My beloved brothers and sisters, this is our fifth letter of our series on the orderly matters in our beloved church. If you had a chance to read our previous letters, please go to the church website and let us hear from you by commenting on these topics.
In this month’s newsletter we are going to talk about attitude.
The word means the manner of our behavior and the way we deal with one another. No one denies that in a church as large as ours, we come from different backgrounds, cultures, education, social status and even habits and traditions. As a result, conflict might arise between church members and hence a spirit of discomfort develops
in our hearts. So what some might consider a courteous act others could consider it plain and simple rude action. A great example is that during communion line, while some might consider it pleasant and appropriate to greet someone else by a pleasant smile and may be nodding of the head, others consider this to be a time totally dedicated to the Lord, and hence any form of greetings wouldn’t be acceptable or appropriate, and doesn’t answer the greeting back, and immediately contentions starts while both have perfect intentions. Other example is when our young youth feel shy approaching more older church members. While the younger feel shy and intimidated, the older church member expects a greeting. But in other times, we intentionally become cold hearted and bring the dealing of the world into our churches and even during our services, as we sometimes look down on one another, giving one another “the look”, a sign and a signal of disrespect and insult. Brothers and sisters, please forgive me as I’m about to say that sometimes we are just simply vulgar, rude and inconsiderate as we become loud in our speech, loud in our laughs, we use hands motions and gestures that express vulgarity and rudeness. Again, brothers and sisters, I truly ask for your forgiveness if I have offended anyone with my last statement.
S t. Paul tells the Colossians “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do” (Col 3:12-13). A meek person is never loud in his/her speech nor inconsiderate in his/her actions, but rather does everything in quiet and humble approach; always, considering the surrounding circumstances, recognizing that there is a place and a time for everything. Yes, we ought to behave the same inside and outside the church, but we should be extra careful when we are in the house of God. Again, I hope I’m not offending anyone, but a meek person wouldn’t speed up in the church parking lot, wouldn’t kick a ball in the parking lot on a Sunday while elders and moms are around. Laying a side the discussion about, is smoking a sin or not, but a meek person wouldn’t smoke in the church parking lot, just because it’s has been culturally unacceptable and has been proven to be a health hazard. A person with a Christian attitude would consider others and their comfort before his/hers.
But on the other hand, let us all be forgiving one another, having simple and pure eyes, not judging that we might not be judged. Let’s embrace the grace of God which allowed us to be in the church as His Holy dwelling place, recognizing it’s a privilege to be there. Let’s embrace one another with a smile and open heart, in meekness and humility. Let’s greet one another even when we don’t know each others, let’s step out of our comfort zone and break free from the bondage of shyness and respectfully cross over the bridge of age and culture gap. Let us be like our Lord, who being reviled wouldn’t revile or retaliate. I truly believe that none of these issues and matters would have arisen among us, if we truly grow in virtue and embracing the spirit of Orthodoxy.