Since my conversion to Orthodox Christianity, I am constantly shocked by how “Orthodox” I must have always been. Nowhere is that more evident then when I get to visit the Protestant churches of my friends and family.
Note to readers, especially the aforementioned friends and family, this is NOT meant as a criticism of your specific churches, but rather part of this continued discussion on WHY I’m no longer happy in many of those specific churches.
I attended one of those churches on Sunday. It was all the things I would have thought I was looking for in a church 10 years ago: friendly, warm, upbeat/talented worship, and a good (but brief) sermon.
As I walked into the cream-colored sanctuary, the absolute only thought in my little brain was “where are the icons.” I was dying for something to kiss, to venerate, to respect. There was no Great Entrance, no time to literally and physically bow in awe of the gift of salvation. There was no corporate prayer. It just doesn’t feel like church without a few “Lord, have mercy”s. And I cannot describe the size of the hole left by the absence of the Eucharist.
The word liturgy comes from the Greek word for, and I’m sure someone can correct me if I’m wrong, an act of the people.
It is this thing we do together. We don’t sit and watch a great concert, or a drama, or a film clip. We don’t clap and sway to the music as if at a dance hall. We come before the throne of the great Triune God and together we seek His face, together we seek His mercy, together we worship Him.
In my church on Sunday, the priest comes out and stands before us, not as one who is between me and God, but as one who helps to lead me, and as one who stands among us.
We are all in this together.