I have an application on my smart phone that is the bible, with lots of bells and whistles. Among them is a choice for reading plans…. from 3 day short topics to walk through the bible in a year plans. Each year it is my goal to read through the bible at least once, if not more. I wanted a change in the normal routine…. and as I surveyed the plans offered there was one that is a 90 day plan known as “The Cell Rule of Optina”. OK, it sounds kind of monastic – obviously a monastic group with a specific plan for their devotions. Honestly i had no thought of who this was or what to believe about the name. Research was required.
I signed up and was thrilled with the first day. The plan offers a chapter of the gospels with 2 chapters of the epistles daily. Beginning in Matthew, and the book of Acts, ending in John and the Revelation. It seems to be quite thought provoking how these passages are assembled together for reading. But what is this “Optina” and why would this be significant. Church history is an interest to me, so i began to investigate.
Optina is a monastic community founded by the Russian Orthodox church in the early 16th century in a small bucolic village about 80 miles from Russia. Known for spending large amounts of time in prayer and reading, seperated from the world, this community offered men who were deemed fathers of the Christian faith for their insight and wisdom at counseling, and their passion for God’s word. The monastery fell on difficult times during the reign of the Soviet Union, but with the fall of communism the property was returned to the Orthodox church, who quickly began repairs, and bringing people to live there.
As someone raised in the Russian Orthodox church, I am truely delighted to know that God uses his Word to sharpen lives in such a way that they have an impact on Christianity and its history.
I will keep reading… and as thoughts strike me i plan to post them here. Hope you are spending some time in God’s word too.
Are you looking for an app for your smart phone that gives you the bible? Let me recommend YouVersion. It is available for both Android and iPhone users with some amazing features:
- Full Bible in multiple different versions in English
- Audio Bible option – you can listen to the text
- Reading Plans that send you reminders or the app can email you the daily reading plan/devotion
- Connectivity to establish a small online community for your own studies.
- Bookmarking and note taking capability