Oh! for Orthodoxy

December 3, 2017

"Blessed are those who seek for the truth and find it"

 

Yes, but what does the word Orthodox really mean? It is made up of two Greek words: "Orthe" meaning right or correct and "doxa" meaning both belief and glory - giving God right glory. So the word Orthodox came to stand for right belief in relation to the faith, and correct worshipping.

 

And although the Orthodox Church might be split up into administrative and/or geographical units, it is the same faith, the same beliefs, the same order of worship that is practiced in every place, even though the language might be different, i.e., Greek, Slavonic, English, etc.

 

One of the many glories of the Orthodox Church is no need to be continually revising the Faith, attempting "to make it relevant to modern man" because the only requirement is that the faith be relevant to God. So many of today's expressions of religion appear to be subjective, centered on human needs and so on, whereas Orthodoxy is objective - it is centered on God Himself.

 

A recent visitor to our Mission came away from the Divine Liturgy saying, with an element of surprise in her voice: "it was all so worshipful!" Of course, we should not be surprised that "it was all so worshipful" because that is the essence of what we do together on Sundays and on feast days. So often we hear the phrase "we should not feel good" when we go to Church, but surely we are there "to feel the Presence of God."

 

The main service in the Orthodox Church is called the Divine Liturgy and the form of this has not changed for centuries. It is known as the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom (or the Golden-Mouth) and if ever there was a time "to feel the Presence of God" it is during this Liturgy for the words alone lift one's thoughts to a heavenly realm by their sheer beauty and truth, and the sense of wonder that they generate.

 

It is often said that in the Orthodox Liturgy it is as though time stands still and that in the worship the past, present and the future are all merged into one. For the Divine Liturgy is not a mere repetition of the Last Supper, nor is it only the expression of a future hope; it is the vehicle for the very presence of the Living Christ in our midst.

 

Now the word "Liturgy" means "people/lay work" so the Divine Liturgy is the common work of the Orthodox Church. It is her main act of worship on Sundays and feast days, not just because it is a good thing to do but because, at the Last Supper, our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ said, "Do this in remembrance of Me."

 

Orthodoxy appeals to many people in this day and age because it takes the faith seriously, it takes fasting seriously, it takes God seriously. He is no "optional extra" but the very core of our being. In a world where there is so much change, the Orthodox Church stands out as taking a serious stand for the preservation of the true faith committed by Jesus Christ and His Apostles to the Church. And not just for its preservation but for its living out in daily life.

 

We feel "surrounded by a cloud of witnesses," as St Paul expresses it, for the Communion of Saints is a very great reality in the Orthodox way of life. We feel encouraged by the example of saints, yes, but even more so by the awareness of their prayers for the Church on earth.

 

And that is another important thing about Orthodoxy - it does not compartmentalise things: there are no such divisions as "secular and sacred" for the whole of creation is God's work, God's gift to us.

 

And for a final observation: one of the phrases that offers a great insight is this: "Orthodoxy can admire the beauty of a butterfly without having to pin its head to the boards."

 

If you would like to "admire the beauty of the butterfly," if you are seeking for "a more excellent way" than you are experiencing at the present, if you are searching for a spiritual home, then search no further, for the Orthodox Church could well be that for which you are looking.

 

You may not feel at home right away but you will certainly be made to feel at home. Many people, and there are "many," who have converted to Orthodoxy have used this very phrase: "it's like coming home."

 

If you wish to take those first steps towards a wonderful new way of life, then why not speak with someone today? Why wait? God is waiting for you! You do not have to wait any longer.

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