Humans live in a state of isolation. Feelings of emptiness, disliking ourselves, pain, and confusion are the norm for many of us. Some of us want nothing more than genuine relationships with other people. Some of us are controlled and ruled over by our possessions, mistakes we have made, and a bewildering collection of other things. Amidst all this confusion we ask: what is the point to life?
Every religion tries to answer these questions that swirl around our heads. Even the word religion means “to tie back together”. The process of healing our broken parts and to reconnect ourselves is the age-old human struggle.
Reality & Religion
In prehistoric and primitive religions, there is a sense of awe about life. Mysterious forces beyond human control both frighten and fascinate us. These forces remain today, embodied by the people and systems of the world that we fear punishment from, and we still resort to various forms of belief, ritual, and “magic” to get through life. It is a human-centered “religion” of appeasing these forces and uncontrollable powers we are subject to.
Humans may not have changed, but the world has. We have been Enlightened as knowledge has progressed, have we not? We have come to explain these natural forces. For many who hang on to their belief in God, rewards are expected. God gives us rules, and if we follow them, he should help us. God is not an infinite collection of forces as much as he is “my own personal” God.
We react to these uncontrollable forces—be it governments, nature, or any number of things—by fear and appeasement or by reason and analysis. Both methods may seem to work, but at a cost. Either life is reduced to fear and ritual, or human existence is played down and God is reduced to a thing we can control.
A Third Way
The God revealed to Abraham, the God who came down to our level as a human being—Jesus Christ—is someone else entirely. This God can be neither pacified nor domesticated. This God is love, and so his is a religion of love. This God is community, and so his is a religion of community—the Church. This faith is nothing less than a personal and community love affair with the God of the universe.
This is the Orthodox Christian faith. It fully embraces the physical world and the spiritual world in all the goodness they were meant to be, while giving us the tools to navigate the destructive forces of this world and the medicine to heal the sickness and pain in the human spirit.
For Orthodox Christians, the end of this process is salvation—perfection, holiness, entry into the divine life of God. Salvation is not a one-time event, but an unfolding and deepening mystery which will, in fact, never end.
In His unbounded love, God became what we are so that he might make us what He is.
—Saint Irenaeus (†202)
Come and See
Orthodox Christianity is not a package of nice ideas and thoughts. It is truth wrought from the blood and tears of real people dealing with real problems. The Orthodox Church is the living, breathing body of Jesus Christ in the world today, and the custodian of hope for the people of the world. In truth it is, in the words of Fr. Georges Florovsky (†1979), “the living image of eternity in time.”
This is the very Church of Jesus Christ. This is the faith of his Apostles. This is the faith which has established the universe.
For nearly 2000 years, the Orthodox Church has been the place of healing for the sickness of the heart, the place of fundamental life changes, and the place of transformation of people into channels of God’s love, grace, and light. We invite you to come and see.
Amidst the raging tides of fads and buffeting waves of short-lived trends, the Orthodox Church is a fortress built upon the Rock of Jesus Christ. Orthodox Christianity is a rich faith that has safeguarded the fullness of the universe’s truth through the centuries, and by Christ’s promise (Matthew 16:18), will continue until his glorious return.