Thoughts on the Church and the Parish

Three Thoughts On the Church and the Parish

We cannot see the Church as a sort of aesthetic perfection and limit ourselves to aesthetic swooning.  Our God-given freedom calls us to activity and struggle.  And it would be a great lie to tell searching souls: ‘Go to church, because there you will find peace.’  The opposite is true.  She (Mother Maria Skobtsova) tells those who are at peace and asleep:  ‘Go to church, because there you will feel real anguish for your sins, for your perdition, for the world’s sins and perdition.  There you will feel an unappeasable hunger for Christ’s truth.  There, instead of becoming lukewarm, you will be set on fire; instead of pacified, you will become alarmed; instead of learning the wisdom of the world you will become fools for Christ.'” (Fr. Michael Plekon) 

Overall, a Church that crucifies instead of being crucified, that experiences worldly glory instead of the glory of the Cross, a Church that falls to, instead of overcoming, Christ’s three temptations in the desert, is a secularized church.  Such a Church is destined to accommodate a fallen society and to encourage it to remain in its fallen state; it spreads disappointment and despair to those who seek something deeper and more substantive.”  (Metropolitan Hierotheos) 

“We can never attain to life in the Kingdom without reaching out as Jesus himself did, to meet the needs of those about us, and to embrace them with understanding, compassion and self-giving love.  This is the work of every Christian, but it is also the work of our ecclesial communities, our parishes.  The Way into the Kingdom of Heaven, for ourselves as individuals and as members of the Body of Christ, is through an authentic stewardship of love.  Without it, once again, our parish life degenerates into the life of a social club, which serves neither us nor God’s world.”  (Fr. John Breck)

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