“. . . let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge His name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”
– Hebrews 13:15-16 (Epistle Reading for January 30th – Commemoration of the Three Hierarchs)
Now in its 32nd year, the St John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival provides a wonderful opportunity for youth throughout the Metropolis to grow in faith, knowledge, and confidence. As a church, we rarely speak about confidence. But if we read the lives of the Saints, we are repeatedly reminded how men and women, rich and poor, young and old spoke with confidence before their accusers, bolding proclaiming their allegiance to Christ.
While each of us may know one or two people of Greek heritage that possess an enormous amount of confidence, the confidence of the Saints comes from a very different source. Their boldness and conviction was not based upon how much they knew or how important they thought they were, but on a genuine belief in the saving grace of our Lord and complete trust in His teachings. While bold and courageous before their persecutors, they were humble and thankful before the Lord. And, it was from this deep humility and love, that Christ gave them the confidence – quite a different approach from the confidence of people in this world.
Encouraging our youth to participate in the Oratorical Festival helps them to develop saintly attributes. The topics range from fasting, to honesty, to psalmody. And, in both the Junior and Senior Division, one of the topics is an opportunity to directly discuss the life of a saint, and their relevance to us today.
Beginning on the Parish Level, teens in grades 7 through 12 will compete, with the top two parish winners moving on to the Conference Level. From this level, the two youth in each category with the highest scores move to the Metropolis Level. At each level, teens will have the opportunity to not only enhance their public speaking and social skills, but also learn more about their faith from the presentations of their peers.
What better opportunity could there be to grow in Godly confidence than to participate in this worthwhile event? Our Metropolis Festival is being sponsored by Holy Trinity-Holy Cross Cathedral in Birmingham, AL the weekend of April 24, 25, & 26, 2015.
– Julie Moricz
Metropolis Youth Coordinator