Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Secret Sin

It has been said that Orthodox Christianity is the ‘best kept secret in America’ because nobody knows the Church is present. Nobody outside the immediate Church member knows or understands what takes place inside the Church. In many places ‘outsiders’ don’t even know we are Christians since our Holy Traditions are so exotic and elusive. There are even some who read the sign on the street corner which begins with Greek, Russian, Antiochian, Bulgarian, etc., and think, “Well, even if they are a Church, we aren’t Greek or Russian, so we may as well go down the block to the next Church and check them out.” Of course our Churches are known for our food festivals of every possible ethnic combination, but to the extent that we are Church they may wish to enter for worship, we are relatively unknown. If it were otherwise, let’s face it, we wouldn’t call ourselves the best kept secret. Confidentiality is good, but in this case the secret is a sin. Consider today’s Gospel Reading:
Matthew 5:14-19 (RSV) - The Lord said to his disciples, "You are the light of the world.  A city set on a hill cannot be hid.  Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.  Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them.  For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.  Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."

If we are going to do the work of Christ we must make the work known not for our glory, but so others may join us in that work. It is a commandment of God that we open our doors and let the light shine in the darkness of the world. When was the last time you invited a friend to Church? When was the last time you spoke openly about the Church with your friends BESIDES inviting them to your Festival? When was the last time your Church opened its door to the public for prayer and reflection? If our Churches are going to be a light to the world, we can no longer keep that light under a bushel. It’s time to remove the bushel, open the doors, turn the lights on, and give glory to our Father in heaven. Anything else is a sin.

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