We will be asked hard questions!
Where are they? As some of you know I am a cradle Orthodox. The truth is that I am also a generational, cradle Orthodox. I grew up in the Church with many contemporaries that are no longer in the Church. Where did they go and why did they leave? These are questions we are either ashamed or frightened to ask. I believe we delude ourselves by not seeking the answers to these questions. What is it about the Orthodox Churches in America, all jurisdictions, that greet and speak with pride of the “new” Orthodox; people who embrace the faith, while generations walk out the back door? There are many others who are primarily unchurched or who are holiday Orthodox. What do I mean? They come with parents or family for holidays or for family events either marriages, baptisms or funerals, but are absent the rest of the time. Years ago, we used to say it was “the language issue” or the “ethnic issue” Hogwash! Even in the most ethnic or single language areas, there are still churches which are predominately English speaking. This is not the reason, this is an excuse. We must look deeper, the vast majority of us need to ask serious question. Do I really understand what is going on in my Church? Is it meeting my inner needs? Obviously, by the exodus of faithful, we as the Church are missing the boat. Are we prepared to ask hard questions and listen to the answers. Over the next few blog posts I would like to ask some of these questions, but I would like this to be a dialogue. Comment and let’s try to engage the issue.
Personal note: Today is St. Eleftherios’ Feastday – to my beautiful wife Ria, Thea Ria, Granddaughter Ella, and Son Vastan (Eleftherios) I Love you all. Hronia Pola!
…with Faith and Love
Teach Your Children Well
You who are on the road
Must have a code that you can live by
And so become yourself
Because the past is just a good bye.
I saw this beautiful photograph and immediately thought of this song from my youth by Crosby Stills and Nash. Now that I am a grandfather, the sentiment means so much more to me than it did in the sixties. The lesson you learn as a clergy man who is privileged to offer the Body and Blood of Our Lord to the faithful is that children show if they have been taught well. How children approach the Holy Chalice says worlds about their first Church, the Church of the Home. I have heard many opinions and arguments concerning frequent communion, but none are as powerful as a child approaching the Holy Cup with love and joy. Please, don’t misunderstand me all of us, even children, will have an off day. Perhaps, they’re tired or restless or it’s just one of those days. But, you can always tell a little one who comes to Church often and receives Christ in their life often. They show the love in their hearts with their eyes.
Teach your children well…All of us parents, grandparents and Godparents should teach well. There are many of us who teach, even if we don’t have children. Yes, we are all on a road and for a short time we carry little ones, until they walk on their own. Instilling a code they can live by is our responsibility. The community of faith is all of us; and we all have a duty to pass on this faith. We live in a world that at best ignores faith. Even worse, it can ridicule and denigrate faith. We cannot teach faith only on a Sunday morning. We must live our faith each day and reflect the love of Christ in our hearts with joy. Carefully answer questions of the young putting Christ first. We have all heard the expression, “We teach by example.” The lyric says: “so become yourself,” becoming your genuine self is living in Christ each day. Do this and with God’s help, you will teach your children well!