Friday, August 31, 2012

Monday, August 27, 2012

God is awesome!

God is so amazing! Yesterday He was really revealing things to ben and I yesterday and I am so amazed and humbled by these profound revelations!
in the song "Sea of Faces" by Kutless there is a line that says "Your Body's the bread and your Blood is the wine because you traded your life for mine" and hubby and I were talking how in Hebrews it talks about the Priesthood of Christ is after the order of Melchizedek and the interesting thing is that Melchizedek's gift was bread and wine and so that is why Orthodox Christians bring gifts of bread and wine each Sunday to be blessed and for God to use and give back to us as His Body and Blood for the remission of our sins which the coal in Isaiah represents. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLHE4P-B2FA and here's Take Me Inhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kfua4nRKDEU its just so amazing how these two songs connect together!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Divine Liturgy

on the way home from church today, I was thinking about the song "Take Me In" here are the lyricshttp://www.metrolyrics.com/take-me-in-lyrics-petra.html. I realized that as a Protestant/Evangelical there was no way I could fully understand the meaning of this song because I had the understanding that everything was spiritual, but now that I have been going to an Orthodox Church I have come to fully understand this song and have realized that there is a physical aspect to Christianity and when I enter into the church and join in with the others in the Divine Liturgy, I am taken past the outer courts and crowds of people and ushered into the Holy place and there I find myself truly in the presence of God worshipping along side those that have gone before me. That is how the Orthodox Divine Liturgy is designed to do, to take us past the outer courts of this earthly realm and into heavenly realm to stand and worship in the very presence of God!! O how I wish more Protestant/Evangelicals could experience what the Orthodox experience every Sunday!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Faith without works is Dead

In this mini Bible Study Article we will see based on the Bible, Church history and Tradition we will see how the early Christians viewed faith and works. So get your thinking caps on and get ready to do some research for selves!

"Works" In Paul's Writing"
"St. Paul uses the term "works" extensively in his letters, especially in Romans, Galatians, and Ephesians. By this term, he means human activities which he generally classifies in two categories: 1. Dead works: These can be works that are evil, such as murder, adultery, idol worship, and robbery-which the Scriptures also call "works of the flesh" (Gal. 5:19) and obviously condemn. But in addition, dead works can be works-even good works-done for the wrong reasons. These are works that are good in themselves-such as fasting, giving money, and feeding the poor-but are done to call attention to oneself or to gain standing in the community. Selfish motivation turns good works into dead works. (The solution to this problem is not to cease fasting, giving, or helping, but rather to turn from the sin of self-glorification.) 2. Living works: These are deeds that are both good in themselves and done for a good purpose: the glory of God. Good works the Scriptures commend. Paul teaches they are an outgrowth of our salvation when he writes, "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them" (Eph 2:10). They contribute to our faith, as James teaches, "You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only [or alone]" (Jam 2:24). When we do living works, we rely on the strength and grace of God, and we seek to bring glory to Him and not to ourselves through what we do. Some have erroneously interpreted Paul, particularly in Romans 4, to be condemning all works. A careful reading of Romans, however, reveals Paul is not putting down works in general, but dead works. St. Maximos the Confessor, writing in the seventh century, states clearly the view of the Church concerning dead works. "Many human activities, good in themselves, are not good because of the motive for which they are done. For example, fasting, vigils, prayer, psalmody [the singing of hymns], acts of charity and hospitality are by nature good. But when performed for the sake of self-esteem [vainglory, self-glorification] they are not good. In everything we do, God searches out our purpose to see whether we do it for Him or for some other motive...quite clearly He bestows blessings only when something is done for the right purpose. For God's judgment looks not at the actions, but at the purpose behind them." Thus, the Christian actively cultivates a habit of doing good works for the glory of God, and as a way of life. The writings of Paul are clear. If we are joined to Christ and cleansed from the dishonor of the past, we become "a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work" (2 Tim. 2:21). God sets us apart to Himself so we will be productive and useful to Him. "Therefore, my beloved brethren," Paul tells the Corinthians, "be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord" (I Cor. 15:58)."

Mary

Why are so many people today afraid to preserve and give honor to Mary, who is one of most important human beings on earth? She gave birth to Jesus, the Son of God who would save us from our sins. Based on the Bible, Church history and tradition we get a good idea of how the Early Church viewed Mary and we will see that its ok to remember, honor and recognize the role Mary played in Christians salvation more than just at Christmas time. Here's Bible Study article from my Bible to get your thinking caps going and help you get started in researching for yourselves!

