Is Being in Church Enough?

Submitted by FatherAthanasios on Fri, 04/23/2021 - 08:32
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Great Lent

Here we are, the final day of Great Lent 2021! It is my prayer that the Daily Lenten Journey has been a blessing for you, but you’re not finished with your journey. Today is only the beginning; it is not an end. Over the next week, the Church will embark on a different type of journey, one of even more intense prayer, fasting and worship. Holy Week will begin Sunday evening following two feasts. I hope you’re ready.

The focus of Be Transfigured Ministries over the years has been to help you Live A New Life In Christ, based upon the Orthodox Christian way of life. It is a life that centers around, as we have focused many times during the Daily Lenten Journey, on Communing with God. That is the focus, albeit from behind the curtain of today’s final post in the Daily Lenten Journey.

In our desire to ‘make more’ of what we experience during Holy Week, many of us attempt to add layers to our daily experience. There are a plethora of special Holy Week craft projects for children, family fun time themes following the daily themes of the week, and (it seems to me) more and more Holy Week gimmicks every year designed to keep us focused on Holy Week. What happens when we ‘age out’ of all the gimmicks?

It isn’t that I think craft projects and family time activities are bad. I think they have a blessed purpose, but if they don’t encourage coming to Church to experience the blessings of being with God and His family in His House, then the crafts are just crafts. I find myself asking, “When is just being in Church going to be enough?” Let’s face it. There will come time when there are no more crafts to make, no more activities to try….we will be left with ‘nothing more’ than being in Church. Will it be enough?

It can be if we want it to be. For centuries, the Church has gathered for daily prayer as a family. That is one unfortunate part of our contemporary Christian reality. Most of us live too far from the Church to attend daily, and most Churches have long since stopped offering daily services, except for Holy Week. The next ten days can your opportunity to return to the ancient custom of joining your family IN the Church for prayer, together experiencing the final journey of Holy Week.

The Holy Week services are basically the daily services of the Church with the Holy Week scriptures included. The hymns focus on the themes of preparing our soul for Christ, while recalling the final days before the Cross. If we allow them, the services will draw our hearts closer to God, and each other over the next ten days. We won’t need special craft projects or family-time themes. ‘Just” being in Church will be enough.

Try it this year, and if you’re miserable you can always return to crafts and gimmicks next year. One thing is for sure. You never ‘age out’ of being in Church. Have a blessed Holy Week.

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