Easter is the central feast of the Christian Faith where we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus on the third day following his crucifixion. The feast is celebrated as a season of 50 days leading up to Pentecost.
The Greek biblios means “the books” or “Library”. It is the various collections of writings accepted sacred scripture in the Church. The Bible is in the Anglican world accepted as the primary record of the revelation of God. (see article)
This term is used to describe a manifestation of God, and encounter in which the divine is clearly present, and normally in a way that represents more than a feeling. The encounter between Moses and God in the Fiery Bush is one such encounter where the term Theophany is used. The Orthodox also use the term to describe the Epiphany.
“Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us.” An ancient Christian prayer, part of the earliest orthodox liturgies, and echoing Isaiah 6.3 and Revelation 4.8. The word quite literally means Thrice Holy, or Holy Three, and affirms the Trinity as strongly part of early Christian belief. It was often said or sung three times.
The word Church refers to the whole body of believers in every place and time – all the baptised. It also refers to the local assembly of believers in any one place. It is sometimes used to describe the building in which they meet, though we would normally use the word Church to refer to people. See article on Church
Christology the the study of the nature and person of Jesus. This is an important arm of Christian Theology, and an important focus during the period of the early Church, including the Gospels and the Early Church Councils. (see article ‘Who is Jesus‘)
Matthew, Mark and Luke, are sometimes called the ‘Synoptic Gospels’ as they have common stories, narrative and language, and they can be laid in parallel to compare the accounts. This has given rise to the theory of ‘Q’ and two source theory fairly widely accepted by scholars. John clearly stands apart for the first three Gospels.
Also spelt Ecumenical comes from the Greek oikoumene meaning the whole inhabited earth. It refers to the whole church, and is used to describe the movement for the recognition all believer share a common identity as one body in Christ. It looks for co-operation and unity of purpose between different parts of the church (see article)
A Lectionary is a list or book of portions of the Bible set to be read in the liturgy. We use the APBA Lectionary. There are others, including the Roman, the Revised Common, and they have variations, yet they follow a common thread and often the Gospels Readings are similar. A Lectionary ensures all the Bible, not just our favourite bits, are read. See Lectionary
From the Old English ‘God Speil’, meaning ‘God News’ or ‘Glad Tidings’. We use the word narrowly to describe the four accounts of the life and ministry, death and resurrection of the Lord, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. We also use the word generally to describe the message of salvation, that God loves us and wants to be one with us.
Zion is the Hebrew name for the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. It was the site of the 1st & 2nd Temple, the most holy place in the world where God dwelt on earth. Observant Jews recite the Amidah 3 times a day facing Zion in Jerusalem, praying for the rebuilding of the Temple, the restoration of Temple service, the redemption of the world, and the coming of the Messiah.
When you come to the Eucharist on sunday the priest will normally be wearing vestments. These are traditional and and symbolic. These are usually an Alb, Stole and Chasuble. (see article)
There are two meanings for the word Orthodox. In the most general sense, orthodoxy means accepting what the Church has established as correct (orthodox) doctrine. The second use refers to the Eastern traditions of the Christian faith. (see article).
Ordination is the sacrament where by the Church commissions people to take authority in some sense over an area of ministry and leadership within the community of Faith. As part of the historic Church the Anglican Church has three orders of ‘ordained’ ministry, that of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons (who collectively are referred to as clergy).
This is a very important part of our understanding of God, For instance when we go to a hospital or a scripture class we do not take God with us, rather we endeavour to reveal God who is already there.
Maundy Thursday is the Day before Good Friday. The name Maundy is thought to come from the latin phrase “Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos” – “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another” (see article).
A season of 40 days leading up to Easter Day. Lent reminds us of the 40 days that the Gospels tell us of Jesus fasting in the wild. Normally we do not use the Gloria during the Liturgy in Lent either. It is interesting to note that we tend to appreciate these things a little more when we return from lent to celebrate the resurrection. (see article)
The Kingdom of God is an important part of the message of Jesus. The theme is however so profound, and it is unlikely to be explained simply. There is a sense of place, presence and event, process, was not so remote and regal it is much more about the closeness of God. (see article).
Justification is one a core themes of Paul’s writing. In short, all have sinned and are falling short of the glory of God. God is both Justice and Love. God declares the sinner righteous as the debt has been paid in the death of Jesus, and through faith is available to all who believe. This is generally termed ‘Justification by Faith’. (see article)
Jude was one of the Twelve, distinguished from Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of Jesus. Saints Simon and Jude share a feast October 28. Jude is regarded as the Patron Saint of ‘Lost Causes and Hopeless Cases’. (see article)
Judas Iscariot was one of the 12 chosen by Jesus, and it was this Judas who led a detachment of soldiers to arrest Jesus at night. The quite marked thing about the account of the betrayal is that it is accomplished with the sign of brotherhood kinship and affection – a kiss. (see article).
