Wednesday, March 2, 2016

When the Church Gathers

I am currently attending the annual Spring Retreat of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Atlanta Clergy Brotherhood. The Brotherhood gathers twice each year for continuing education, fellowship, worship and a bit of practical business. Every time I attend these gatherings I receive a special blessing in addition to the professional development. The blessing of priests gathering with their bishop is a special event in the life of any Church, but especially for me personally.

Being a part of the Greek Orthodox Church is more than just “where” I attend (or in m case serve) on a Sunday. Being a part of the Greek Orthodox Church means being a part of the unbroken link dating back to our Lord Jesus Christ and His Apostles. For twenty-one centuries the Church has gathered for education, fellowship, worship and a bit of practical business and our session these two and half days in Salem, SC are a profound continuation of that moment in the Upper Room when Jesus prepared the first Church leaders for His departure and the work they had ahead.

When the Church gathers in the blessing moments, as clergy with their bishop, while we are not discussing profound theological truths like the First Ecumenical Council debated in 325CE, we are nonetheless showing deference to the earliest gatherings of the Church. We pray, we share our struggles, we plan for the future, and we worship God. The Apostles may not have had central air conditioning or laptops with high speed internet, but they did have the Church. Something special is in the air during our gathering here at the Diakonia Retreat Center. Please pray for us. We will pray for you.

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