Choosing Orthodoxy is sacrifice for me. I’ve already seen and felt that. I think we tend to be taught in our current culture that we can and should have everything…that we can and should feel “good” in that process. For that reason when I explain to some friends this idea that to choose this tradition feels sacrificial to me they give me odd looks. I know that as I explain it to them it even sounds “cult like” to me.
When I tell people about the practices of Orthodoxy I hear a lot of “wow, I wouldn’t want to do that.” To be honest, I don’t WANT to do it either. Among other things, I don’t want to get up early and sit praying the Jesus Prayer when I could be checking Facebook. I don’t want to stand up for an hour during a service. I don’t want to listen to chanting the whole time. I don’t want to learn Greek so that I can follow along with parts of the service. I don’t want to learn about a whole new set of mindsets and terms and spiritual writings…
I’m too old to put all this information into my brain.
I forget things as soon as I read them.
I get lost in the service.
I get tired standing up.
I am really busy.
These sentances all have one thing in common apart from the whining…they all begin with “I.”
Of course it feels cult-like to people, myself included that the first thing to go when I enter into relationship with this tradition is the “I.”
The worship is not about me. All aspects serve to bring glory to God. It’s not designed to entertain or even edify ME.
The focus of prayer is not me. All aspects of the prayer practices serve to bring awareness to God…to shut me up long enough to LISTEN to Him.
I totally GET that…I have 4 children who talk all the time…
The moment I start to say something they all start talking over me, around me, beside me, behind me. No one hears a word I say and as parent I think I have some important things to say.
So since God is the perfect parent I am thankful that He handles it better than I do. He waits. When it’s quiet He speaks. I believe this. I know this is true.
This have proven out over the last few months of this journey. In the few moments I’ve had where I’ve been able to shift out of the “I” space long enough to listen I can only tell you that I cannot explain the peace and the revelation…because once I start to describe it I begin, once again, to sound like I’m set to shave my head and sell flowers at the airport.
And that makes me sad…and discouraged sometimes. Today, though…I’ll take the peace offered and the revelation and see what comes of it, knowing that I’m a part of something so much larger than myself.