by Fr. Demetrios Kavadas
It is not easy to accept reality; especially if the facts, attitudes, and so many silent negatives to our desires, happen around us.
We all need and open door in someone's life, in order to observe the situations and understand what we call "lack of participation".
Often we become slaves of habitual patterns, comfortable easy conditions, scheduled obligations, necessary duties or impossible circumstances that keep us away from private of social involvement that serves God and our fellow men, women, and children.
Let us face some details. Let us come closer to certain real examples.
Let us be truthful evaluating the present, in order to assist the future, because the past is only the bridge that takes us for a walk into the paths of history.
Church Attendance. Those two words must concern all Christians - especially those who come to worship frequently. How can we remain aloof to the terrible statistic that 80-90 percent of all the souls who are baptized in the Orthodox Church do not worship on Sunday morning!
The sociologists count today an average of four in each household.
If a parish has 200 homes "registered", then it has 800-1000 souls to feed spiritually.
How many of these souls attend Liturgy on Sunday morning, and how often? The numbers become smaller, percentage-wise, as the number of households increases.
A house of worship with a seating capacity of 500 is not filled every Sunday of the year.
Furthermore, one wonders how many are not parish members and are considered "unchurched" by their own volition Is it because of habit?
Is it because the wish to "relax", sleep, golf, read the paper, go boating, work? Is it because they truly feel they do not need God or man to stay happy and healthy?
All the above have been real situation that turn into "second natures" and strictly speaking, press so many to say: "hey, that's my business! Leave me alone! I'm very happy the way I live! I don't have to go to Church to be a good Christian! I don't want to be a hypocrite!"
Obviously, priests want people to go to Church. If they do, more money will come in, the better business the parish will have, the higher salaries will be give, etc., etc.
Some, who attend once in awhile, listening to the above rationale, begin to slowly join their forces. The "easy way" is the "best way out".
In all the above debates, one may easily get lost. For it is repeatedly written that people "get lost" without God.
People become lonely without others to share, to serve, to smile together, to work together, to build together to even suffer together!
Who then can debate the benefits of the energy created when we get together with God in Church?
Here are some answers that our togetherness declares every Sunday morning in Church:
|It is great to love life. Accept life as a precious
gift and strive to make the most of it. Do not forget the Lord
under any circumstances.
||It is great to serve life. The most important thing
in life is not what people can do for you, but what you can do
for people. Lose yourself in a cause bigger than yourself. Serve
God and humanity to the best of your ability.
||It is great to be alive to the best in life. To be
alive only to material possessions and goals is to live in the
shallows. Launch out into the deep of each human soul in Church
where the treasures are! Enter God's palace.
||It is great to stand for something. Men of principle
are the principal men. Character is the bedrock of true greatness.
Do not allow the winds to bend you. Stand and be counted!
||It is great to seek excellence. Aspire to excel in
your chosen work. Adopt the creed of the make of the immortal
Stradivarius violins: "Perfection consists not of doing extraordinary
things, but in doing ordinary things extraordinarily well."
Church is the most extraordinary place on earth.
Come to Church next Sunday! We need you! Christ's powerful silence says: Everyone counts!
Fr. Kavadas is pastor of Assumption Orthodox Church, St. Clair
Reprinted from Orthodox Observer, July 1994, page 2.
© 1996 by Orthodox Family Life and the original author(s).
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