The seamless stream of worship with the Ancient Church
Those of you who have been reading my postings are aware that we get a lot of Evangelical Christians visiting our monastery. Many are seeking that which they sense is older and more stable than the present day expression of Evangelical Christian denominations. Some are finding the “entertainment” approach to worship is leaving them hungering for something more meaningful. These people often share their frustration with a form of Christianity that is constantly trying to reinvent worship in an attempt to bring in crowds. They sense in Orthodox Christianity an eternal and unchanging connection with the Early Church.
Orthodox worship, with it’s otherworldly and mystical approach, makes many feel as though they’ve worshiped for the very first time. They recognized the Orthodox worship of the Holy Trinity is profound in ways they’ve never experienced before. I’ve even had visitors to the Sunday Divine Liturgy express a feeling like they’ve entered into a service where there is neither time nor space, and where God is experienced in a heavenly way. One Evangelical pastor even made the profound observation that he’d better love Orthodox worship, since heavenly worship is liturgical, as is evidenced by a reading of the Book of Revelation.
I have a special place in my heart for Evangelicals and admire their missionary efforts for bringing others to Christ. We Orthodox would do well to imitate their evangelical zeal and share with others the eternal truth that is found within the Orthodox Faith. It seems sad to me that we Orthodox rest in the assurance that we have the fullness of Absolute Truth, and are members of the very Church Christ founded, yet seem uninterested in reaching out to others and sharing the Pearl of Great Price. We’ve lost touch with the profound missionary history of our Church, one that brought Orthodoxy to all corners of the earth. In our attempts to preserve our ethnic traditions we’ve lost the vision of sharing Orthodox Tradition.
With love in Christ,
Monday May 15, 2017 / May 2, 2017
Fifth Week of Pascha. Tone four.
St. Athanasius the Great, archbishop of Alexandria (373).
Translation of the relics (1072 and 1115) of the Holy Passion-bearers Boris and Gleb of Russia, in holy baptism Romanus and David (1015).
St. Athanasius III, patriarch of Constantinople and wonderworker of Lubny (1654).
Martyrs Hesperus, Zoe, and their sons Cyriacus and Theodulus, at Attalia (2nd c.).
St. Boris-Michael, prince of Bulgaria (907).
“Putivl’sk” (1635) and “Vutivansk” Icons of the Mother of God.
St. Athanasius of Syandem and Valaam (1550).
Blessed Basil of Kadom (1848).
St. Jordan the Wonderworker (Greek).
The Scripture Readings
12 So, when he had considered this, he came to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together praying. 13 And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14 When she recognized Peter’s voice, because of her gladness she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter stood before the gate. 15 But they said to her, “You are beside yourself!” Yet she kept insisting that it was so. So they said, “It is his angel.”
16 Now Peter continued knocking; and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. 17 But motioning to them with his hand to keep silent, he declared to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, “Go, tell these things to James and to the brethren.” And he departed and went to another place.
42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. 43 Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. 44 You are of yourfather the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. 46 Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me?47 He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.”
Before Abraham Was, I AM
48 Then the Jews answered and said to Him, “Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?”
49 Jesus answered, “I do not have a demon; but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me. 50 And I do not seek My own glory; there is One who seeks and judges. 51 Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.”