What Do We Really Believe?

Studying our Faith with Father Stephen Maxfield

Wednesday Zoom Meeting 7pm

(Thursdays during Great Lent)

Father Stephen’s weekly Zoom meetings help us to really think about what we believe. They are challenging and stimulating. Often, we literally ‘Zoom in’ on knotty problems in our faith. In this day and age, it is essential that every Orthodox Christian can explain, or in some other way, demonstrate the truth of what we believe.  The world today is a market place of beliefs and faiths, whether that faith is in a Muslim or Christian God, or in science.

The world reacted with immoderate fear to the spread of the Covid virus – with no God, death of the physical body is perceived to be the end of life itself. Our children are taught that they can believe what they like, that gender and morality are fluid and circumstantial. If they come home, and ask their  Orthodox parents what and why we truly believe what we do, are you ready to give answers? If you are a young Orthodox and are confronted with deep questions by your friends, can you demonstrate your faith, verbally and in your way of life? 

Like the early Christians, living in a pagan world, we need to be able to testify to the truth of our faith. This sometimes means that, like St. Irenaus (author of Against Heresies) or St John of Damascus (who defended Orthodoxy in an Islamic world), or like Empress Irene, or our own St Milburga, we need to be ready to answer the questions, and by the witness of our lives guide others to Christ. In our study sessions with Father Stephen, we learn to listen to teachers of the Faith and articulate our questions and responses.

Father Stephen’s study sessions are focused on reading a book together. We read a short section, then discuss it together. How stimulating it is, depends on you! When everybody reads the book and asks the questions, the discussions can be very lively! Our last book was by Father John Behr, on the ‘Mystery of Christ.’  If you have read him, you will know Father John Behr is a deep theologian, who needs to be taken in small doses. In this book Father John explores what it means to be born in a body.  He starts, fundamentally, with tips for reading Scripture, and then asks ‘What were we created for?’  ‘What is sin all about?’ ‘What did Christ do which was so special by his death and resurrection?’ ‘How are we to understand the paradox of the Virgin Birth?’ HOW do we ‘glorify God in our bodies?’ (relics come in here!).

The Lent book will be Father Alexander Schmemann’s book ‘Great Lent, Journey into Pascha.’ This for me, is one of the fundamental books of Great Lent, which I read every year. It opens with the remark, ‘When a man goes on a journey, he must know where he is going.’ He then gives us the key points to look out for in the Lenten journey, and how to live Great Lent so deeply within ourselves that WE will be changed by it. This year undertaking the Lenten journey is more vital than ever. We have to throw off the bondage that fear that Covid has generated in our communities, and move towards resurrection, in a joy ‘no one takes away from you’  (John 16:32).

Sister Theovouli

Father Stephen will be leading Scripture Study on Thursday evenings at 7.00pm for around 60 minutes via Zoom.  (with the exception of the First Week). We have started reading Great Lent: Journey to Pascha by Alexander Schmemann. Copies of the text will be available in the church bookstore soon. 

All are welcome to attend. 

The link for joining the Zoom meeting are as follows: 

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81629854019?pwd=UzN5b3NTL1h0STJMd2E2ZW1kSHlJZz09

Please contact us by email for the meeting code and password: info@shrewsburyorthodox.com

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