Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Why Orthodox Worship (Letter to a friend)

Why Orthodox Worship (Letter to a friend)

The topic: Why Orthodox Worship as opposed to the alternatives?

Dear XYZ,

I admire your passion for the Orthodox Faith. We’ll need people like you in the Church.

I grew up in Florida, so I have had my taste of the Bible belt and the strong evangelical tradition. For a long time, I truly hated praise and worship. I didn’t want to hear it, and I didn’t want any of it going on in my conferences and retreats.

I’ve softened up over the years though. I think this is primarily because I think the Christian God is an eternally loving God. If Christ has truly triumphed over death, than I have no problem with rejoicing and praising his name.

So, there is nothing innately wrong with that aspect of protestant-styled worship; singing of praise and worship songs (provided this is truly the fruit of the Spirit, and not driven by the “charismatic” movement).

However, for me the problem is not the depth of their sincerity, but rather how incomplete their worship is.

If I’m going to praise God, I must confront my own sinfulness. I must plead for mercy. If Christ truly died on the Cross, and resurrected, how am I supposed to really participate in that Salvation. There is a difference between knowing about salvation then singing about it, and otherwise truly partaking in it.

If the Eucharist is what Christ said it was supposed to be, His Body and Blood, than that is the means by which we may identify ourselves with Christ and His saving act.

That is the essence of Orthodox worship. Strip away all the helpful things that give us a mystical experience, and at the core we are gathered around the table as Christ instructed His Apostles. The liturgical worship is complete, not just because it’s old, but because it’s true.

I don’t mean this to be an exhaustive theological essay. Bounce your ideas off of me if you’d like. I’m going to blog this with names removed of course. Stay true!

-Steve K.

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