"Mary"
  "For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed." (Lk. 1:48)
"For two thousand years the Church has preserved the memory of the Virgin Mary as the prototype of all Christians-the model of what we are to become in Christ. Mary was truly pure and unconditionally obedient to God. The tradition of the Church holds that Mary remained a virgin all her life (see note Mt. 12:46-50). While lifelong celibacy is not a model for all Christians to follow, Mary's spiritual purity, her wholehearted devotion to God, is certainly to be emulated. Mary is also our model of in that she was the first person to receive Jesus Christ. As Mary bore Christ in her womb physically, all Christians now have the privilege of bearing God within them spiritually. By God's grace and mercy we are purified and empowered to become like Him. The honor we give to Mary also signifies our view of who Jesus is. From early times the Church has called her Mother of God (Greek Theotokos, literally "God-Bearer"), a title which implies that her Son is both fully man and fully God. As His Mother, Mary was the source of Jesus' human nature; yet the One she bore in her womb was also the eternal God. Therefore, because of her character and especially of her role in God's plan of salvation, Christians appropriately honor Mary as the first among saints. The archangel Gabriel initiated this honor in his address to her: "Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!" (Lk. 1:28). This salutation clearly indicates that God Himself had chosen to honor Mary. Her favored status was confirmed when she went to visit her cousin Elizabeth, who was then six months pregnant with John the Baptist. Elizabeth greeted Mary with these words: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" (Lk. 1:42,43). And Mary herself, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, predicted the honor that would be paid her throughout history: "For behold, all generations will call me blessed" (Lk. 1:48). In obedience to God's clear intention, therefore, the Orthodox Church honors Mary in icons, hymns, and special feast days. We entreat her, as the human being who was most intimate with Christ on earth, to intercede with her Son on our behalf. We ask her, as the first believer and the Mother of the Church, for guidance and protection. We venerate her-but we do not worship her, for worship belongs to God alone. In Matins, Vespers, and all the services of the hours of prayer, we sing this hymn, which expresses Mary's unique place in creation. "It is truly right to bless you, O Theotokos, ever-blessed and most pure, and the Mother of our God. More honorable than the cherubim and more glorious beyond compare than the seraphim, without defilement you gave birth to God the Word: True Theotokos, we magnify you."

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Confession

What is confession and why is it important to our spiritual health? Based on the Bible, Church history and tradition we get a pretty good idea what confession is and why it is important. Here is a mini Bible Study article from my Bible to help get your thinking caps on and to research more for yourselves.

"Confession"

"Perhaps the most misunderstood sacrament of the Christian Church is confession. How did it originate? What role does a priest play? Is there a special procedure for confession? The Scriptures hold answers to these questions. Concerning our sins, God's Word gives a marvelous promise: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" ( 1 Jn. 1:9). The faithful are to bring their sins to God in repentance and receive cleansing and forgiveness. The Early Christian community had a specific practice in this regard. People would stand and confess their sins to God in the presence of the whole congregation! Had not Jesus encouraged His followers to walk in the light together, to confront problems corporately, to "tell it to the church" (Matt. 18:17)? Thus, James writes, "Confess you trespasses to one another" (Jam. 5:16). But as time went on the Church grew in numbers, strangers came to visit and public confession became more difficult. Out of mercy, priests began to witness confessions of sin privately on behalf of the Church. Jesus gave His disciples the authority to forgive sin. "If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained" (Jn 20:23; see also Matt. 16:19). From the beginning, Christians understood that the grace of ordination endowed the shepherd of the flock with the discernment and compassion to speak the words of remission on behalf of Christ regarding the sins of those who confess and turn from sin. For God has promised to remove sin from us "as far as the east is from the west" (Ps. 102:12). "You did not choose Me," Jesus told the Twelve, "but I chose you and appointed [ordained] you" (Jn. 15:16). To these same disciples He promised, "It is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit" (Mk. 13:11). Whom God calls, He equips. Paul writes to Timothy, "Stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands" (2 Tim. 1:6). It is the grace of the Holy Spirit that enables the priest to serve God and the people. Thus, the Church has encouraged her faithful: If you know have committed a specific sin, do not hide it but confess it before coming to the Holy Eucharist. St. Paul wrote, "Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup" (1 Cor. 11:28), and "If we would judge ourselves, we would be judged" (1 Cor. 11:31). King David learned a lesson regarding his sin that is recorded for our benefit. For about a year, he had hidden his sins of adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband (2 Kg. 11:1-12:13). Then, confronted by Nathan the prophet, David repented from his heart and confessed his sin in a psalm that is used for general confession to this day (Ps. 50). The joy of Salvation was restored to him. People ask, "Can't I confess to God privately?" Certainly, though there is no clear Biblical basis for it. Even general confession occurs in the Church. In His mercy, God provides the sacrament of confession (more properly called the sacrament of repentance) to give us deliverance from sin and from what psychologists call denial. It is easy to pray in isolation yet never come clean. It is far more effective to confess aloud to God before a priest and benefit from his guidance and help. Thus, we come before the holy icon of Christ, to whom we confess, and are guided by our spiritual father in a cleansing inventory of our lives. When we tell God all, naming our sins and failures, we hear those glorious words of freedom that announce Christ's promise of forgiveness of all our sins. We resolve to "go and sin no more" (Jn. 8:11)."