A common name in New Testament Times. There are a few James in the New Testament. James the Greater and James the Less, James, the son of Zebedee, James, the son of Alpheus, James, the brother of the Lord, James, the son of Mary, brother of Joseph, James, the brother of Jude. (see article).
The Liturgical Year in a way is a structured learning program designed to ensure that we cover all the key points and do not just focus on the bit or the Gospel that we like. The Church Year starts 4 Sundays before Christmas and ends on the Saturday before the fourth Sunday before Christmas. (see article)
God changed Jacob’s name to ‘Israel’ (Genesis 32:28) and his sons are the twelve tribes, ‘the children of Israel’. The Northern Kingdom was annihilated in 722 B.C. leaving essentially the Jews as the remnant of the children of Israel. Today, the nation known as Israel consists mainly of the descendants of Judah, i.e. the Jews. (see article)
Incarnation is a Greek word, from the same word we get carnivore from, and it means literally ‘to become meat’. God the Son, became flesh when he was born as the child of Mary. An understanding of the crucifixion and resurrection needs finds it’s genesis in an understanding of the incarnation. (see article)
Icon is a Greek word meaning ‘image’. Icons are painted images of Jesus, The Trinity, or The Saints that are most prominent in the Eastern Orthodox Traditions of Christianity. The importance of Greek Influences in the early part of Celtic Christianity means that they have a part in the Anglican Tradition. (see article)
There are two levels of meaning. On the one hand the Hebrew and Greek words suggest separation from the ordinary and given to God. The words coming from the old English are about wholeness, completion and perfection. (see article)
The Gospel is the high point of the “Ministry of the Word”. Normally the Priest will commission (send in the apostolic sense) the reader of the Gospel to proclaim the Gospel in the midst of the people. It reminds us that we too are sent into the midst of the people with who we share our lives to live and proclaim the good news. (see article)
One of the great Bible verses is “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1. Faith for us represents trust or reliance, not simply to believe something, but to be prepared to trust that belief. Faith does not a need us to abandon intellect and reason that we also see as gifts of God. (see article).
Yet another Greek word “Episcopos” which means “overseer”. The word therefore refers to Bishops. The Episcopal Church, is also Anglican. (see article Bishops)
Ecology (from Greek: “oikos”, “house”; -“logia”, “study of”) is the study of the relation of living organisms with each other and their surroundings. There are several perspectives which make this an important area for Christians. We must sustain the thing that sustains us. (see article)
The common use to the term Patriarchs, is to refer to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob/Israel and the sons of Israel who give their names tot he twelve tribes of Israel. They were held in great esteem by the people of Israel. (see article).
A doctrine is a statement about a significant subject in theology with support for the statement being drawn from the scriptures. Most require lengthy definition (particularly after 2000 years of discussion and debate) but can be usefully summarized in a catechism. (see article).
From a Greek word (diakonos) meaning “one who serves” as distinct from a slave (doulos). Today, the Deacon is the first order of the ordained ministry, and every priest and bishop is firstly a deacon. (see article)
Intercession is prayer where we are specifically asking God to be in control, and watching over the welfare of others. In our liturgy there will be a time when we pray for all manner of things, and this is usually called the Intercessions or the prayers of the people. Intercession is what we do when we pray for others.
The Compass Rose is a symbol of Anglican Communion. The center of the Compass Rose contains the cross of St. George and is surrounded by the inscription in Greek, “The truth shall set you free.” The points of a compass reflect the spread of Anglican Christianity throughout the world. (see article)
The biblical sense of prophecy is ‘a proclamation of the word of God’ addressed to the nation/s or people, often in the context of a developing crises. So prophecy in the biblical sense is not crystal ball gazing or Tarot card reading, so much as shining Gods light. (see article).
In 1947 a couple of shepherds heard an echo as a stone hit a container. They discovered the Dead Sea Scrolls. Some of the texts are Biblical some Apocryphal, and some essentially secular. The Essene Community that lived here was a radical Jewish community with similarities to the New Testament accounts of John the Baptist. (see article),
The Resurrection of Jesus is central to the Christian faith. (Latin – resugere = to rise again, to rise from the dead.) We are familiar with this word from the New Testament and the Creeds. Jesus rose again and this is the foundation of Christian faith and, thus, of our hope of resurrection in Christ. (see article)
In talking about God, revelation is critical, for if God does not reveal, then we can not know anything about God. We would hasten to add that the revelation is not complete, and our capacity of appreciate and comprehend the revelation of God is impaired. (see article).
