news that we were in lockdown again and wouldn’t be able to have anyone at church apart from those needed to serve the Liturgy. I have to confess that my first reaction was; LORD have mercy. I think I felt like the Psalmist sometimes felt when facing difficult times:
Blog Tag: Orthodox Teaching
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The Holy Mysteries (also known as “Sacraments”) express how God restores people to a loving, trusting relationship with Him through the Church. They are the primary means of communicating His peace, love and grace in the form of His indwelling presence. Let’s explore the Holy Mysteries. Background From the earliest days, the Church considered that there was exactly one Holy Mystery—the Church itself. St Irenaeus wrote:
On the fifth Sunday of Great Lent, we commemorate St. Mary of Egypt and the Gospel reading from Mark (10:32-45). This week is the Sunday before Palm Sunday, or ‘The Triumphal Entrance into Jerusalem’, and the beginning of the salvific Passions that end up on the Cross and then is completed with His glorious resurrection. The Lord began preparing His disciples by telling them what would happen to Him. Foreseeing that the minds of His disciples would be troubled by His Passion, He foretells both the pain of His Passion, and the glory of His Resurrection.
On the day of the Presentation of our Lord in the Temple, Sunday, February 2, The Good Shepherd conducted a churching service for Marianne and Sophia. Churching is the blessing of mother and child forty days after giving birth. The mother and child are blessed at the door of the Church, the priest then carries the infant into the altar while asking God to bless them. What follows is a text of the sermon preached by The Good Shepherd’s Æthelwold Jenkins immediately following the churching. — Fr. Geoff
Learning to live a life of repentance is aided greatly by the Holy Mystery of Repentance. Commonly called “Confession,” it brings enormous relief from the burden of sin. Sin erects a barrier that feels like it cuts us off from God, interrupting our intimacy with Him. Confessing our sins to Christ and being assured they are forgiven restores intimacy.
At the beginning of Netflix’s historical drama “The Crown,” King George VI is describing the mystery of coronation to a very young Princess Elizabeth: “Unless I am anointed, I cannot be King.” “Do you understand?” “When the holy oil touches me, I am transformed: brought into direct contact with the Divine — forever changed — bound to God. It is the most important part of the entire ceremony.”
When couples come to ministers to talk about their marriage ceremonies, ministers think it’s interesting to ask if they love one another. What a stupid question! How would they know? A Christian marriage isn’t about whether you’re in love. Christian marriage is giving you the practice of fidelity over a lifetime in which you can look back upon the marriage and call it love. It is a hard discipline over many years. — Stanley Hauerwas
I have been receiving a lot of dismayed, uncomprehending and perhaps angry emails in the last week. My correspondents appear bewildered at why Orthodox Christian ethics does not share the conclusions of popular secular ethics. After all, they both appear to share many of the same values. Both ethical systems value “equality,” “freedom of choice,” “human brotherhood,” “fairness” and “justice.” So if they share these values, why doesn’t Orthodox Christianity support the same conclusions?