How would I pitch Mark's gospel to people who have little interest in religion or Christianity, and don't trust it? That's the audience I'm always interested in, anyway. Or: to people (even church people) who want something substantial, who long to know what the Bible actually talks about— the stories it tells— and to find out why they've been so compelling down through the millennia.
I am John Burnett. Somewhere deep, I'm connected with the Bible, and with Africa. I have degrees in Classics, Buddhism, and Old Testament, was dean of an Orthodox seminary in Kampala, Uganda for three years, and director of studies at another in Johannesburg for two.
More importantly, when I was teaching people who had no connection with all that I took for granted about Christianity, I had to find out what Mark was talking about.
I did, and I can help you see it, too.
Mark's Gospel is a stunning contemplation of disaster and hope. Speaking only somewhat metaphorically, we might say he wrote it by the light of the flames of the burning Temple (and we'll see what that means).
Providentially, our retreat weekend includes the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (o.s.), which the monks will serve in all the intimate splendor of a small Northern California monastery.
Our retreat/workshop schedule will thus dovetail with one of the Church's great feasts. The experience will be unforgettable. In the workshop, we're going to push hard, because there's far more than we can do in three days, but there's nothing so refresing as the clean, crisp autumn air to keep us energized, and generous hours of prayer to keep us focused!
Friday, September 25th
Visitors arrive in the afternoon and evening
7:30 Introductory Session
Saturday, September 26th
7:00 Jesus Prayer, Hours, Divine Liturgy
10:30 Second Session
2:00 Third Session
4:00 Free time
6:00 Fourth Session
7:00-10:30 Vigil of the Holy Cross
Sunday, September 27th
8:00 Jesus Prayer, Hours, Divine Liturgy
11:30 Wrap-up Session
12:30 Retreatants travel home
Saint Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine the Great, searched for and found the miracle-working Instrument of our salvation during a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in 326 AD. Subsequently, she and the emperor built the Church of the Holy Sepulchre at the site of the crucifixion and burial of Christ, which was dedicated on September 13th, 345 (also a feast of the Church and the prototype for all church dedications). In 614, the Persians sacked Jerusalem and carried away the portion of the cross which remained there (Constantine had taken a third to Rome and a third to Constantinople). Emperor Heraclius recaptured it in 628.
As we said, the consecration of the church took place on September 13th, and the cross itself was brought forth on September 14th for the veneration of the faithful.
The monastery has a piece of the Precious Cross and will offer it for veneration at the services of the Feast.
The Monastery of St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco is a community of Christian men striving to follow the Gospel of Jesus Christ, working out their salvation in Christ within the Orthodox Church. The monks embrace the evangelical ideals of poverty, chastity, obedience and stability, striving for unity of mind and heart with one another in a communion of love, having all things in common and living a shared life of work and prayer.
The monastery was founded in 1996. Currently the brotherhood consists of about ten monks and novices. It is located on 42 acres of scenic Ponderosa forest near the town of Manton, California, in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains near Mt Lassen National Park. The monastery is about an hour's drive from both Red Bluff and Redding.
I love this!
Perhaps the best course on Mark available.