Saturday, January 31, 2009

New Credit Activity: Read the Scriptures!

To encourage you to read your Bibles this year, you can now receive credit for reading the Scriptures. Here's how the program will work:

--Choose a book from the Old or New Testaments

--Read the entire book, keeping in mind the guidelines in "How to Read The Bible" by Metropolitan KALLISTOS. This essay is available online and is also printed in the Orthodox Study Bible.

--Download the appropriate worksheet from the Worksheet & Study Guides section, at left. There is a worksheet for the Old Testament, and one for the New Testament

--Turn in the worksheet to the homework folder on the bulletin board, or email it to me at else10(at)gmail(d0t)com

You will receive 1 credit for each book of the Bible you read and complete homework for. All books will receive 1 credit each, no matter what their length or difficulty. It evens out at the end as some books are very short (Jude) and some are very long (Psalms).

You could easily accumulate more than 50 credits using this reading plan, and your life will be enriched by reading God's love letter to you. Go for it!

New Credit Activity: Prayer of the Week Instant Bible Study

Every week or so, Father Andrew posts his "instant" Bible Study with Prayer of the week here and here.

Father has asked that we participate in this activity, submitting our answers to him for anonymous posting on the St. Luke Web site.

Each Bible study should only take about 10-15 minutes to complete. You can earn 1 credit for each answer you submit to Father Andrew via email. Simply copy me on the email so I can give you your credit.

Here is the first Bible Study for you to get started. If you have any questions or need assistance, please see me.

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Prayer of the Week and Bible Study: On the Sanctity of Life

Prayer:

Let us pray to the Lord. Lord have mercy.

O Christ our God, You are the One Who both gives and wills the protection of all life. By word and by deed, You have taught us to treat all life as sacred, with the utmost care and compassion for every human being, of every race, nation and faith, of every walk and way of life, those born and unborn alike. Seeking to fulfill this teaching as Your followers, we turn to You in fervent prayer on this "Sanctity of Life Sunday." O God, Who knows each of us from our mother's womb, protect the fragile lives of our unborn little brothers and sisters, granting blessed repose to those whose tiny lives were terminated, as well as repentance and forgiveness to those who have participated in their termination. We pray in the name of the Father Son and Holy Spirit Amen.

Bible Verse:

Luke 1:39 -- Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth.

Bible question:

What happened when Mary visited Elizabeth? What is the key word that supports the biblical teaching that life begins a conception?

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Please send your answers to Father Andrew at oandrey(at)aol(dot)com and copy me at else10(at)gmail(dot)com.

Every week, I will be posting the prayer of the week and Bible study as Father sends them out.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

OCABS

OCABS is the Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies. What a wealth of information can be found there!

They state on their site:

"As Fr. John Breck points out in his book, Scripture in Tradition, historically, the Orthodox tradition has possessed a wealth of biblical resources in the form of biblical homilies. Yet where is one to find such resources today? Our early church fathers, who dedicated their whole lives to the study, teaching, and preaching of Scripture, would be scandalized by the contemporary lack of interest in Biblical Studies!

The Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies was established to educate, inspire and challenge the faithful to recognize the centrality of sound biblical interpretation for life in Christ. The last 50 years have seen a wonderful renewal in the areas of liturgy, music, iconography, patristics, and monasticism. OCABS is part of a growing community of faithful in the Orthodox Church who are embracing the same renewal in the development of serious Scriptural studies and preaching."

Enhance your study of the Orthodox faith by visiting this awesome site!

The Kingdom of God - Book Review by Mark Bach

“THE KINGDOM OF GOD: The Sermon on the Mount” by Archbishop Dmitri Royster

In this book, the author presents and an easy-to-read analysis of the Sermon on the Mount as told in the Gospel of Matthew. The analysis includes insights on how everyday life issues are dealt with by Jesus in the Sermon. The analysis comprises many citations to other texts, thereby providing outlets for reflection from numerous perspectives.

The book begins with an exploration of the meaning of the Kingdom of Heaven, progresses through the Beatitudes and culminates with a line-by-line analysis of the Lord’s Prayer. Discussion begins with the statement that God is love. Once one has love, one can progress through each of the Beatitudes in serial fashion as one continues from the other. A complete picture is given of the Kingdom of God and a path for achieving union with God.

Two themes seem to be reiterated throughout the book. First, God is love. Second, forgiveness is a key consequence of love. If one truly loves, one cannot help but forgive. The opposite is also true. If one does not truly love, one cannot truly forgive.