No-Frills: Nothing Fancy

If you are looking for engaging anecdotes and interest-grabbing stories to enhance your reading of scripture, you won’t find them here. This is a no-frills venture. Nothing fancy. Nothing to take focus away from the biblical text.

I have found that people often respond to the illustration and to remember the one-liner rather than the message of the Word. But let us set aside every distraction, even if it would entertain us, and let us cut to the chase. The scriptures should speak directly to us. Before its introduction, before its exemplification, before its application, before anything else, the text must cut like a sword to the heart.

What are the words of scripture saying? That is what counts. In my comments on the daily epistles to come, I intend to let the reading do its work of addressing us personally. I want to get out of the way so the Spirit can direct the message to the place where we need to hear it.

Also, I want us to remember the message—at least for a day. I want us to take the Word with us through the day– not strapped on our foreheads and arms but etched into our minds. I want us to keep the Word in mind throughout the day so that we may consider it, ponder it, chew on it, and digest it. Then it will nourish us and strengthen us in our walk in the Spirit.

I admit that I struggle to be that good soil in which the Word can grow and yield fruit in abundance. Writing this blog has helped. I hope that reading it will help you.

I will try to make my posts short enough to fit on your iPhone or tablet and brief enough to be digestible. Your questions, comments will always be welcome, and I look forward to learning from them. But I will not argue with you. And, so you know from the outset, I will try my best to represent the Orthodox Holy Tradition, the storehouse of spiritual treasures which I consider to be the reliable foundation of biblical understanding and interpretation. In this vein, you may find that I quote from St. John Chrysostom often, in part, because I will look to him and other church fathers to serve as a corrective to me so that I don’t get off track.

I will close the introduction of this blog with the prayer before the reading of the Holy Gospel. I pray for you and with you: “Illumine our hearts, O Master, who lovest mankind, with the pure light of Thy divine knowledge…” (Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom). Yes, I pray, shine your divine wisdom and instruction into our hearts, O Lord, through the reading and contemplation of your Word.

About Fr. Basil

Now retired, the Very Rev. Archpriest Basil Ross Aden has served as a parish priest, parish pastor, diocesan mission director, writer, and college teacher of New Testament and Religious Studies. He has a Master of Theology and a Doctor of Ministry degree from the University of Chicago and has published daily devotional and stewardship materials as well as a college textbook on Religious Studies. He also has published papers and/or lectured on the Orthodox perspective on Luther and the Reformation. religious freedom, current issues of religion and society, and St. John Chrysostom. He is married to Sandra and has two sons and three grandchildren. He is still active as a priest as well as a writer of articles and materials on Orthodoxy and topics of faith and life today.

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