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Κυριακή, 2 Φεβρουαρίου 2014

What is the Church?

  
There are many ways of describing the Church of Christ. The most powerful, however, is probably that of St Paul: For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body— Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many…


Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. (1 Cor. 12:12-14, 27) Christ is the head of the Church, and we are its members, like members of a body. That is how close the relationship is between us and Christ and with each other.

This teaches us much about how our relationships with our fellow Orthodox Christians should be. The members of the body have no ego. They do not consider themselves more important than each other. Each one performs its function selflessly for the good of the whole body. Likewise, our head directs the body for its own good.

But how can we be so close, when we are separate human beings with egos, weaknesses and sins? The answer is that we are joined by the body and blood of Christ in Holy Communion. The focus of our relationship with each other and with Christ is the Divine Liturgy.

That is why "going to church" is so important. It is not just a routine; it is the highlight of our whole lives. In the Divine Liturgy we experience the kingdom of God. We come face-to-face with Christ. We hear His Word, we forgive each other, and with fear and trembling we approach to partake of the body and blood which Christ himself has offered to us through His eternal sacrifice so that we can offer it back to Him (Yours of Your own we offer to You…). We do this with fear and trembling because we are not dealing with flesh and blood, but with the awesome God.

When we have all partaken of the life-giving body and blood of Christ, so that we are in communion with Him, how can we not then be united with each other? Indeed, we are one. Our bond cannot be broken. This is true love.

This is the Church.

source : ΛΥΧΝΟΣ A GREEK ORTHODOX PERIODICAL FOR YOUNG PEOPLE


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