One of the things Orthodoxy is teaching me about this Christian life (and it is a life, not an ideology) is that it cannot be lived out without a community.
Last night/this morning, as I belted out, probably off-key, our Paschal hymns, I looked around me at the faces of my family—and I thought about how all of us had had long journeys before we got to St. John Chrysostom Church, but now we were on this journey together.
Some are here fleeing political upheaval in their countries, some fleeing war, some for better opportunities, some for job transfers, some never left our region. We came to our church from atheism, agnosticism, cults, heretical churches, no churches, churches in schism.
But we’re all here now.
We have troubled kids, good kids, no kids. We have good parents, bad parents, or deceased parents.
And regardless of the language we speak, we are everybody.
We are each other’s problems, each other’s joys, each other’s sorrows, and each other’s love.
Our church basement holds maybe 60 people comfortably, which makes it difficult for a church of 150, especially on the high feast days. But we work it out. We move almost in shifts around the room, taking each other’s seats, sliding chairs around, passing food, getting drinks for each other. It’s a kind of dance with us.
Last year, this (Orthodoxy) was all so new to me. In some ways it still is, but with my church family, and they with me, it is developing a sort of Velveteen Rabbit quality—ears stretched out, whiskers bent, and noses kissed off. We are a mess. But we are His.
To my family at St. John’s—
I love you all, and I am honored to be a part of this House, this family.