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Eucharist

Is communion time merely just symbol only or does that time mean more to us spiritually? Based on Scripture, Church History and Tradition we get a pretty good idea of how the Early Christians viewed Communion. here is a mini Bible Study Article from my Bible to get your thinking caps going and to get you started on researching more for yourselves.

"The Eucharist"
 
"For I have received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks (Greek eucharistesas), He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me." In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me" (1 Cor. 11:23-25). With these words-quoting the words of Christ in Luke 22:19,20-St. Paul instructs the Corinthians concerning the Eucharist, the giving of thanks. Some two thousand years after Jesus gave Himself "for the life of the world" (Jn. 6:51), there are in Christendom at least three different interpretations of His words. For the first thousand years of Christian history, when the Church was visibly one and undivided, the holy gifts of the Body and Blood of Christ were received as just that: His body and Blood. The Church confessed this was a mystery: The bread is truly His Body, that which is in the cup is truly His Blood, but one cannot say how they become so. The eleventh and twelfth centuries brought on the scholastic era, the Age of Reason in the West. The Roman Church, which had become separated from the Orthodox Church in 1054, was pressed by the rationalists to define how the transformation occurs. They answered with the word transubstantiation, meaning a change of substance. The elements are no longer bread and wine; they are physically changed into flesh and blood. The sacrament, which only faith can comprehend, was subjected to a philosophical definition. This second view was unknown in the ancient Church. Not surprisingly, one of the points of disagreement between Rome and the sixteenth century reformers was this issue of transubstantiation. Unable to accept this explanation of the sacrament, the radical reformers, who were rationalists themselves, took up the opposite point of view: the gifts are nothing but bread and wine, period. They only represent Christ's Body and Blood; they have no spiritual reality. This third, symbol-only view helps explain the infrequency with which some Protestants partake of the Eucharist. What do the Scriptures teach concerning the Eucharist? 1. Jesus said, "This is My body...this is My blood" (Lk. 22:19,20). He never says these gifts merely symbolize His Body and Blood. Critics have charged that Jesus also said of Himself, "I am the door" (Jn. 10:7), and He certainly is not a seven- foot wooden plank. The flaw in that argument is obvious: at no time has the Church ever believed He was a literal door. But she has always believed the consecrated gifts of bread and wine are truly His Body and Blood. 2. In the New Testament those who receive Christ's Body and Blood unworthily are said to be bring condemnation upon themselves. "For this reason many are weak and sick among you and many sleep" (literally, "are dead"; 1 Cor. 11:30). A mere symbol, a quarterly reminder, could hardly have the power to cause sickness and death! 3. Historically, from New Testament days on, the central act of worship, the very apex of spiritual sacrifice, took place "on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread" (Acts 20:7). The Eucharist has always been that supreme act of thanksgiving and praise to God in His Church."

Monday, August 20, 2012

Church Government

is there such a thing as proper church goverment? I think there is and based on Scripture, Church History and Tradition we get a pretty good idea of what a proper Church government should look like. here' is a mini Study Bible Article to get you thinking caps on and to get you started on researching things out for yourselves.

