Originally Published: July 16, 2020

At the very end of every Divine Liturgy at our parish, we sing these two hymns before we break for the meal at trapeza:

The Church is shown to be a many-lighted heaven,
That doth shine a guiding light upon all them that do believe,
Wherein while standing we cry aloud:
Do Thou Thyself now establish this house, O Lord.

Thou foundation of them that hope in Thee,
O Lord make steadfast the Church,
Which Thou hast purchased with Thy precious Blood.

In the previous email, I asked you to consider what "guiding light" brought you to the Orthodox Church and what has kept you coming back.

Writing Prompt: Would anyone care to share their story about how they've arrived at the Orthodox Church?

I also asked you to start reading the Gospel according to St. Luke. First note that phrasing: "according to." We don't say that these are the Gospels "of Matthew" or "of Mark," because these are the Good News (evangelion, Gospel) of Jesus Christ and His dispensation for our salvation.

Words are important, and we should strive to use those words that the Church uses to describe what God has revealed to us. If we can't find an answer in the Scriptures, the services of the Church, or the writings of the Fathers to a question we have, then we should ask ourselves: Am I even asking the right question?

(Aside: During the Catechesis from Afar program, we were able to share a copy of the Introduction to The Four Gospels, but have not shared that here to honor copyright restrictions.)

To help you orient yourselves while you read Luke's Gospel account, you can purchase a copy of The Four Gospels by Archbishop Averky (Taushev) and begin by reading the introduction.

Don't stress if you can't read all of this at once. Your catechisms and life in the Church are rooted in your personal and communal prayer lives. Make sure you're attending to daily morning and evening prayer rules, coming to services as you are able to safely, and reading the Holy Scriptures first, then add the above material as you have time.

Next time I plan to give you a short writing prompt related to the beginning of the Gospel according to St. Luke, but for now I'm sure everyone is interested in learning about each other's backgrounds and path to Orthodoxy. You're not required to share, but I will give everyone around a week or so before shifting gears to the next topic.