At short notice, I've been asked to give a short talk to the village Mother's Union. The MU is a Christian organisation for women. This particular bunch know me well, and it is from their church that I converted to Orthodoxy, so this is an interesting challenge.
In a perfect scenario, I would wow them with the splendour of our ancient faith, and they would go away, like Prince Vladimir's emissaries to Constantinople in the 980's saying that they had seen heaven on earth. I suspect it will not be so, but can I hope to get across the message that Orthodoxy is not just another Christian Sect, or, to quote a hated word 'denomination'?
I will have to take five minutes to give the abbreviated history, to explain jurisdictions of bishops and patriarchs, and to show how the faith blossomed under persecution, became the Roman state religion, developed further in the Byzantine period, moved to Russia when Islam spread west, and finally blossomed as the diaspora forced it out into the west. I need to let them know that the difference between a Greek and Russian Orthodox is the language, and the culture - things like the tunes the prayers are sung to, but not the theology, nor the words of the Liturgy, Office and Hours.
But will this get over to them the Fullness of the Faith that they are missing in their Protestant, Church for one hour on Sunday, I want to be buried near my Dad in the village churchyard, I've always sat in the this pew like my Mum did for 97 years, I like praying because God likes a good chat, kind of Christianity?
I doubt it. If I do, it will be Him and not me speaking. I think the best I might do is to remove a little of the misunderstanding.
Life is full of challenges.