"Truly, truly, I
say to you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because
you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not labor for the food that
perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life which
the Son of man will give to you; for on him has God the Father
set his seal."
On Monday I took part in an exceptional opportunity to teach and minister
to a large class of students who in America would be called eighth
graders, though in Ireland their school is called a "college"
which indicates, I gather, that they are being prepared for university
studies later in life. This class came from a Catholic school over
the border in the Republic of Ireland, an hour and a half bus ride
south of here, to learn about the role of icons in worship and in
everyday life in Orthodoxy.
I joined two
other members of our parish's laity, Reader Maximos Murray and Johanna
McBride, to introduce the religious education students to icons. My
relatively short part of that was introducing the word icon/eikon
(it's original form in Greek) and the mentions of the word and the
use of icons in Scripture. Reader Maximos, our parish reader and choir
leader, gave a discourse on the theology of icons, and Mrs. McBride
told the stories of how icons have played major roles in her family's
lives. She has written two books, one about St.
John the Forerunner and Baptist, and the other about miraculous
events in the lives of her family involving icons and saints,
especially John the Forerunner and Saint John Maximovitch of San Francisco
(who happens to be my patronymic or "name saint").
presentations in the front of the church, the students spent time
examining the church's large collection of icons in preparation to
write papers for their religious ed course. A few of them are seen
in the photo above
and the whole group is seen in the video below.
the > on the video above to play it. After the video launches,
you can double-click the screen to enlarge it to full-screen. If your
browser cannot open the video in Windows Media format, you can try
it on YouTube, here.
In the video,
which runs under six minutes, Reader Maximos and Mrs. McBride answer
students' questions, then the students fan out throughout the church
to have closer looks at icons and ask questions about them. I was
tremendously impressed at how well behaved this group of boys were,
compared with my memories of my own public school classes at that
age, and think the video is worth watching just to see that.
this event, another Catholic boys school contacted our priest to ask
whether a class of their students can visit St. Ignatius Church. I
hope that will come about.
Jesus is speaking about how easy it is to be impressed by material
things while forgetting the spiritual issues of life, putting temporal
concerns above eternal benefits. Though He made an indelible impression
on thousands of people by multiplying a few loaves of bread and fishes
into enough food to satisfy the appetites of a multitude, most of
them were more interested in that adornment of their temporal lives
than the fact that His whole ministry was focused on saving their
immortal souls. In which of those categories of inquirer or disciple
would you put yourself?
§ § §
my mission to Northern Ireland in your prayers, especially for my
second talk this Sunday on C.S. Lewis and his impact on the world
through his Christian writing.
You can read
my overview of this undertaking here.
My residence/postal address is 227 Crumlin Road, Belfast, Northern
Ireland BT14 7DY, UK. NEW Mobile: 44 7455 980890.
was at the airport, checking in at the gate when an airport
employee asked, "Has anyone put anything in your baggage
without your knowledge?" To which I replied, "If
it was without my knowledge, how would I know?" He smiled
knowingly and nodded, "That's why we ask."
gives generous gifts, but man obsesses over those gifts at the
expense of thoughts of the giver. Thus, God has to take away
those giftsor, more typically, God lets the gifts be taken
away by other men.
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