Father Thomas Hopko taught the main session this morning. He is a father in the Easter Orthodox church. Fascinating man, fascinating talk, evidently in love with Maker.
Three basic thoughts from him:
Everything about the Church is oriented to Christ. All Scripture points to Christ. Christ is present as the Word made flesh. Christ enables us to become divine. The Psalms are God's prayers to himself for us to pray so that we can be shaped into being like him.
The eastern orthodox church does church the way it has since the beginning. They desire to stay above culture, to have an unadulterated way of doing things. They believe that they have been removed from the dark ages, the enlightenment, and modernism. They continue to sing the words of their fathers, tying them to their greater family.
3. Standing Room Only
Apparently, there are no seats in the EO tradition. You come into the church and either stand or kneel or lay prostrate through a pretty long service.
Okay, I said three basic thoughts, but I had to include this. This dude used the greek text and latin words like crazy. It was flipping awesome how well versed he was.
Prayers are to put the mind where the mouth is. The mouth says the words that Christ has said, or that Christ is saying, in the hope that the heart and mind will be shaped. Prayers aren't to connect the mouth to the mind. That is meaningless expression, and not useful in divinization (not sure what I think of this yet...).
Okay, I must actually go to sup with my friends.
My question to him: how can his tradition remain so outside of culture? Is it possible?