Prompted by reading a newspaper article on how “church is cool”…
We are not a mega-church. In fact, yesterday there were probably less than a dozen of us at Liturgy. Of course, if one includes the angels and saints who are present at every Liturgy, then “mega” becomes a definite understatement.
We do not “move with the times.” In fact, we are pretty insistent about guarding “the faith once and for all delivered to the saints.” Yes, some peripheral things do change over time (i.e. centuries), but we tend to agree with whoever it was who said that whoever marries the spirit of the age will soon be widowed.
We are not “seeker-friendly.” Yes, we do welcome seekers – and we are all seekers. But we welcome them with an invitation to stand through long services, to fast, to confess their sins, to repent. To put aside their own ideas and to learn the way of humility. We tend to resonate with Saint Benedict when he said that candidates should be tested to see whether they truly seek God, for we are aware that what we all-too-often seek is not God but the propping up of our own egos and that what we need is not entertainment but the purification of our hearts.
We do not do power-point. We worship with our bodies. We sing with our voices and not with accompaniment, we feel hunger – as I said, we fast -, we smell and see incense, we light candles, we recite prayers, we prostrate, we kiss. We kiss the Book of the Gospels, the Cross, the priest’s hand, and one another. And we kiss icons which are in a sense also “one another” – the presence of the Lord, the Mother of God and the saints among us. And you cannot, you absolutely cannot, kiss a power point screen.