When my husband and I became Eastern Orthodox seven years ago, I knew I had come home. However, I wasn’t sure how to make my own home reflect my new faith. This series–”So I’m Orthodox, Now What?”–is based on the questions I asked myself in the first few years after our chrismation: How could I make our home a “Little Church”? How could I instruct my children in a faith that I myself was only beginning to explore? After some experimentation, conversations with older and wiser Orthodox mothers, readings, and instruction from spiritual fathers, I have found ways to create an Orthodox home. I hope that this series can provide encouragement and practical ideas for new converts and a forum for more seasoned Orthodox families to share their practices.
I remember it so clearly. It was Holy Week, and I was in church with my very active two-year-old. All was somber as we began the Procession for Holy Friday. So quiet and reverent…..until my son made a beeline for his father, who was holding the cross in the procession. He ran right in front of the priest and nearly tripped him, knocked into the subdeacon holding the incense, and ended up on my husband’s feet at the front of the procession.
Needless to say, I am not a woman who can speak with confidence about female matters in a convincing sort of way. I was raised to have the utmost respect for those persons about whom I know very little or nothing at all, never to judge them based on my own perceptions and stereotypes that I may have formed in my own mind and heart. In life, man is typically an observer and an interpreter but very rarely a participant. Yes, we hear about or witness the plight of another as outsiders and indeed we formulate opinions based on our observations, but we can only know about the other and his problems but not them fully. Theologically speaking, unless we can “incarnate” ourselves in the very reality of another human being, unless we become the other person, to not only share his pain but to assume it completely as our own — and if at all possible — to exempt the other from his suffering, we can never know the full impact of Christian love or Christ Jesus our Lord in the fullness of His divine eros, or “passionate love”, for the cosmos.
Take God On Vacation With You!
Written by Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes
The summer months are upon us and we must consider that God does not go on vacation but is always present and loves us! Humbly all of us should make every effort to attend our local holy Orthodox Church even during the summer months. When we attend Church, we are able to witness Christ our Lord, and to aware of the Mother of God, who prays for us.
All of us know that the Church is a place for healing, as we encounter the Physician of our souls Christ our true God, who is reaching out to help us, save us, and keep us by His grace, as this in itself is a great blessing for us all! How compassionate indeed is Christ our loving God!