When we think about the Church – if we think about the Church at all – we must admit that we have alienated ourselves from its true, original meaning . There are people for whom the Church is a place to liberate their unfulfilled ambitions. There are also those for whom the Church is a social club; they go there to see their friends and to be seen, to chat a word or two and go back home. Some come to meet new people, to sing, dance and so on. Everyone attaches the most importance to him – or – herself. People are not interested in what the Church may think about them, what possibilities it may offer for their salvation. They never attempt to belong to the Church, but do everything to make the Church belong to them, to their way of thinking, to their expectations. They force the Church into their limited frame, usually unaware of this impossibility. If they fail to do so, they create chaos. In their limited understanding there is a desire to blame everyone, to get rid of everyone in order to gain more room for them selves and their actions.
We have to know and accept the following: there is difference between the Church and the above-mentioned concept of it. The Orthodox Church has its rules and a tradition of church behaviour which does not allow the liberal attitude that, perhaps,exists in other churches. Therefore, let us leave our ambitions and secular aspects of life outside of this quite different place. Secular life and secular laws are a one. The Church aspires to Heaven. It leads us from our everyday preoccupations, directing our souls towards greater heights.
The Church is not a union of a group of citizens who have similar ideological and political preoccupations. It stands beyond any ideology, any politics and any partial understanding of the world. It is second only to God and God’s laws. The Church does not honour any human greatness, human merit, or human power; before the Church, as before God, we are all equal.
Consequently, there is no man without whom the Church cannot exist. Those who believe that the Church will tolerate anything because it fears being accused of driving people away are wrong. The Church does not expel anyone just as it does not force anyone to come to it. There are many who leave at their own will. It is up to them how they will interpret their acts. When Jesus Christ, the Lord, stayed on Earth he did not take everyone with Him. Because there were people who sought His imperfection in order to crucify Him. If this is what happened when God walked the Earth, what can we, in these wretched times, expect, and should we be surprised?
As I said earlier, the Church does not force anyone under its shalter. Therefore, if you come to Church leave your personal things behind, your friends and relatives, your enemies, and submit yourself to the Church’s laws and God’s will. Examine your soul. See your sins and ask god for forgiveness. Only this is asked of you. Is it much?
We know that many will not like the position taken here. However, this is the only position that can be taken. We consider the fact that for many the Church is “a stumblingstone and rock of offence“. (Rom. 9, 33) This is true especially for those who do not recognize any higher autohority and who measure everything by their own wisdom. Let us not forget that “the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God”. (1.Cor. 3, 19)
There have always been and there always will be those who are not able and who do not want to fit into the Spirit of Church. There have always been, and there always will be, people who will initiate arguments and who will create discord in the Church. We should avoid them. (Rom. 16, 17) Such behaviour is nothing new for the Church. Hardened, it is ready for any provocation. It finds some meaning in heresy: “For there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognised“. (1.Cor. 11, 19) Suffering is necessary for the manifestation of who is who. It shows whose beliefs are feathery, silky and soft, and can be shattered by the first little wind that comes along. “Na muci se poznaju junaci“, or “A friend in need is a friend indeed“, says our wise proverb.
There is enough room for all, and there is a job for everyone in the Church. Let us look at the senseless ants and learn from them. There are thousands of them in their commori house; every one of them carries his load, walkes his path and reaches his goal. There is no intercepting, schewing and distortion. Because ants accept and follow the law of God, while people constantly offer resistance. Let us also look at ourselves and see the perfection of God. Every organ, every part of our body has its deeper meaning. Everything has its function and does not stand in the way of anything else. If we wish to move our littlefinger, we have to move almost our whole body. The same is true for the body of the Church: some are there to hold services and preach and others are there to sing, some are there to prepare food and others to mow the lown, some are there to build and others to mend, etc. All of this not for their personal glory and interest, but for the glory od God and for the common good.
If a part of the human body hurts, whole body is in pain. Everything is related. Similarly, in the Church, “if one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together“. (1.Cor. 12, 26) An operation is performed only when there is no other cure. Rationalization is painful and runs in the following way: it is better to remove a finger than to lose a whole hand, a hand then an arm, an arm than a whole body. In a similar manner, when the Church is forced to, it removes some of its members or even of its larger organs in order to save the body. The Bible says: “I have no wrath. Would that I had thorns and briers to battle! I would set out against them, I would burn them up together”. (Is. 27, 4)
In the Church there must be order. At the places where we work it is clear who gives orders and who works, who is the master and who the helper. The same hierarchy must be obeyd in the Church. Unfortunately, the same laws we obey at work stop being effective at the Church. Because at Church we feel free to show how much we “know“ and how much we are “worth“. There we are sure that, whatever we do, not a single hair from our head will be missing, not a cent from our pocket.
The time has come to accept discipline in The Church because it is a necessary condition for its progress. The apostle Paul wrote to the Jews: “Obey your leaders and submit to them; for they are keeping watch over your souls, as men who will have to give account. Let them do this joyfully, and not sadly, for that would be of no adventage to you“. (Heb. 13, 17) St. Peter also asks the youth to submit to their elderly, and through submission to reach humility, for “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble“. (1. Pet. 5, 5)
Finally, let us all think about our behaviour and the way to help our Church in order that it can help us in return and lead us to salvation. Let us have strong faith and strong love for each other.