A schismatic is a person or movement that separates from the mainstream church. Generally schism is produced by either fundamental concerns about doctrine and practice or by the desire to exercise autonomy in a region. The great schism was in the 11th Century and is the rift that holds Orthodoxy separate. The next great schism was at the time of the Reformation.
The word has a sense of rescue from some undesirable situation or condition. It means for us as individuals the freedom of sins forgiven and a real hope of eternal life. But more than that, it means the restoration of the whole created order to the place where it ought to be. (see article).
The Greek (hagios), which means “set apart”, “sanctified” or “made holy”. The word appears 229 times in the original Greek manuscripts. Saints in the Bible refers to the whole company of the believers. We are called to allow the light of Christ to shine through us. (see article)
Sacraments are outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace. There are two Dominical (Attributed to Jesus) Sacraments – Baptism and Communion. There are five lesser Sacraments – Confirmation, Ordination, Marriage, Confession and Holy Unction. (see article).
The Transfiguration is a moment where on a high mountain the glory of God is revealed in Jesus – to Peter and James and John. From this moment Jesus sets his sights on Jerusalem and fulfill his destiny. (see article)
Theology from the Greek words Theos – Logos, meaning God – Word so means \”Words about God\”. It is the study of God and various aspects of God. It is an understanding of all that God has revealed. Theology is in many senses close to philosophy as a discipline. Theology takes serious account scripture, as the primary record of revelation. (see article).
The Trinity is core to our understanding of God. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are revealed as God, whole and entire, not three gods but in absolute and profound unity, one God. It suggests at the heart of God is the relationship. This helps us understand why as human beings relationships are critical to our health and well being. (see article)
The Symbol of the P with the X is, the first two letters of the word Christ in Greek. A christogram that has been used since very early days in the Church. (see article)
The Tetragrammaton (four letters) YHWH is the reference to God from the Old Testament. The difficulty is that the four letters are all consonants and no vowels, which make it exceptionally difficult to pronounce, if not indeed impossible to say, and that may indeed be the point. (see article)
Catholic, from the Greek phrase ‘kata holos’, meaning “according to the whole”. It was first used to describe the Christian Church in the early 2nd century to emphasize its universal scope. It is importantly a Church for all People, at All Times, and in All Places. To hold the catholic faith is to be inclusive. (see article).
An agreement entered into by two parties. In the Bible God covenants with his people. Covenants were established in the Old Testament with Abraham, Noah and Moses. Jesus establishes and ‘seals’ the New Covenant with his disciples in every age through his blood (see e.g. Luke 22:20).
The Ascension of Jesus refers to both the ascension of Jesus into heaven and the feast. Acts 1:1-11 describes it. For 40 days after his resurrection Jesus appeared to the disciples and then from a mountain went up to heaven. As Jesus carried divinity in our humanity, he also carries our humanity into divinity.
The Apostles appointed overseers to guard the faith and the faithful. In the Anglican Church each Diocese is overseen by a Diocesan Bishop. The origins of this structure is the early Church. (see article)
Understanding and belief are different. For example, when we say ‘We believe …’ the things that are stated in the Nicene Creed, we are not saying that we understand them. What belief means in this context is ‘trust’, i.e. we place our trust in the truths that are represented by these words and concepts which are in the Creed.
The outermost vestment, normally in the liturgical colour of the day. Typically a single sheeted vestment recalls the robe Christ wore on the day of the Crucifixion that was woven from top to bottom without seam. (see article on vestments)
The stole, normally about three metres in length. It symbolises the yoke of Christ. The yoke is a leather band which allowed people to carry water skins in the ancient middle east. A stole will normally be in the liturgical colour of the day. The celebrant and clergy assisting will be wear a stole. (see article on Vestments)
The white garment, full length is symbolic of the baptismal robe. Alb comes from albus meaning white. The Alb is a reminder of our baptism to shine as a light on the world. The celebrant and most liturgical assistants will probably wear an alb.(see article on vestments)
INRI is used in Christian decoration. They are the first letters of the words in latin “Jesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum” or in English “Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews”. This inscription Pilate ordered be placed on the cross (John 19:19).
IHS is officially described as a christogram – a number of letters intertwined together as a reference to Jesus Christ.
In Greek the first three letter of the name Jesus are IES. Somehow when this came into Latin it became IHS.
Many people assume that it means “In His Service”, which is an interpretation, but not the true origins.
A narthex of a church is the entrance or lobby area, at the end of the nave, at the far end from the church’s main altar. A narthex is part of the church building, not part of the church proper. It is either an indoor area separated from the nave, or an external structure such as a porch. At All Saints’ we enter and leave through the narthex.