Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Our Worship is a Heavenly Worship

New Testament Challenge, Day 39 – Revelation 1-11

Since it is the Holy Tradition of the Church to not preach publicly or read liturgically directly from Revelation, I will not be blogging directly about Revelation and what it may or may not be warning us. It is sufficient (see my blog from November 18th) to live as if the Lord will return at any moment.

Rather than wax and wane over the prophecies found in this book, I would like to direct attention to the very clear expression of heavenly worship found herein. Saint John witnessed incense, hymns, solemn processions, bowing, prostrating, singing, proclaiming the world of God; these all are integral aspects to our Holy Orthodox Tradition and worship. Even the glory with which the Throne and Altar of God is decorated and adorned has been expressed in our Churches through to the present day.

The other day someone “challenged” me in regard to the decorations of the Church for Christmas. It was suggested that fewer flowers in exchange for feeding the poor was a “better” example to offer as Christians. Indeed each year during the holidays Orthodox Christians are challenged to spend less money IN the Church and more money doing the work OF the Church. My response to this is the same as Christ when Mary Magdalene spent an entire year’s wage on a single flask of oil and poured it on His feet. “Let her alone. For the poor you have with you always.” (Ref John 12.1-11) The Gospel continues to call into question the intention of Judas in his challenge of the anointing. Likewise, based upon my personal experience, those who challenge the decorating of churches rather than feeding the poor are also lacking in their willingness to serve the poor. Ultimately we must accomplish both daily – honor God in His House and by caring for His children. It isn’t an “either, or” but a “both, and” situation.

In an environment when “American Christianity” limits our relationship with God to a “mental exercise” rather than being in communion with God, we should stand up boldly and willingly worship God is all His Glory according to the Holy Tradition of the Church.

No comments: