WE ARE THE CHURCH!
I am going to Church or I went to Church, referring to the building is an inaccurate statement. We gather as the Church in the temple of God for the Church is not the building where we attend. The building itself is called in Greek: “ the na-os.” Which means “the temple”. The Church, which includes the gathering of the faithful believers is from the Greek “ecclessia”which is the gathering together of the faithful to hear the Gospel, and are of one mind and one heart with Christ and with each other.
But the Church in which we gather is not just what we see for there is much which remains unseen to physical eyes, but is seen by spiritual eyes. With our spiritual eyes the Church around us comes to life and this includes we who are bearers of Christ, also the angelic powers are present and Jesus Christ is always present with us. For Christ is present in every member of the Church, and with the celebrating Priest, who wearing royal robes, beseeches Christ for His grace on all of us. Being active the Church is always exciting and cannot be boring unless we are spiritually benumbed, dying or dead. But even if were in poor spiritual condition, the glorious and divine Church can enlighten and restore us to the vibrant life of the Church.
With us is the whole Church, the Virgin Mary Theotokos and the Saints and Martyrs are present with us at every Divine Liturgy, and accompanying them are the host of divine angelic authorities which if they were all to materialize here there would not be space for them all. The beauty of what takes place is well expressed by one writer who remarks: “If only we could turn our gaze to all in the Church, even for a moment, and catch a glimpse of its breadth, its beauty, its joy, and its grandeur! It would be very difficult for our souls to forget such a sight. But how can we see heaven?” The Divine Liturgy is certainly the most glorious and greatest assembly of the beauty and majesty of heaven which is always being celebrated over the earth.”
The Church raises us to heaven and brings heaven down to us, for the Church is the entire Kingdom of heaven. We look toward the Royal Doors and see Christ our King on the right side and His glorious Mother the Theotokos on the left side, Onle through them are we enabled to enter the divine kingdom. The Priest stands before the altar continually extending to us the gifts which he receives directly from God, for example he sends us divine grace, saying: “the grace of Holy Spirit be with you all.” Grace of the Holy Spirit descends upon all the faithful at this time. He calls upon us to remember His Mother the Theotokos and to devote ourselves to one another and our whole lives to Christ our God. When the Priest gives his many divine liturgical blessings, they come not from his person but through him directly from God. The Divine Liturgy is like a window for us to be in communication with these and many other things in the Kingdom of heaven to which we belong.
The Divine Liturgy always begins with: “Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit now and for ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.” We are all members of the only worldwide Kingdom whose citizens believe in and follow Jesus Christ the Logos of God keeping His commandments, for He alone teaches the divinely ordained destiny of man. While in Church we turn our hearts to the Holy Spirit asking Him to enlighten the darkness of our souls so that we might be visually alert and active participants in the Kingdom of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Darkness makes it impossible for us to see while light causes the invisible to become visible. Ridding ourselves of spiritual darkness, and acquiring spiritual vision opens a whole vista of a divine and holy world that has now become visible to us..
One of the things apparent in the Kingdom of The Father, Son and Holy Spirit is that everywhere there is the presence of sweet humility, meekness and love. Everyone lives as God in His wisdom had intended when He created them, and bestowed upon them eternal life. These are God’ sons and daughters who strive to live a pure life while in this corrupt world. All those who faithfully commune with the Body and Blood of Christ with fear of God faith and love, can become spiritually sighted and begin to see the things mentioned herein. Spiritual sight sees the real world that is endless, while physical sight only sees the temporary world that will come to an end.
If we are spiritually alive, at the end of every Divine Liturgy, we should have feelings like this Saint describes: “Now You have ravished my soul, and I cannot contain your flame, so having sung a hymn to you, I go on my way. My God, he says, I have felt you, I have listened to you, I have seen you alongside me; I have felt you pierce my heart with your arrows, set fire to my soul, light a flame which I cannot bear. And so I sing a hymn to you, and continue on my way, taking you with me. You will teach us the truth in all its fulness.” To come alive in the Church and witness things described herein, is to rejoice over and over again.