Friday, August 3, 2012

I am the Choir

Being part of a mission church can be very wearing when you feel like the only person who knows what's going on.  This is the hardest part of Holy Cross: the unjust resentment that I feel from time to time regarding the responsibilities of the mission.  In truth, we have a small, dedicated team who each do their part, the most important of which is showing up for divine services.  The primary mission of Holy Cross Orthodox Mission Church is to help each of us reach theosis.

Theosis is the ultimate goal of the Christian life.  Oneness with God is the ultimate goal of the salvific process, but the process of salvation is not an individual process.  It is one that we engage in as a community.  St. Paul St. Augustine says, "What I am for you frightens me, but what I am with you comforts me.  For you I am a bishop, but with you I am a Christian."  St. Augustine, Sermon 340 (On the anniversary of his ordination).  This is the true feeling that taking even a small leadership role in the church engenders.

Those of us who are called to these roles are called to confront our fears to aid in the process of salvation, rather than to become stumbling blocks for our fellow Christians.  This is why St. Paul tells us that we must serve in accordance with our gifts, for if we do not, then we get in the way of each other.  Resentment, regret, and frustration are all symptoms of the spiritual disease of despair.  We must have hope, and worship together in hope, and together buoy each other with our hope, that we may achieve salvation.


  1. "What I am for you frightens me..."
    Do you know where exactly that quote is from? I like it.

  2. I got it wrong. It's from a homily by St. Augustine on St. Paul. I conflated the two. Corrections made above.

  3. The flip side of the hero worship I referred to earlier. It happens in all churches.

    It's worse for converts. A child had a question, admittedly about Orthodoxy, at your church once that I was able to answer. She would not accept my answer because I wasn't Ortho. In fact, she sought you out because you're cradle, not even her mom.... No adult around seemed to think this was odd behavior.

    The question was what to do with blessed bread that you didn't eat. I said, let the birds eat it. Just don't let it go to waste or mold. I answered three times.

    "What I am for you frightens me" is a good response! You SHOULD be frightened!! You can't be responsible for others' thoughts, but you can try to manage your own image. Just make sure Alex the Humble of Grand Rapids makes frequent appearances...