THE PURPOSE OF THE ORTHODOX PARISH: PART TWO
With so much going on in our secular lives, it is easy to lose track of our underlying life as Christians.
This is no different in parish life than it is for each individual. It is easy to view our parish or the Church as a whole as an institution - like a business or a club - and forget that the outward organization is simply a necessary tool to allow the real work to happen, and that is preparing us to live life as Christians in the world each day.
It is a sad thing indeed when one hears about a parish where people want to "run things like a business": certainly, monies must not be wasted, and proper records and such must be kept, but to view such things as anything but secondary truly misses the central purpose of parish life.
Where else can we hear the full truth about Christ? Only the Church.
Where else can we go, deeply sick with our sins, and be healed and forgive, and enabled to start life again? Only in the Church.
Where else can we receive the Holy Mysteries that bring us into Communion with God? Only in the Church.
Where else can we befriend the saints, venerate their holy relics, and pray on earth as they do now in Heaven? It is only in the Church.
If our hopes or ambitions, our plans or our priorities in parish or personal life focus mainly on other things, we have really missed the point of being a Christian.
In our day and age it is easy to fall into this trap, but God has given us the full story, in His Church.
It is up to us how we respond to it.