"The Four "Orders" In Church Government"
  "The New Testament teaches that all four "orders" which form the government of the Church-laity, deacons, presbyters, and bishops-are necessary to the proper functioning of the body of Christ. All four are clearly visible in Paul's first letter to Timothy. 1. The laity are also called "saints" (Rom. 1:7; 2Cor. 1:1; 1Tim. 5:10), the "faithful" (Eph. 1:1), and "brethren" (Col. 1:2). The laity (Greek laos) are the people of God, the "priesthood" (1 Pt. 2:4-10). Technically, the term "laity" includes the clergy, though in our day the word usually refers to those in the Church who are not ordained. It is from among the laity that the other three orders emerge. 2. The deacon, literally "servants," are ordained to serve the Church and must meet high qualifications (1 Tim 3:8-13). The apostles were the first to take on the service tasks of the deacons, and when the workload became too great they called for "seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business" (Acts 6:3). Besides serving the material needs of the people, deacons occupy a crucial role in the liturgical life of the Church. 3. The presbyters, or elders, are visible throughout the New Testament. Their ministry from the start was to "rule," "labor in the word," and teach true "doctrine" (1 Tim 5:17) in the local congregation. Paul "appointed elders in every church" (Acts 14:23) and later instructed his apostolic apprentice, Titus, to do the same in Crete (Titus 1:5). From the word "presbyter" came the shorter form of "priest," which finally became "priest." In no way is the ordained Christian priesthood seen as a throwback to or a reenacting of the Old Testament priesthood. Rather, joined to Christ who is our High Priest "according to the order of Melchizedek" (Heb. 5:6, 10), the Orthodox priest is likewise a minister of a new covenant that supersedes the old. 4. The bishop is the "overseer" of the congregation an clergy in a given area. Often the terms "bishop" and "elder" are used interchangeably in the New Testament (Acts 20:17,28), with the bishop being the leader of the elders. The qualifications for bishop listed in 1 Timothy 3:17 and Titus 1:7-9 underscore this role. Nonetheless, the bishopric is a specific office both in the New Testament and in the early Church. The Twelve were the first to hold this office (in Acts 1:20 "office" could literally be translated "bishopric") and they in turn consecrated other bishops to follow them. For example, Timothy and Titus are clearly of a separate order from that of elder (see 1 Tim. 5:17-22; Titus 1:5). Early records show James was bishop of Jerusalem by AD 49 and functioned accordingly at the first council there (Acts 15:13-22). Peter is on record as the first bishop of Antioch prior to AD 53, and later first bishop of Rome, where he was martyred about AD 65. Perhaps the strongest early reference outside the New Testament to the presence of the four orders in church government occurs in the writings of Ignatius, bishop of Antioch from AD 67-107, the very heart of the New Testament era. To the church at Philadelphia (see Rev. 3:7-13) he writes of "Christians [laity] at one with the bishop and the presbyters and the deacons. In the Orthodox Church, authority is resident in all four orders, with the bishop providing the center of unity. His authority is not over the Church, but within the Church. He is an icon of Jesus Christ, "the Shepherd and Overseer [literally, bishop] of your souls" (1 Pt. 2:25). Church leadership does not consist of one or more of the orders functioning without the others. Rather, the Church, with Christ as Head, is conducted like a symphony orchestra, a family, the body of Christ, where all the members in their given offices work together as the dwelling place of the Holy Trinity.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Imagery


this mini Bible Study Article will definitely get your thinking caps on and you will be wanting to research more for yourselves what Scripture, Church History and Tradition together have to say about the matter of icons and artistic representations of Christ and others.
"Images and Imagery"

