On Stewardship and the Orthodox Life - Part 34: The Orthodox Life

“Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation…” (Luke 2: 29-30 RSV)

The Orthodox Church, like all Christian communities, is composed of human beings who struggle to regain the image in which God created them. We continue to fall short of the ideal God has set for us. It is, however, a pillar of Orthodoxy that we continue to struggle by maintaining faithfulness to the Tradition. In that Tradition, we center ourselves in prayer and worship.

Living in the Church through the Church’s daily cycle of services along with the annual cycle of feasts, one encounters the entire Tradition. Our worship unfolds the mystery of the life of Christ. Hearing it, living it, week after week, year after year, it becomes embedded in us. Further, the discipline of the Church, the fasting and the prayers, also linked to the liturgical calendar, helps us both to follow the rhythm of the life of the Church, and to work back to that image in which God created us.

The center of that rhythm is the Divine Liturgy. It is only through the Liturgy that we receive the Holy Mystery of the Eucharist, the Holy Communion with the Body and Blood of Christ. This is bodily and spiritual nourishment that continually changes us. It moves us along the path toward full restoration of our souls and bodies. If we allow ourselves to live within this Holy Tradition, then we shall also live the same way outside of Church, becoming the light unto the nations that Christ intended us to be. However, we must constantly be aware of our own shortcomings. We fall and get up again, fall and get up.

Yet, in the modern world, there are many who are part of the Orthodox Church in name only. There are many worldly distractions and temptations, and many fall short of the mark. We fall easily into the distractions of houses and entertainment, electronic devices and exotic vacations. And then not only is our prayer duty compromised, we also neglect the needs of others, needs that in some cases are extreme, and in others are simple and close, but ignored.

God has committed to us only one life to live here on earth. The single purpose of that life is to prepare us for an eternal life that follows. That preparation is done in the community that is the Church. Should we find ourselves so distracted by the allure of this world that we either ignore or compromise our commitment to the Body of Christ, the Church, that eternal life with God is put in jeopardy.

 This weekly series of brief thoughts on stewardship and Orthodox life is brought to you by your Diocesan Stewardship Commission.

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34.  The  Orthodox Life

 

“Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation…” (Luke 2: 29-30 RSV)

 

          The Orthodox Church, like all Christian communities, is composed of human beings who struggle to regain the image in which God created them. We continue to fall short of the ideal God has set for us. It is, however, a pillar of Orthodoxy that we continue to struggle by maintaining faithfulness to the Tradition. In that Tradition, we center ourselves in prayer and worship.

 

          Living in the Church through the Church’s daily cycle of services along with the annual cycle of feasts, one encounters the entire Tradition. Our worship unfolds the mystery of the life of Christ. Hearing it, living it, week after week, year after year, it becomes embedded in us. Further, the discipline of the Church, the fasting and the prayers, also linked to the liturgical calendar, helps us both to follow the rhythm of the life of the Church, and to work back to that image in which God created us.

 

          The center of that rhythm is the Divine Liturgy. It is only through the Liturgy that we receive the Holy Mystery of the Eucharist, the Holy Communion with the Body and Blood of Christ. This is bodily and spiritual nourishment that continually changes us. It moves us along the path toward full restoration of our souls and bodies. If we allow ourselves to live within this Holy Tradition, then we shall also live the same way outside of Church, becoming the light unto the nations that Christ intended us to be. However, we must constantly be aware of our own shortcomings. We fall and get up again, fall and get up.

 

          Yet, in the modern world, there are many who are part of the Orthodox Church in name only. There are many worldly distractions and temptations, and many fall short of the mark. We fall easily into the distractions of houses and entertainment, electronic devices and exotic vacations.  And then not only is our prayer duty compromised, we also neglect the needs of others, needs that in some cases are extreme, and in others are simple and close, but ignored.

 

          God has committed to us only one life to live here on earth. The single purpose of that life is to prepare us for an eternal life that follows. That preparation is done in the community that is the Church. Should we find ourselves so distracted by the allure of this world that we either ignore or compromise our commitment to the Body of Christ, the Church, that eternal life with God is put in jeopardy.


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