Monday, May 7, 2007
First Catechism Class
Saturday I attended my first catechism class. It was a small class....an older man (a former Roman Catholic) who was chrismated at Easter this year, a woman who came with her 13 year old daughter and me. It was a very relaxed class with plenty of room for questions. The big revelation for me this time had to do with the nature of Christ's sacrifice. I had always been taught that Christ's death was necessary as a "payment" to a just God for humanity's sins. That even if God wasn't angry with us (which most of the time it was implied that He was), His "justice" demanded that someone be punished. Suprisingly, that is not how Orthodoxy sees it. They see Christ's death as the means by which He conquered death. Before the Fall, death didn't exist. Death came into the world as a consequence of man's arrogance and decision to depart from God's way. All sin has its roots in the fear of death. Christ's willing sacrifice of himself to death, enabled Him to conquer death for all of us. So for the Orthodox, the Cross and Resurrection is seen more as a joyous victory than a payment of a debt to an angry God. Christ as victor not victim. This is probably a vast over-simplification and I know I have much to learn but there is such freedom in this knowledge! Its going to take awhile to get my head around that! It basically upturns everything I've ever been taught. Orthodoxy is a continual surprise.