A New Catechetical Series Based on the Law of God
On Wednesday, October 17, 2018, Fr. Justin began a new multi-part catechetical series, called “Back to the Basics with the Law of God.” As Father noted in part 1, the term of “Law of God” can mean, broadly speaking, any course or teaching that might in English be known as “Christian Eduation” tailored for children. In its narrower sense, the Law of God is a 20th-century Russian Orthodox catechetical book by Archpriest Seraphim Slobodskoy, published by Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville. Fr. Seraphim’s book exemplifies a kind of basic (non-academic) approach to our Orthodox Faith that can be very helpful to believers of any age.
As Fr. Justin works through the Law of God (online version here,) part by part throughout the fall and early winter, we will be posting the segments here, including the audio, slide, and some commentary about each class. The live classes will be on most Wednesday evenings (720-820pm) immediately following our weekly 630pm Wednesday service. (Check our online calendar for any irregularities.)
- In part 1, we discussed the context for the Law of God book and its place among Orthodod catechetical materiails. We also introduce creation, God, the Trinity, basic aspects of piety, the church building (temple,) and more.
- In part 2, we explored some of the basic forms of iconography, we reviewed “prayer” broadly, and then more deeply delved into “the prayers” that Orthodox Christians use in their daily life and the specific prayers used for various special needs.
- In part 3, we tracked with the author of The Law of God as he surveys Genesis up through the Flood, following his examples of drawing out parts of the story that point to the New Covenant.
- In part 4, we reviewed key biblical stories, as highlighted in The Law of God, that point us towards Christ’s Coming.
- In part 5, we reviewed the Nativity narratives, as well as the first half of the Gospel narratives, demonstrating Christ as the fulfillment of the Law and Prophets.
- In part 6, we completed our review of the New Testament, focusing especially on the Passion narratives and wht follows in the New Testament.
- In part 7, we explored the purpose of mankind, the natural and supernatural revelation, Tradition, Scripture, the Canon, and the Ecumenical Councils of the Church.
- In part 8, we examined the Creed in detail and also expanded on the Sacraments of the Church, as well.
- In part 9, we delved into the 10 Commandments, how Orthodox Christians have interepreted and applied them. We also reviewed the Beatitudes presented by our Lord in the Sermon the Mount.
- In part 10, we unpacked what we mean by “divine service,” especially as it relates to how we worship God in the services of the Church. We also looked at the vestments, the liturgical implements and other items used in divine service.
- In part 11, we toured the Vigil service of the Orthodox Church, which is the evening service consisting of Vespers and Matins used as part of the worship cycle anticipating each Sunday and other major feasts in the church year. During our class, we used a Vespers playlist and Matins playlist. You will need these as you make your way through our audio recording above.
- In part 12, we looked at (and listened to) the key parts of the Divine Liturgy. Fr. Justin shared videos and musical settings that reflected some of the range of church music and practice in American Orthodoxy, too. The musical playlist for part 12 can be found here.
- In part 13, our final installment, we examined the features of Great Lent, (including the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts,) the contours of Holy Week, and we also paued to consider the use and meaning of bells in the (Russian) Orthodox Tradition. The playlist of recordings for this session (including an awesome collections of tolls) can be found here.
It is our hope that both this series–and the practical book The Law of God–will be a blessing to you on your journey!