Meal after the Liturgy
The Liturgy on Sundays is followed by a bring and share lunch: all are welcome—please stay and join us. Donations of food are not necessary.
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.Hebrews 11:1–2
This is a complicated passage. In our western world we want to see it as the definition of “faith,” ideas about things we have not seen—it is thoughts, beliefs, opinions. And we see Christianity, particularly “Orthodox” Christianity, as having the “right concepts” about God, about Christ, about reality.
Such a view is not biblical and is not Christian. Those whom St Paul praises for their Faith in the verses following are not praised for their opinions but for their actions.
By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.Hebrews 11:4
Here Abel, the first man to die, is found to be righteous by his offering of a sacrifice: to such an extent that he still speaks even though he is dead. But the examples through the chapter are numerous.
By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death,Hebrews 11:5–22
By faith Noah … prepared an ark,
By faith Abraham obeyed … by faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country,
By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed,
By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac,
By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come,
By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph,
By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel.
Faith here is not merely opinions or beliefs—demons, too, know that there is one God and Jesus Christ is risen—rather, Faith is intimately connected with actions because Faith is about Faithfulness, it is about fidelity to God in all we do. Christ says in the Sermon on the Mount, in one of the scariest passages in Scripture,
Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name, cast out demons in your name, and done many wonders in your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness!’Matthew 7:21–23
Because it is no mere belief that gives entry into the Kingdom of Heaven—saying the right things, acting pious—but only those who do the will of the Father may enter.
So we may return to the original verses, and if we understand Faith as Faithfulness the meaning becomes more clear.
Now faithfulness is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.Hebrews 11:1–2
Because our Faithfulness—our fidelity to God—is the evidence of Christ’s Resurrection, it gives substance in our world here and now to our proclamation of the Gospel: because, by faithfulness to God, the saints who have gone before us have themselves received a good testimony.
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the Christian life is not about having correct opinions nor being able to answer a “religion quiz”—our Faith is a life of faithfulness, loyalty and commitment. It is to remain close to the Lord through his Church. Live this Faith, this Faithfulness, and be beside the Lord—for our life is not merely to know about him but to know him, receive him and be united with him.
Feast of the Ascension
Christ returns to Heaven on the fortieth day of his Resurrection and takes with him our human nature to the right hand of God. It is a joyous day, a glorious day.
This Great Feast of the Church always falls on a Thursday. We are blessed to be able to have services on this day this year. It falls in school half-term and, this year, is also a bank holiday.
Wednesday 1st June
6.30 pm, Vespers
Thursday 2nd June
9.30 am, Divine Liturgy
Do join us—Come and see!
We now serve a meal following the Liturgy on Sundays. All are welcome.
Do you, or someone you know, want to join our mailing list and receive our weekly email? Then let me know.
Singers — we want you
We are now more free to increase the number of singers at Church: would you like to sing and join this important ministry. Then please speak to me or the singers at Church.
All are welcome!
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, one God, Amen.
Christ is risen!
Lent, the Great Fast, is a time for preparation, of ascetical practices, of setting our souls and bodies in order so that we may meet the Lord. We fast, we pray, and at its end we come to its completion and fulfilment in Great and Holy Week and the blessed Pascha. We can feel such grace, such blessings, when we receive the light and can sing with joy, “Christ is risen!” But so easily it seems to pass us by—we quickly return to the mundane and ordinary, grace has passed by until the next Pascha. We may feel great faith, great faithfulness, at the Paschal Banquet, the Divine Liturgy, but it is fleeting and disappears: it remains only as a faded memory.
The Paralytic had been enduring his own Lent—but instead of forty days his had lasted thirty-eight years, instead of a voluntary fast his was an enforced asceticism. And we can meet many in our society who are going through such a Fast, both those who are poor and in need and those who are rich by worldly standards lie paralysed by the pool, waiting for a spiritual experience, an “angel of the Lord” to appear.
Not a mere angel but the “Angel of Great Counsel” (Isaiah 9:6 ʟxx) heard his cry, his petitions of thirty-eight years, and visited him. He came to the Paralytic and offered healing, offered life. And he offers the same to you and to me—our souls can be healed here in this life whereas physical healing may wait until the next—each of us is offered healing. “Do you want to be healed?” the Lord asks him and he asks us: “Do you want to leave behind your own personal Great Fast? Do you want to come into contact with me, the one who lives and offers life?” Because the Lord treats the Paralytic with love and with dignity, he is free to accept him or reject him as we are too.
Services this week
Friday 20th May
Discussion on the book of Exodus, 8 pm
Saturday 21st May
Vespers, 6.30 pm
At St Francis’ Hall, Eastleigh
Sunday 22nd May
Divine Liturgy, 9.30 am
At St Francis’ Hall, Eastleigh
Online session is via Google Meet: please get in contact for the details.
Please join us: all are welcome, come and see.
We will be meeting at St Francis’ Hall, Nightingale Avenue, Eastleigh, SO50 9JA. Come and See.
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.
With love in the risen Christ