Saturday, March 24, 2012

What it's all about

Christianity is not all about doctrine. Christianity is all about grace. It is all about mercy and love. This is not, however, what one would think, looking at the Church. But the Church is Christianity, and Christianity is the Church. We must look deeper than the externals of history, and more finely at what the Church is, really is, in day to day life. Even there, we may find masquerades going on, but also the true.

Orthodoxy is true not because of the heroic stand against papal claims by such saints as Photios, or Mark of Ephesos. Orthodoxy is true because it sings, and because it sings even in the face of sin. It is true because such saints as Elder Porphyrios can love and bless prostitutes. It is true because of such confidence in the victory and mercy of Christ that it can be gracious to sinners, because Christ is.

Doctrine and dogma are the results of a qualitative analysis of the life of the Church, that is, what the Church actually does. They are formed and accepted spontaneously and organically. When they are formulated in lecture halls or in convocations they often reflect nothing real, are merely ideologies, which the evil one uses to divide the undivided Body of Christ. Anything that resists the love and work of Christ is not Christianity, no matter what it is called.

What is the love and work of Christ? It is what we see Jesus doing in the gospels. It is what we see the Holy Spirit doing in the acts and epistles. It is what we see the saints doing who have abandoned all to follow the Lord. It is what we participate in when we follow them. It is mercy applied to the undeserving. It is love lavished on the unlovable. It is refusal of the claims of the unreal. It is forgiveness of offenses. It is justification of the sinner.

Study the scriptures. Turn to them and learn. They mean what they say and will give you language to say what you mean. They uncover the truth about you, but then cover you with the truth about Christ. They baptise and chrismate you into the life of the new creation. They offer you the water that once drunk will quench your thirst for ever. They feed you with the bread of heaven that once eaten preserves you to life eternal. They are mercy, grace and love.

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