Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Till we have faces

A Christian is a Christian no matter what happens in the Church: Orthodox faith is defined by the ordinary faithful Christian, not by the hierarchy of any Christian community. Fortunate are we when our community is served (not ruled) by faithful hierarchs who sum up the faith of the Body of Christ in their lives and words. Unfortunate are we when those who are placed over us gradually (for they rarely suddenly) apostatize, and we are left feeling sometimes betrayed by what we thought was the Church, but of course, it isn't and it wasn't.

The further a Christian community departs from the holy and divine scripture, the stupider they become, and even the most basic of concepts become untenable to them. Those who pull bible verses out of thin air to support what they want to do are doing precisely nothing. They will do what they will, as all of us do, when we are confident of the rightness of our cause.

But only One is right, and He is planted as the Cornerstone in the foundation of the temple of God, and all the stones in that temple are aligned to that Stone. Those comprise the building; others are scattered about in purposelessness, even if they merely lean against the Cornerstone.

People tend to oversimplify what God has made complex, and make complicated what God has created simple. In the Body of Christ there is every opportunity to show hospitality, brotherly love and welcome to those who come to us, being outside the faith yet not wanting in. And for those who share with us the Cross of Christ, there are other traditions of community that are rooted in that sharing which cannot be distributed to those who will not enter the Gate of Repentance but linger in the world.

It isn't that we won't share with them; it is that they cannot receive what we share inside the Temple of Christ's holy and unified Body. They have no way to hold what we would give them if we could. The externals can be shoveled down people's throats as so much supper, but the Lord's Supper can only be partaken of, only eaten, by those who have mouths to receive it and stomachs to digest it.

The psalmist says, 'You have only to open your mouth for me to fill it,' speaking for the Lord as He invites His disciples to be fed, but those who haven't yet discovered their mouths to open them, how can they be fed?

To find your mouth and to open it is to declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father, and to live in that confession of the Truth. Then we not only have mouths to open and be fed, but faces as well, so that at last 'face can look upon Face' and yet live. And how can we hope to face the Lord of Life and receive Him
till we have faces?

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