   "Many people have been taught that the second of the Ten Commandments prohibits icons. However, if correct, all artistic representations of anything would be forbidden. The Lord Himself in the same book of Exodus commanded Moses to make two gold cherubim (angels), "of hammered work," and to place them at each end of the mercy seat on the ark of the covenant (Ex. 25:17-21). The Lord also stipulated that the ten curtains of the tabernacle be woven with images of cherubim on them (Ex. 26:1), and likewise the veil (Ex. 26:31). When King Solomon built temple, the huge basin, or "sea," was set upon twelve statues of oxen (3 Kg. 7:13,30). And upon the ten bases of the sea were cast or engraved "lions, oxen, and cherubim" (3 Kg. 7:16), as well as palm trees ( 3 Kg. 7:22). The Lord bestowed His blessing upon all these artistic representations first by filling the new temple with His Glory ( 3 Kg. 8:10,11), and then by declaring to Solomon, "I have consecrated this house which you have built to put My name there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually" ( 3 Kg. 9:3). Perhaps a most striking example of an image made at God's command in the Old Testament is the bronze serpent that God ordered Moses to make and put on a pole in order to protect the Hebrews bitten by the deadly serpents (Num. 21:4-9: see Jn. 3:14,15). Hundreds of years later, when the Israelites were offering incense to this same bronze serpent in a kind of idol-worship, King Hezekiah, who "did what was right in the sight of the Lord," had the serpent smashed into pieces ( 4 Kg. 18:3,4). So it is not the image itself which is faulty or prohibited, but rather its improper use. The prohibition in Exodus 20:4 is not against all artistic representations. Rather, it is against images, whether in human form or not, which would be worshipped as gods and goddesses-"gods of silver, and gods of gold" (Ex. 20:23). For the Lord knew that such images would tempt the Hebrews to depart from worshipping Him, the One true God (Ex. 20:3-5). Certainly, before the invisible and limitless Lord God of Israel became incarnate, it was impossible to make an image of Him. However, after God the Son assumed a visible and tangible human body, it was natural and beneficial for the Church to create artistic representations of Him-and of His holy Mother, and of the saints and angels-from the earliest times. According to tradition, St. Luke the Evangelist made at least three icons of Christ and His Mother. Every image, or icon, of Christ has significant theological content. For it proclaims anew the Incarnation of God, who "became flesh" for our salvation (Jn. 1:14). Recognized icons of our Savior, prayerfully made, provide us with inspired, trustworthy representations of Him. The Seventh Ecumenical Council, held in Nicea in AD 787, condemned the heresy of iconoclasm (the rejection, and even destruction, of icons). These Holy Fathers articulated the critical distinction between the worship reserved for God alone, and the veneration/honor/reverence given to the icons. In addition, this Council declared that "the honor given to the image passes on to that which the image represents." Through icons, Orthodox Christians are drawn closer to Christ. A hymn sung the first Sunday of Great Lent, which commemorates the restoration of icons in AD 843, declares: "the icons that depict Thy flesh lead us to the desire and love of Thee."

Baptism

is Baptism just symbol only or  was Jesus talking about something more? I think there's more to Baptism and based on the Bible, Church history and tradition we can get a pretty good idea of what baptism is and means for our salvation. Here's a mini study article from my study Bible to wet your appetite and get your thinking caps on and to research more for yourself!

"The New Birth"
"Early in His ministry, Jesus revealed the way to enter God's eternal Kingdom. We must be "born again" (Jn. 3:3), a birth from above realized by water and the Spirit. In His conversation with Nicodemus, Christ states, "Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God"(Jn. 3:5). From the beginning, the Church has recognized the "water" to be the water of baptism, "the Spirit" to be the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the new birth consists of being joined to Christ in the water of baptism and receiving the Holy Spirit through anointing or "chrismation." Salvation, then, is more than forgiveness of sins, more than a mental acceptance of Christ and His teachings. For in salvation we are given union with God through Christ, a right and full relationship with the Holy Trinity, and the restoration of our full humanity. All these things are accomplished through the Incarnation, the union of God and man in the Person of Jesus Christ. Salvation, then, is founded on a substantial union of the believer with Christ in His full humanity, a flesh-to-flesh relationship. Paul likens it to the joining of husband and wife (Eph. 5:23-32). Throughout their epistles, the apostles remind us the new birth is necessary for salvation. We die to sin, then, buried with Christ and risen with Him, we are united to Christ and to His body, the Church. We are cleansed, justified, and sanctified-all in baptism, "the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit" (titus 3:5). Without our repentance and faith, however, immersion in water would be of no effect. Some Christians bypass baptism and stress only faith. Why is the mystery of the water necessary? Because just as Christ actually died on a cross, was buried, and rose again-all through His faith and God's grace-so we must actually be immersed in the sacramental waters of baptism, made effectual through our faith and God's grace. The basic form of baptism is simple. The person to be born again, joined to Christ, is immersed in the water three times in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (see Matt. 28:19). The first-century Didache teaches, "If you do not have running water use whatever is available. And if you cannot do it in cold water, use warm. But if you have neither, pour water on the head three times-in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit." In the new birth, a true mystery takes place. For in the sacrament of baptism, we die, going down into the water to be mystically united to Christ in His death, and we live again, rising up out of the water in His resurrected humanity. In short, we are born again."

