ATTENDING CHURCH CAN PLACE US IN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN
“Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and forever and unto ages of ages.”
The Divine Liturgy in Orthodox Churches wherein God reigns, and is petitioned as our King and is worshiped and glorified by the Priest and people. This is the Kingdom of heaven! The Church is in the world but not part of the world, for it brings us before Almighty God to confess, pray, and to develop loving intimacy with Him.
Attending Church means entering to the temple and worshiping with the Church which is the gathered people. Attending Church is good and beneficial if it results in the joining of the people of God in the house of God, to serve the living God, for just being there does not mean that we went to Church. If our minds and hearts are on our homes, our children or our business, while in Church then only our bodies are present, but we are not attending Church. If our mind and heart is on Jesus Christ, having a humble spirit of repentance, fear and love of God, and if we have left outside all the cares of this life, then we are attending Church in truth.
The rules of Church behavior are simple, do not talk, dress neatly and simply, be attentive. The command that women should have their heads covered in Church, is scoffed at today due to ignorance. But nothing God says is vain, for He is Truth and He is the Author and Inspirer of the Divine Scriptures. God says through St. Paul: “Every woman that prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head as if it were shaven. For if the woman is not covered, let her be shorn; but if it is a shame for a woman to be shaven, then let her be covered” (1 Cor. 11:5-6).The greatest human being that ever lived or ever will live is the Holy Theotokos, who always appears with her head covered! If a women covers her head the Lord with give her understanding as to why she is required to do so.
The wonderful Saint John of Kronstadt, declares the glory of the Church as follows:
“Truly the Church is heaven upon earth, for where the throne of God is, where the terrible Mysteries are celebrated, where angels serve together with men, where the Almighty is unceasingly glorified, there is truly heaven, and the heaven of heavens. And thus let us enter the Church of God with the fear of God, with a pure heart, laying aside all passions and worldly care, and let us stand in it with faith and reverence, with understanding and attention, with love and peace in our hearts, so that we may come away renewed, as though made heavenly, so that we may live in holiness natural to heaven, not binding ourselves by worldly desires and pleasures”.