Our Faith is Love
“… if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”
– The Apostle Paul
To Bless is to Love. To Remember is to Love. To Offer is to Love. To Sacrifice is to Love.
“Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages.”
On The Lord’s Day, Sunday, the Divine Liturgy begins and time is suspended. We face paradise to the east and sing to our One God, The Father, Creator of heaven and earth for the mercy, peace and salvation of all the world. To Jesus Christ, Son of God, Word of God to heal us. To the Holy Spirit of Truth, the Giver of life, to dwell in us and cleanse us from every sin and save our souls.
We sing and chant the Words of Scripture from The Holy Bible.
The Holy Offering, the bread and the wine are prepared in the chalice. We say, “I confess” that our Lord Jesus Christ is truly the Son of the living God sent into the world to save sinners (all of us whose aim often-times misses the mark of perfection).
We approach, though unworthy, that same cup that Christ willingly chose to save all humanity.
We are with our Lord for that Passover meal in the upper room where Jesus takes bread, blesses and breaks it, gives it to his Apostles, saying: “Take, eat; this is My Body which is broken for you for the forgiveness of sins.” Then He takes the cup, gives thanks, and gives it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is My blood of the New Testament, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
As we lift our mouths and receive the Offering, the bread and wine, and confess “I believe…. forgive me.” It truly becomes His Body and Blood that we accept into our bodies, our minds, our hearts, our souls. And for that instance in timeless worship by Grace we are cleansed, we are Created new again, perfect, reborn.
We praise and thank The Lord for His Grace.
The Liturgy ends and time re-resumes. We leave the church. Walk to the hall for fellowship, coffee and conversation.
During the course of that next week we remember that Christ lives in us. In all our human and earthly encounters, both easy and difficult, we remember to offer ourselves fully, to commit an action of perfect goodness for the sake of the other, an action of Love. And sometimes when we realize we have failed or forgotten, we embrace that mustard seed of repentance (a change of heart), so that on the next Lord’s day, when we approach the Sacrificial Cup of Salvation, we are re-made new in the hope of rising with Christ when He comes again.
A recommended introduction to Eastern Orthodox worship is the book “The Orthodox Way” by Bishop Kallistos Ware which is available: