Word Magazine October 1967 Page 24
“IS MY ORTHODOX FAITH
A LIVING FAITH?”
By Jamie Ann Sabino
St. George’s Church, Boston, MA
There is a saying that as long as there is an Englishman, there will always be an England. I believe this is true for my religion: in other words, as long as there is an Orthodox, there will always be an Orthodox Faith. As long as there is a priest to celebrate the Divine Liturgy and a congregation to listen, as long as there is a Sunday school teacher and pupils, altar boys, someone in the vestibule selling candles, sons and daughters, SOYO, Bishops, dances, banquets, outings, and cotillions, there will be a faith. For how can something that’s pulsing, breathing, and moving be dead? It must be living, and it is!
The church is like the human body. Its brains are the Clergy and the Laity, its skeletal structure is the church building, and its blood is the congregation, each as separate as a single blood cell but all alike in their ultimate purpose of keeping the church alive. But to have brains, bones, and blood is not enough. The church like the body often needs repairs, and you must know how much these house calls cost now-a-days. So the church needs money and it gets it through pledges and contributions, but that is not enough. The body needs a heart and so does the Church. We know what the human heart is, but how do you define the heart of the Church? It is not just people, for if a part-time parishioner comes to church on Easter and Christmas he is not really helping the Church too much. No, it’s the people who pitch in and work. It’s the Adult Fellowship, The Sons and Daughters, and the Sunday School teachers. It’s the people who plan the dinners, banquets, outings, and cotillions, and it’s the people who work in the kitchen. It’s the people who run the bazaars, and it’s the executive board. It’s the people who work. They are the heart of the church. They keep it alive.
Recently there has been a “God is Dead” movement. It has received much attention in all the newspapers, magazines, and the chitchat among social gatherings, but you will not find many people who really believe it. Its wide acclamation is probably due to its slogan: “God is Dead,” which when you really come down to it, it is a spiritual shocker. Perhaps it is due, also, to the fact that for man many aspects of God are really dead. Man needs no longer to gape at atmospheric conditions or celestial bodies. Long ago these were attributed to the fact that God willed it. Now, because of the scientific advancement of mankind, reasons for what were once considered natural phenomena have been found. Thus this facet of God has become irrelevant in our age of controlled atmosphere and space travel.
Also, as a child progresses from an infant to a toddler, to an adolescent, to an adult, another facet of God is destroyed within his mind. This is the God who makes everything come out right. As a child there is the belief that God is like a fairytale character, who makes everything end happily ever after. But along with maturity comes the realization that this does not happen and happiness must be strived for. Often this God is the hardest to let go of, and many people try to cling to it, but somewhere, sometime in life they’re inevitably confronted with the fact that this God simply does not exist for them.
If these Gods are dead, what God is there left? As one listens to Beethoven, or reads Tennyson, perhaps the greatest God of all is evident, the God of beauty. Words, colors, harmonies, and materials, do not just fall into place. When Michelangelo lifted his brush and when Shakespeare picked up his pen, it was not mere chance that the words and lines fell together to form things of grace and beauty. No, these men were inspired — inspired by something greater than anything that exists on earth. This God is also found in nature. As one is enthralled by a landscape or a seashore it is clear that this is God’s work.
This may seem to be straying a little from the question at hand, “Is My Orthodox Faith A Living Faith?”, but it really is not if you look at it closely, for if there were no God, there would be no religion. God is alive and so is his greatest creation, The Church. No, my faith is not dead, it is living, and it is forever growing.