Saturday, August 18, 2012

proper Worship

Is there such a thing as proper worship? I think there is and based on the Bible, Church history and Tradition we get a pretty good idea of what proper worship looks like and why we should keep to it today. Here's a really good mini study Article from my Study Bible to wet your appetites to get your thinking caps on and to research more for yourselves.

"Liturgy In The New Testament Church"
"Virtually all students of the Bible realize there was liturgical worship in Israel. Immediately after the giving of the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:1-17), instructions for building the altar were set forth (Ex. 20:24-26). Then comes instruction concerning keeping the Sabbath (Ex. 23:10-13), the annual feasts (Ex. 23:14-19), and the various offerings and furnishings in the sanctuary (Ex. 25:1-40). Following this, chapters 26-30 deal with such matters as the design of the tabernacle, the altar and the outer court, the priests' vestments and their consecration, and instructions for daily offerings. Liturgical worship is also found in heaven, which is to be expected, since God instructed Moses to make the earthly place of worship as a "copy and shadow of the heavenly things," (Heb. 8:5; see Ex. 25:40). Heavenly worship is revealed in such passages as Isaiah 6:1-8, where we see the prophet caught up to heaven for the liturgy, and Revelation 4, which records the apostle John's vision of heaven's liturgy. The key to comprehending liturgy in the New Testament is to understand the work of the High Priest, our Lord Jesus Christ, who inaugurates the new covenant. Christ is "a priest forever" (Heb. 7:17,21). It is unthinkable that He would be a priest but not serve liturgically: "forever" suggests He serves continually, without ceasing, in the heavenly tabernacle. Further, He is called not only a priest but a liturgist; "a minister [Greek leitourgos, lit., "liturgist") of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected" (Heb. 8:2). Christian worship on earth, to be fully Christian, must mirror the worship of Christ in heaven. Moreover, Christ is "Mediator of a better covenant" (Heb. 8:6). What is that covenant? In the words of the Lord, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood" (1 Cor. 11:25). Just as the blood of bulls and goats in the old covenant prefigured Christ's sacrifice to come, so the eucharistic feast brings to us the fullness of His new covenant offering, completed at the Cross and fulfilled in His Resurrection. This once-for-all offering of Himself (Heb. 7:27) which He as  High Priest presents at the heavenly altar is an offering in which we participate through the Divine Liturgy in the Church. This is the worship of the New Testament Church! Given this biblical background, a number of New Testament passages take on new meaning. 1. Acts 13:2: "As they ministered to the Lord [lit.,"as they were in the liturgy of the Lord"] and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, ''Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul.'' We learn that (a) these two apostles were called by God during worship, and (b) the Holy Spirit speaks in a liturgical setting. 2. Acts 20:7: "Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them." Communion was held each Sunday. 3. Romans 16:16: "Greet one another with a holy kiss." A kiss of greeting was common in this ancient culture. The "holy kiss," however, was an element of the Christian liturgy that signified the people of God were reconciled to one another, so that they might receive the Body and Blood of Christ in peace. 4. Ephesians 5:14: "Awake, you who sleep, /Arise from the dead, / And Christ will give you light." This is an ancient baptismal hymn, already in use by the time Ephesians, was written. Other examples of creeds and hymns of New Testament times are seen in 1 Timothy 3:16 and 2 Timothy 2:11-13. 5. Hebrews 13:10: "We have an altar" reveals the continuation of the altar in New Testament worship. 6. Revelation 1:10: "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day." Many scholars believe John saw his vision of Christ during the Sunday liturgy, as the Lord appeared to him "in the midst of the seven lampstands" (Rev. 1:13). Lampstands would be found in the Christian sanctuary just as they were in the Hebrew temple."

Friday, August 3, 2012

Excellent article!

this an excellent article on the Meaning of  Orthodox Icons. I hope you all will find it informational and useful!
http://troparia.com/icons.htm