Agape - Love that comes from God. We show this love through sacrifice, praise and Eucharist (Holy Communion or Priest). Unconditional love directed towards one's neighbor which is not dependent on any lovable qualities that the object of
love possesses. Seen as the greatest of loves, and as a specifically Christian virtue. The
love of God, who is full of charitable love. C.S. Lewis states that "He is so full, in fact, that it overflows, and He can't
help but love us." Wikipedia (Excerpt borrowed from summary of April 6 2008 youth seminar
by Ilija Bilic, Canberra as featured on www.soc.org.au.)
recent times I have had reason to feel like a mote of dust, picked up by the winds of change and not knowing where I am being
taken. My spiritual elders have abandoned me and I should feel forlorn. Yet in this time of the Easter fast I am feeling cleansed – I have reason to
believe I will survive whether I am considered a part of this faith by its leaders or not.
have come to a very poignant part of our faith’s existence. The future
is unknown but looking quite grim. It is time to steel our spirits against the
possibilities ahead, to strengthen our resolve in our faith internally and not be dependent on the appendages that are enforced
upon us as obligatory aspects of the faith.
is the lot of the abandoned child. The parents have decided the child is not
worth saving. The mistakes made by this child have been too great, too mortifying,
for the parents to tolerate any longer. So the child is expected to find its
own way, living a meager existence and forging a future out of little. The success
this child has depends on a number of things – its maturity, its health, the state of its heart
and most importantly, the state of its spirit.
the saddest thing to overcome is the abandonment. How extreme would a child’s
action need to be for a parent to turn its back on its own flesh and blood? How
complete can this abandonment be in a parent who has a deeply emotional bond with the child, its own flesh and blood?
For God so loved the world that He gave
His only begotten Son. (John 3.16)
know these words very well from the Bible. We try to understand the reasoning
for God’s supreme sacrifice. People have attempted to interpret what immense
love God must have felt for humankind to make this supreme sacrifice. Indeed
those of us with children would find this kind of act unthinkable – sacrifice your child? Under what circumstances could that be justified in God’s own eyes? And there we come to it – who are we to judge God’s rationale? The circumstances surrounding Jesus’ crucifixion cannot be applied in any way to what is happening
to the Serbian Orthodox faithful in Australia
and from what is circulating on the internet, around the world. Jesus was crucified
to be resurrected. This was the sign people had been waiting for, though they
did not necessarily acknowledge this at the time. It was all part of the plan,
to enable Christ to join God in Heaven, and to continue to save his faithful.
in Australia we are facing piecemeal banishment. We are being told we are not worthy of being members of the church we were born into
and have been a part of all our lives. We are now, after toiling and suffering
to make something of our church communities, being told that there is no place for us, and we are being told to leave. Our spiritual father is not attempting to soothe and pacify his children. Indeed, he is behaving more like a child himself, taking sides after hearing little Johnny’s side
of the story – and little Johnny is known as the schoolyard troublemaker in most cases.
But that is okay – it is all justified because he is the spiritual father, and what he says, goes! The poor victim child, who was only doing what had always been acceptable, is now punished by expulsion. And little Johnny, the attention seeker, has succeeded to gain the approval of the
“elder child”, the spiritual father.
did the rules change? Why were they changed?
Does the church hierarchy believe we are all unintelligent? Or does the
hierarchy hope to get rid of those with more than the IQ of a very young child? Are
these children asking too many questions? Are they raising too many issues? Maybe they are just making life too difficult for the hierarchy. Is the college in Sydney going to create
narrow minded zombies with a view that only they are right, and everyone else is wrong?
Not a good way to be bringing up our children maybe? Not exactly globally
minded, is it?
with interest a summary of the bishop’s contribution to the youth conference in Sydney
last weekend. In reference to Orthodoxy it reads:
“Orthodoxy is not a religion but a FAITH –
religions are man-made, faith comes directly from God. Orthodoxy is The Way.”
the currently demonstrated version of Orthodoxy is “The Way”, how can we hope for a harmonious future? This is such a paradoxical view of the faith from a member of the World Council of Churches to have –
in effect, it is his way or the highway! Hmmm
another point of interest is a definition of one of the core concepts of the Orthodox faith:
Orthopraxia – Praxia (Practice, action). True Practice - Orthodox faithful are called on to transfigure
(change) the world around them, to make bad things good.
we to believe the bishop is making bad things good? Or some of his priests are
doing this maybe? What he is doing is transfiguring the world in his own way,
by dispensing with the problems, therefore “You’re bad – get out of my sight!” And what is he left
with? A flock of contentedly ignorant, narrow minded and baaing sheep! The bishop ensures that wherever he goes around the country now, only these sheep are invited. And why would the abandoned children want to attend an event that is open to one and all such as the youth
seminar when all that is likely is trouble, once the child is identified? “What
are you doing here? You don’t belong here.” Or something to that effect.
posed too many questions, I know, and given too few answers. Such is my nature
– always wanting to know why! As motes of dust I guess we are not worth
the trouble of being gathered together and spoken to in a peaceful and conciliatory manner, just like one would imagine a
tenderhearted parent would do – a parent filled with love and forgiveness (a la “God is Love, Life is Love, God
is Life”). But abandoned as we may be, we will not necessarily lie down
and be trodden over or be completely blown away by the God sent winds – God does things for a reason. The fortitude of those faithful who have been dispensed with will prevail, and those little motes will
now and again fall into the eyes of certain individuals and cause no end of discomfort.
To every thing there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven. (Ecclesiastes 3.1)