The Living Church
Rev. Dr. M.K. Thomas
The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church has to play a vital role in the lives of Orthodox Christians living in the United States. The Church has to become a dynamic force in transforming and guiding the lives of its members. To achieve this goal, the Church has to become alive and has to be continually renewed by the power of the Holy Spirit!
Since the Church is a worshipping community, it should make the worship experience meaningful to its members. Not only should we participate in the celebration of the Holy Qurbana, but we should take part in the Holy Qurbana. By participating in the Holy Qurbana, we become partakers of the Body and Blood of Christ and become alive.
To continue to lead a renewed Christian life, we should spend some time in communion with God. The Church should provide opportunities for its members to experience the joy of fellowshipping with God and with other Christians. Through prayer we experience the joy and peace that God provides us.
For a Church to be alive, its members must receive enough spiritual nourishment by participating in the Holy Sacraments, by studying the Bible and other spiritual writings, and through prayer and fasting. Prayer groups should be organized to pray and study the Bible and the faith of the Church.
As a Church we have frequently neglected the inculcation of moral and spiritual values in our members, putting our selfish interests above everything else. Our attitude is that with money we can influence not only human beings, but also our Almighty God. To become alive, the Church has to practice the commandments of God. We have to learn to love God and to love and serve our fellow beings.
Any organization is judged by its members and leaders. As a Church, we have failed to depend upon Christ and the Holy Spirit to lead us. Church leaders -- clergy and lay persons-- should be people who have experienced the call of God and dedicated their lives for the service of God and humankind. For a Church to become alive, its members and leaders should depend upon God for guidance.
To be alive, the Church should preach the Gospel and bring other people to its fellowship. How many of us share our faith with others ? We should not forget that we are God's ambassadors on this earth.
For a Church to be alive, it should be guided by the Holy Spirit. Every member should continue to experience the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Unless we submit to the power of the Holy Spirit, we will not become alive. May the Holy Spirit guide our lives and our Church that God's will will be done among us.