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#61 What is Orthodox Christianity

Summary:

Some say Orthodox Christianity is one of the world's best kept secrets.  So let's talk about what Orthodoxy is.  At it's core, Orthodoxy is about the Gospel, the Good News of our new life in Christ.  And there's a lot more to say, so we're going to spend a few weeks answering some of the basic questions people have about the Faith.  

Questions:

As you watch the episode, consider:

1. How do we define Orthodox Christianity? Why are we Orthodox?

2. It all starts with the empty tomb. How does the Gospel form the foundation of our faith?

3. The Good News of the Gospel is Christ defeating death. How is this relevant to us? What does the Gospel mean to us?

4. What questions do we have about our faith?

Check out these model lesson plans / retreat sessions for JOY and GOYA!

Links:

And here are some articles you may find to be helpful:

1. Bible Gateway, Matthew 28:19-20

2. Bible Gateway, Psalm 22 (23)

3. Ancient Faith Podcast, It's all about the Gospel

4. Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese, What Orthodox Christians Believe

Script:

Hey everybody this is Steve, and according to some, Orthodox Christianity is one of the world's best-kept secrets. So what exactly is Orthodoxy? Well this is a complex and rich question that we can talk about in lots of different ways. We can talk about our beliefs, our history, the way we act. We'll get to a lot of that later, but to start let's focus on the basic Christian message. So, what is Orthodoxy? What is the Church? Well, the Church is life.

The basic message of the Church is the Gospel. The Greek word for Gospel is "Evangelion" which means Good News. As Father Thomas Hopko puts it in one of his amazing Ancient Faith Podcasts that you should totally listen to: "Gospel is a technical term which is the good news proclaimed by a sovereign, by a lord, by a king, to his subjects." The Good News is a message of victory, that God our King has defeated His enemies and that we as people are safe. The enemies that threaten us are injustice, sin, suffering, the things that limit joy, extinguish light, and life. In other words, the enemy is death.

In the book of Genesis we read about God creating the Heavens and the Earth, the plants and the animals, the whole universe. And every time God made something, He said that "it is good." So it's not just bad, it's terrible when good things come to an end. The problem is that the universe, and that everything in it, exists under the shadow of death. Every sunrise inevitably ends the sunset. Every life that begins in the womb inevitably ends in the tomb. We walk, as Psalm 22 says, "through the valley of the shadow of death." We're trapped in this vicious cycle where sin separates us from God, who is the source of life, and brings death into the world. And death with the limitations and fears that it causes actually brings more sin into the world. This shadow is shattered by the proclamation of the Gospel. The shadow of death is utterly destroyed by the light and life of Christ. And this changes the way we see everything. Death, the fundamental problem of our existence, this thing that has inspired so much terror and fear over the years, has finally been crushed. "He will swallow up death forever, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces." By His death, Christ has trampled down death. And we don't need to be afraid anymore. It's one of the reasons we filmed last week's episode in a cemetery. I mean, death just isn't scary anymore.

That's because this life that God has given us isn't simply some future reality, something we believe will come one day. It's something we experience right now. As Saint John the Baptist preached: "The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." This means that the Kingdom isn't simply coming in the future, it's here right now. We are living members of the Living Body of Christ. Living in a world that is being lifted up, transformed into God's everlasting kingdom. We live in a world full of God's energy and life. Where the bones of saints work miracles. Where wooden and paper icons stream myrrh. Where oil brings physical and spiritual healing. Where water brings new life in Christ. We live in a world where something as simple as bread and wine can be transformed into something as glorious as Christ's Body and Blood.

Trying to explain what Orthodox Christianity is, to the extent that's even possible is not easy. And like we said, it's definitely not something we can do comprehensibly in a four-minute video. So, over the next few weeks, we are going to take a closer look at the faith and some of the basic question people have about Orthodoxy. What is a sacrament? Why do we believe in the Holy Trinity? Why do we believe in God nit the first place? We hope that you will watch and share the videos, and that you'll leave comments and ask questions. Tell us the questions that you have. And talk about these topics with your family, your friends, your priest, and your parish. If Orthodoxy's ever going to stop being a secret, it needs to start with us and whether or not we choose to learn the faith, to live the faith, to share the faith. So let's be the bee, and learn the faith together. Be the bee and live Orthodoxy. Remember to like and subscribe. I'll see you all, next week.

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1. What are Vestments?

2. Why You Matter

3. Talents and Temptations

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