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The Vanishing Pascha Multitudes

April 21st, 2009 by Fr. Vasile

Pascha_multitudesIt is always uplifting to see the multitudes filling the Church for the beautiful services of Holy Week and Pascha. At this time most of the Churches seem too small to accommodate all the people wanting to receive Gods blessing. There is however one question that arises naturally: where are these people during the rest of the year?

I think this question as uncomfortable as May be for some is legitimate because as responsible members of our communities we need to understand the reasons that prevent people that are Christians even Greek-Orthodox Christians from attending Church more regularly.

If we would ask any of the enthusiastic participants at the beginning of the Paschal Service if they believe in Christ they will all respond without hesitation: yes we do! But if we continue the inquiry and ask also why they dont come to Church many will say I have Christ in my heart and I dont need to come to Church to be a Christian.

These people are technically Christians they are baptized and carry the names of some of our greates saints; but withour realizing it they are not actually living their faith. They are happy with a theoretical faith with a faith that is acknowledged mentally but is not practically expressed in any outward form like Church attendance or participation in stewardship.

The roots of this syndrome lay in a coarse misunderstanding of the Christian faith. For many  faith is reduced to an intellectual acknowledgment of God and arriving at this stage they believe they truly know God. They live with the idea that Christianity is a sort of philosophy or theoretical concept that once understood we can just toss it aside and maybe review it once or twice a year for the sake of our grand mothers. From their perspective God can be anything: a generic supreme being an energy a force field it doesnt really matter because it is too distant anyway.

But nothing is more wrong than this. Christianity is not a sterile philosophy about life but is the very accomplishment of lifes maximum potential. Christianity is lived not only acknowledged. Our God is not a concept or an obscure pagan energy but is a personal God above anything else.

God is a Trinity of persons: Father Son and Holy Spirit. These three Persons relate to one another and love one another in the most perfect harmony that one could imagine. As humans we are called to participate in this relationship to partake in the love of the Trinity and adopt it as a model for our lives. We are called therefore to actively participate in life and to relate with God and one another not just to passively conceptualize a dry code of laws imposed to us from outside.

Jesus Christ is the greatest illustration of this fact because He is the One that in His great love for mankind emptied Himself of His heavenly glory and became one of us bearing flesh and living in the world. He came down to our level to live with us so we can develop a true relationship with Him so we can call Him our Friend and our Brother.

He did not wanted to stay in Heavens watching implacably the predestined faith of humankind; He wanted to give us the opportunity to know Him to understand Him and ultimately to love Him in return. He walked on the earth to be with us and will be with us forever. He established the Church that holds His Mysteries the Sacraments that keep us close to Him and the Father through the Holy Spirit.

In this way God made Himself easily accessible to us. One thing however is left for us to do: to simply come and meet Him. If we choose to stay at home the whole year how can we develop a relationship with Christ? Can we be friends with someone that we only see once a year for Pascha with so many other people around? We can at best be acquainted to Him but we are far from being His family. We need many more opportunities to meet until we reach this stage.

If we want Christ to be our friend we need to start now to visit Him regularly offering Him the best we can our lives because He already did the same for us: He gave His life so we can live forever.

Hristos Anesti! Christ is Risen!

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  • To draw people to the Church we must draw people to the point of the Church the only Head of His Church the only Rock the Church is founded upon the only Head of the Universe-Our GodLord and Saviour Jesus of Nazareth the Divine Jew. We do this by focusing on Him seeking Him worshiping Him praying to Him. If anone else anything else is the focus then we are spirtually dead and the people will not come. Why should they ?
    If we do not make Lord Jesus real to ourselves we cant make Him real to anyone else. If He isnt real then nothing else in the Church will be real. Are we spiritually alive in Lord Jesus or are we spirtiually dead ?

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