When our church attendance drops off

Abbot Tryphon wrote this a few days ago,

“It seems we all go through periods in our lives when our church attendance drops off. Work and home life can seem hectic, and we fall into the trap of letting ourselves feel overwhelmed. Given the fast pace of our active lives, and feeling like we just don’t have enough time in the day, it is easy to let the Sunday Divine Liturgy fall to the wayside. We convince ourselves that we need to have “Sunday off.”

Saint Gregory Palamas, begs to differ with us! He calls our failure to keep our Sunday obligation for what it is, “laziness.” This great hierarch of the Church, even goes so far as to remind us that our very belief in God is in jeopardy, for we are not availing ourselves to “Christ’s surgery to receive…holy healing.”

The saint tells us, “Let no one out of laziness or continuous worldly occupations miss these holy Sunday gatherings, which God Himself handed down to us, lest he be justly abandoned by God… If you are detained and do not attend on one occasion, make up for it the next time, bringing yourself to Christ’s Church. Otherwise you may remain uncured, suffering from unbelief in your soul because of deeds or words, and failing to approach Christ’s surgery to receive… holy healing.”

Love and blessings,
Abbot Tryphon”

His words ring very true.  I have been pondering on this very subject for awhile now since we have experienced a drop in attendance each Sunday.  I would love to say it is because Summer is on the way, though this drop has been occurring for some time now, not just recently.  The secular world has so many ‘attractions’ for everyone, that God and His Church are quickly put on the back burner and have not become priority in our every day lives.

I meet people daily that tell me they are Orthodox.  They tell me they just noticed that a Russian Orthodox Church is in the area (we have been here 20 years).  Then I ask, well how come you have not begun to attend?  They really have no answer, lots of excuses, but no answer.

God is more important and needed these days than ever before.  Persecution of the Church is coming more and more frequently.  Christians are being martyred for their Faith each and every day, around the world.  Secularism and humanism have become the gods of this generation.

So why do not the Orthodox faithful have God and their Orthodox Faith as a priority?  Satan is alive and well, and he knows the end of the story, and he is working hard to bring the faithful down with him, rather than UP with God!

Prayer is still the Ultimate Key!  Use it! hourly, daily!

Christian, serve God and God alone.  A time is coming, and the question you need to ask yourself, is where will you stand?  Which side of the fence will you be?  Can’t be in the middle, there is no middle, one side or the other.

As for me, I will stand with Him who created me.  Lord have mercy!

So the next question:  How do we as a Church, the Body of Christ, assist our fellow Orthodox Christians to return to the Church?  Yes Prayer; our example; our daily life lived as an Orthodox Christian.  Let us pray that they return to the Kingdom, His Church! As well as ourselves, Return to our Church, His Church, as His Body!

Advertisements

About padrerichard

I am a Priest with ROCOR and serve as Rector at St. Joseph of Optina Parish in Virginia Beach, VA
This entry was posted in Church. Bookmark the permalink.