Making Our Visit to Church ‘Real’
“So much that is put in front of us is so rich, and yet we don’t slow down our hearts enough and our minds enough to take delight in the abundance of what surrounds us. The more you exercise yourself in seeing the gift that these things are, the more obvious the gifts become.
Let us take, for example, the Holy Liturgy. It is a familiar friend to us, we know it well, we experience it often. But how different it is when we open our eyes to the ineffable beauty of what is in front of us. This is the mystery of heaven and earth intermingling! When you walk into the temple, as soon as you feel your foot hit the floor of the temple—every time—let that be the bell in your head that causes you to remember that this is not just another building. There is something astonishing in it, and I am being allowed to set my foot into a place where God Himself chooses to dwell, where God makes Himself manifest to people who need Him; and I’m allowed to just walk in, as if it were my house. Let us take a moment to be astonished by that, every time we walk in.
As you cross that threshold from the narthex into the main church, to remind yourself that for many centuries, in the life of our Church, people weren’t allowed beyond that threshold. It was barred off, and we still remind ourselves of it in the liturgy: ‘The doors! the doors! Close the doors to the unillumined!’ And here, we not only walk freely into the temple but even into the heart of the temple. We say in the prayers before Holy Communion, 1 will not speak of Thy Mysteries to Thine enemies,’ but here we’re allowed not just to speak of these things but to see them, to feel them, to touch them, to taste them; and to remind ourselves that this is an awesome thing, just walking into the temple.”
– Talk by Bishop Irenei of Western Europe
***Now and then we include a particularly thought provoking or inspiring excerpt not from one of our regular ‘Elders’***