We pray so often the words of the Lord’s Prayer yet I wonder how much we pay attention to them. The Lord gives us the example of how to pray when asked,
Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place,
when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him,
“Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”
So He said to them, “When you pray, say …”
— Luke 11:1–2
The Lord did not give them food for thought or a “try this if you like” response. It is as if the Lord turns around and says to the disciples, “You want to know how to pray? Then I’ll tell you, though you’d better pay attention.”
“Our Father, … thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” And what is the will of God for each of us? For you and for me? That we may be united — united in Christ. I believe it is through offering to God all that we have to offer for his worship and trusting he will make up for what we lack. I believe we have the opportunity to bring the saving Gospel, as preserved in the Orthodox Church, to a new town that the whole region may be sanctified. In doing so we have the witness of other Orthodox communities closeby in Southampton and we join in praise with them to the Father that the Gospel of his beloved Son may be proclaimed to more.
News on services
There is no news yet on whether we will be able to hold services in the Church we have approached in Eastleigh. We hope and pray that they will respond positively. Please keep our fledgeling community in your prayers as we seek the Lord’s help to fulfil this task.
Blessing of homes
It is not too late to organise a house blessing: please get in contact with me. It would be a great honour for me to be able to serve you in this way.
The service itself is short, approximately 5–10 minutes.
Up until now our website has been very basic. I have been honoured that a friend of mine has kindly offered to make it vastly better. Please take a look.
Its new design is a fantastic witness for us — many in our days will look to the internet first and a good website will help us get noticed and known by more.
New day for weekly email
Starting next week the regular email will be sent out on Wednesdays — after this email the next planned message should get to you on Wednesday 29th January.
Truth in the Face of Heresy:
Spiritual Life in the Witness of St Irenaeus of Lyons
The Orthodox Fellowship of St John the Baptist organises a study weekend around this time of year each year: this year it will be held at our mother parish in Poole Friday 21st – Saturday 22nd February. This year, we will consider St Irenaeus of Lyons.
St Irenaeus lived in the second century and was the disciple of St Polycarp of Smyrna who himself was a disciple of St John the Theologian — so, St Irenaeus was the “spiritual grandson” of the beloved disciple of the Lord to whom was entrusted the care of the Theotokos after Christ’s death and resurrection.
St Irenaeus was bishop of Lyons, in southern France, and wrote an important and much-quoted work, Against Heresies, where he justifies true Christian belief against the falsehood around him. This is something we have to do as a Church — stand up for the truth — and we can learn much from the work of this beloved saint.
Coming to lead us in learning about St Irenaeus will be Bishop Irenei of London, the bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) diocese covering Britain and Ireland as well as much of Western Europe. As well as being an expert on the saint, he is engaging and popular.
I strongly recommend you come, further details, including application form, are here.
There is a cost, but please do not let that put you off: please speak to me if you would like to come and we can arrange for it to happen.
Our Facebook Page, facebook.com/orthodoxeastleigh, too, has daily additions during the week as well as on feast days. Please do like and share our page and content so we may reach a wider group of people.
Do you receive the weekly (on Fridays) text message? If not, then let me know.
This coming Sunday, 26th January, we read the Gospel reading from Luke’s account of Jesus entering the house and heart of Zacchaeus.
At that time, Jesus was passing through Jericho. And there was a man named Zacchaios; he was a chief collector, and rich. And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not, on account of the crowd, because he was small of stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaios, make haste and come down; for I must stay at your house today.” So he made haste and came down, and received him joyfully. And when they saw it they all murmured, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” And Zacchaios stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have defrauded any one of anything, I restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man came to seek and to save the lost.”
— Luke 19:1–10
Some of you may know that this is the very first indication of the the coming of Lent. Two weeks later, 9th February, we will formally begin to use the special service book for the Pre-Lenten and Lenten season, called the ‘Triodion,’ but this is a little nudge that we will begin, soon, to make our preparations that we may celebrate the days of our Salvation — Holy Week, and the death and resurrection of our Saviour.
Can I help you?
I am here for you, you need only ask. Is there a way I can support your life of faith? Get in touch.
Can you help the mission?
I am still hopeful that we will start to meet and hold divine services soon: for this to happen we will need the prayers of you all. Please hold me and each other in your prayers before God that we may be able to offer praise to God as a worshipping community.
With love in Christ