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Κυριακή, 31 Μαΐου 2020

Living Our Orthodoxy in a Non-Believing Society










Living Our Orthodoxy in a Non-Believing Society


The struggle to remain faithful Orthodox Christians in a society devoid of faith

In this pluralistic society there are many Orthodox individuals who find themselves sharing their lives with non-Orthodox family members. Sometimes those around us are not even practicing Christians, or even hostile to the idea that someone is religious, so the struggle to keep to the traditions and practices of the Orthodox Faith can be difficult. The blessing prayers before each meal can be particularly awkward when other members of one’s household find even the idea as strange. Sunday mornings can also be a struggle for the Orthodox Christian, when one’s friends and family don’t understand why we would choose a service over heading to the beach. This hostility towards our Orthodox Christian faith can also carry over into the workplace. The majority of employers would not even consider letting an employee take time off for a holy day Liturgy, even if it is a major feast of the Church.

It is essential that we not allow our commitment to Christ falter in the face of social pressure, either in the workplace, or in the home. Although it is not necessary to be in their face about our faith, it is important that we remember the example of the early Christians. They were so committed to Christ that they willingly faced martyrdom rather than deny their faith, or compromise Christian principles.

It is important that we not hide our faith under any circumstances, however this does not mean we should be preachy or self-righteous, for a Christian who is grateful for their faith is also compassionate toward those who have no faith. Giving a loving witness to Christ while following the dictates of our Orthodox traditions is a good starting point.

Additionally, we need not be showy about our faith, but it is important that we not hide the fact that we are Orthodox Christians. Making a simple sign of the cross over ourselves before we eat expresses not only our gratitude towards God for our food, but gives quiet witness to our willingness to live our lives in open love of our Saviour. The Lord said if we deny Him before men, He will deny us before the Father. Keeping the traditions of our faith, staying true to the fast periods, and making an effort to attend Liturgy on a weekly basis, is absolutely necessary if we are to grow spiritually.

Most importantly, our dedication to our faith and a willingness to give witness to our love of Christ can have a huge impact on those around us. If our love of the Saviour translates into love of family and neighbor, those around us will see that our God is real, and that our Orthodox faith is truly a transcendent way of life, one that actually transforms our nature. When people see that we are filled with joyous living and not judging others, they in turn will want what we have. The Pearl of Great Price can be theirs as well!

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

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