Anglican Parish of Derby and Blackville

Echoing the Faith

Echoing Faith An episodic series of explorations of our historic Catholic and Biblical Faith, to help us regularly re-discover our identity as Christians in the Anglican Tradition.

Many of us in our Confirmation preparation learned that the word used for the question & answer form of instruction called a “catechism” is related to the word ‘echo’.

It is a way of remembering that our Faith as Christians is something that re-sounds down the ages to us directly from Christ, his Holy Apostles, the Fathers and Councils of the Early Church.  The Eternal Word (God the Son) spoke all of Creation into being and upholds it by his will.  When “the Word was made flesh”, the Apostles spent time with him, saw and heard the Word of God ‘in the flesh’. As the Apostle John put it:

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life – the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us – that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.1st John 1:1-3

The Truth that they discovered in Jesus, they have passed down to us in their New Testament writings, in Apostolic Tradition, in the living worship, witness and service of the Christian Church down though the ages. The truth of this teaching (Doctrine) has been summarized and safe-guarded from corruption and error by the Holy Spirit guiding the Apostles (and their successors, the Bishops) during the first 5 centuries of Church history in the Ecumenical Councils of the ancient, Undivided Church. These times of the Councils gave us the Nicene Creed and much rich teaching from the holy Fathers.

This “faith once delivered to the saints” (Jude 3) echoes on our ears and takes deep root in our hearts and souls, sounding and re-sounding from Christ and his holy Apostles, through the ages, and into our own lives in today’s world. The intent of this ‘series of series’ is to help us attune our hearts and souls, our minds and bodies, into harmony with our fellow disciples in all ages, to take our part in allowing others to see and hear the Lord Jesus Christ in our lives.

The first series was a consideration of the Nicene Creed (Advent 2013). It was an opportunity to explore how our Ancient Faith sustains us in the New Life that Christ brings as we seek to live for Him in the 21st Century.

The second series focused on a study of scriptures that are used in the daily offices and other services of worship in the Church.   The Advent Teaching Series for 2014 examined “The Songs of Christmas” – The Benedictus (Song of Zechariah) (Luke 1:  67-79); The Magnificat (Song of Mary) (Luke 1: 46-55); The Nunc Dimittis (Song of Simeon) (Luke 2: 28-35) and, finally, The Gloria in Excelsis (Song of the Angels) (Luke 2:14).   Each Wednesday in Advent the study  began with a short service of either Evening Prayer or Compline followed by a study of one of the “songs”.   We delved into Scripture, tradition and practice to help us explore these powerful hymns of worship and praise and to guide us as we used Advent to Wait, Watch and Hope.

In Advent 2015 study, Discover the Gift of Christmas, focused intently on the Christmas story.   We may think we are very familiar with the details of the story, having heard so much about it,  But, is there anything new for us to discover by delving into the Word of God and asking important questions?   Each of the four sessions in this study asked searching questions as we made a close study of the Christmas story and we left with questions that take us back into our daily lives – especially at a busy time of the year – to challenge our knowledge, our worship, our daily living and our relationship with THE ultimate gift.

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