I have recently been exploring the world of social media a bit (with some mixed feelings, but that’s another matter) and have had some interactions on Twitter that were both interesting and frustrating, the latter mainly because of the very limited character of Twitter. I’ve sometimes wanted to follow up on those discussions by blogging, but usually my intentions, as with many other blogging intentions, have come to nothing.
But this week I had another one. This one was actually sparked by a blog post by Mark Penrith and I should probably have responded on his blog. But the topic that he was addressing just struck me, from an Orthodox perspective, as really, really weird. While he seems a nice enough person, and while I agreed with him in this instance, Mark is a Calvinist and our theological world views are, well, galaxies apart. But in this instance I agreed with him, for he was reacting to people who argue that one shouldn’t pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit.
Now, given the quote from Saint Seraphim of Sarov which is the title of this post, and given that this pretty much sums up an Orthodox understanding of the whole point of Christian life, this struck me as rather difficult to relate to, although I suspect that that is because of the rather different theological galaxies we inhabit. For at the beginning of virtually all the services we pray:
O Heavenly King,
Comforter, the Spirit of Truth,
You are everywhere present
and fill all things.
Treasury of blessings and Giver of life:
Come and abide in us,
Cleanse us from every impurity,
and save our souls, O Good One!
Anyway, our brief conversation on Twitter did remind me of a talk I’d given earlier this year which took Saint Seraphim’s words as it’s departure point in outlining how we Orthodox understand Christian life. It is fairly basic and could possibly do with reworking but seeks to set our beliefs and practices in a broader context which is nothing other than a lifetime’s work of transformation by the Holy Spirit in order to regain the Image of Christ according to which we were created. And so I thought that I’d post it here as a six-part series in the hope that it may be helpful to some.