Oct 15/28 2009 21st Wednesday after Pentecost
Here is a slightly cleaned up and shortened version of notes my wife wrote to teach about St Longinus the Centurion in our church school. She made me promise to not publish it “as is”, because the notes were not meant for anyone else to see. I am keeping that promise, mostly by not including the short life of St Longinus she included. This is what you call following the “letter” of the law!
I saw the main teaching points and thought that this little lesson should have wider distribution.
I love this stuff because it is extremely moral. As my parish had better know by now! “ALL THEOLOGY IS ABOUT MORALITY”. It does not matter if we are reading Ephesians ( which we are currently studying in our adult class) or the lives of Saints or talking about Matins or the Symbol of faith – if we do not hear the moral message, we have not heard the message.
The compare and contrast stuff is just fantastic, and is especially useful for the children. May God preserve them.
Other Saints that could have easily been included could have been St Peter (denied the Lord three times) and St Mary of Egypt. St Sergius is wonderful here since the children had just studied him near his recent day of commemoration.
1.Compare St. Sergius and St. Longinus
S: holy from childhood, became a monk, lived among monks.
L: pierced Christ, repented, lived among those who didn’t know Christ; became a martyr
Both very holy, lived very different lives.
Regardless of what we become when we grow up, we can and should be holy!
2. Compare Judas and St. Longinus
J: delivered Christ to the Judges.
L: pierced Christ
J: realized what he did was wrong; killed himself; soul not saved.
L: realized what he did was wrong; repented; soul saved.
When we sin, even seriously, we can repent and still become holy. Our sin can help us be compassionate with others who have sinned, and help us to be grateful for the forgiveness we have received!
This message was simple and aimed at children, but it applies to all of us. As a pastor, I find that often the most damaging aspect of sin is our reaction to it. Of course we must repent of or sin, and if we do not, then all is literally lost, but even if we are sorry, we need encouragement that we can repent and be successful.
Priest Seraphim Holland 2009. St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas
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