In this email
Message from Fr Alexander — The Gospel of Christ
Sharing the Church
Live stream information
News of Future Services
Saints and Feasts — 7th–15th October
Offer of help
What is the Gospel? Why is it important? Is it not enough to live a good life, a kind life, an unselfish life?
Gospel (singular) was a largely unknown word in the Roman world but gospels (plural) were. Before the Emperor—or a general, a senator or a senior official—visited a town a herald would come and read out the list of his accomplishments (gospels) so the townsfolk would know who is coming and how to prepare. If the Emperor was angry they might ask the herald “What must we do to assuage his anger?”
This idea of gospels was taken up by the Church from the start—”The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” as used by Mark at the beginning of his account (1:1)—but used in the singular, Gospel. The Gospel of Christ, the Gospel of his victory over sin and death, the Gospel that he will come again to judge the living and the dead.
After St Peter’s first sermon on the day of Pentecost (see Acts 2:14–36), the very first response of the people was,
Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37)
They understood, in other words, that hearing this Gospel of Christ required them to do something. Not to think something, to have ideas about something, but to do something. The Apostle replied,
“Repent, and let every one of you be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:38f)
Having heard the Gospel of Christ, what did you do? What are you doing? Having heard the Gospel of Christ we cannot continue on the same path, seeking the same goals: we are transformed and transfigured, we have been enlightened—”We have seen the true light,” as we sing in the Liturgy, “we have received the heavenly Spirit.”
But, even moreso, we are to be his heralds in the world. It is our job, our role, to draw in as many to Christ as we can, “woe is me,” says the Apostle Paul, yet these apply to us all, “if I do not preach the gospel!” (1 Cor. 9:16) This is the responsibility of the entire Church, to be his heralds here in Hampshire and throughout the world. We can feel our lives so transformed by faith in Christ that we would consider it the most unloving act possible to deny the opportunity to our families, our friends, our neighbours, our fellow citizens—even more strongly—our fellow human beings.
God is calling each of you to be his herald on your square yard of land by being transformed into his likeness. Accept this calling, be his herald, by opening your heart to the Lord.
Sharing the Church
How do we guard the Church? What is our responsibility?
As we move further into autumn worries are increasing on the possible increase in the spread of the disease. Yet there is a division: one side is accused of scare-mongering while the other of irresponsibility. The situation is becoming fractious and each side’s position is becoming more entrenched.
Our duty as Christians is to stand for truth and to bring about unity. But to stand for truth does not mean to ridicule nor deride those who are wrong, it is to act patiently, humbly, lovingly: in other words to be Christ-like. We do not shy away from the truth nor do we separate ourselves from others.
The Church has a clear position as given by our bishops: we are to obey the civil authorities on these matters. We follow the law while maintaining our Faith and thus provide a witness—a martyrdom—of the Gospel. And then, by trusting in the power of God and not our own, we may become an icon of unity and concord.
Would you like help? Advice? Support? Then let me know.
The Monastery of Saints Antony and Cuthbert, Shropshire, is live-streaming its services for all who are unable to go to their own churches. These are over YouTube and can be accessed here:
Usually Vespers on Saturday evenings at 5 pm and Matins and Liturgy on Sunday mornings from 7.30 am.
News of Future Services
We want to start to hold services together: things are difficult now but they remind us that we can do nothing by our own power. Only when we place our hope in the Lord—and not in our own skills, talents, ideas, imaginations—will we be able to build a house for the Lord.
Have a look at our website — orthodoxeastleigh.uk
If you click on the “Blog” link, or directly here, you will see all past emails as well as sermons etc.
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.
Saints and Feasts
Wednesday 7th October — Martyrs Sergius and Bacchus in Syria (290–303). Virgin-Martyr Pelagia of Tarsus (290). St Dubtach, Bishop of Armagh (513). Martyr Princess Osyth of Chich in Essex (c 700).
Thursday 8th — Virgin-Martyr Pelagia of Antioch (303).
Friday 9th — Holy Apostle James, the son of Alphaeus (1st). Righteous Abraham and his nephew Lot. Hieromartyr Dionysios (Denis) of Paris (c 250). St Publia the Confessor, Deaconess, of Antioch (4th).
Saturday 10th — Martyrs Eulampios and Eulampia, at Nicomedia (303–11). St Paulinus, Bishop of York (644).
Sunday 11th — 18th after Pentecost. Commemoration of the Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council (787). Apostle Philip of the Seventy, one of the Seven Deacons (1st). St Ethelburga, Abbess of Barking (c 676). St Kenneth (Cainnech), Abbot of Aghaboe (7th).
Monday 12th — Martyrs Probos, Tarachos, and Andrinikos, at Tarsus in Cilicia (304). Edwin, King and Martyr (633). St Wilfrid, Bishop of York (709). St Symeon the New Theologian (1022).
Tuesday 13th — Martyrs Carpos, Papylos, Agathadoros and Agathoniki, at Pergamum (251).
Wednesday 14th — St Paraskevi the Younger, whose relics are at Iasi (Romania, 11th). Martyrs Nazarius, Gervase, Protasius and Celsius, of Milan (1st). St Kosmas the Hymnographer, Bishop of Maiuma (c 787).
Thursday 15th — Martyr Lucian, Presbyter of Antioch (312).
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?
Yes, absolutely. Offer yourselves to the Lord: pray! Make available to him all your talents and ask him how he would like you to use them — listen for his reply.
I ask your prayers for me.
With love in Christ