Fr. Gillquist - Faith and Worship: Falling down before God
- Fr. Peter Gilqiust is an archpriest of the Antiochian Orthodox
Church of North America and Chairman, Department of Missions and
Evangelism, Antiochian Archdiocese. I got the oppurtunity to listen
to him in a Lenten Retreat in the Transfiguration Greek Orthodox
Church in Austin, TX on March 6th 2004. Following are some notes I
made, sharing them here, hoping it will be useful. The notes may contain errors
as I am writing from my memory.
Session 3: Faith and Worship: Falling down before God
Our worship is but a joining in, a participation in ,
the Heavenly worship. It is not a new thing, but a
"participation" in the worship going on in Heaven.
Here we see the angels praise God saying" Holy, Holy
Holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of
His glory" We "join in" on this same chant with the
angels during our worship.
It involves all the five senses. This is required for
complete all round participation.
Isaiah "saw" the "Lord sitting on the throne" . With
the crucifixion of Christ, the veil in the Temple was
torn into two - and the alter was revealed to all!. We
"see" the glory of God, the throne of God during
worship at the alter.
Isaiah "heard" the praises. We hear the praises as we
sing with the others and the angels and archangels! We
get to represent the angels in worship.
"The house was filled with smoke"! Incense was a part
of worship in the Old Testament times, incense is seen
in the revelations of worship in the New Testament.
Look at the prophetic words of Malachi while
condemning the practices of the contemporary
priesthood - "For from the rising of the sun, to its
setting, my name is great among the nations, and in
every place, incense is offered to my name, and a pure
offering, for my name is great among the nations, says
the Lord of hosts" (Malachi 1:11) Incense is always
offered where God is worshipped. When God commanded
Israel to build the tabernacle and the Temple, he gave
specific orders to base the pattern on the pattern in
heaven. That is how the Holy of the Holies, the
tabernacle, the alter was built. The Church of the New
Covenant took these from the Temple of the Old
Covenant. So we have the pattern of the Holy of the
Holies, the alter and everything, including the
incense as part of the pattern in heaven. The sense of
smell is the most enduring of the senses. We still
remember the "smell"
of our childhood home and life!
Isaiah immediately realised how sinful he was. Seeing
the glory of God, coming to praise God, we realise, by
contrast, our nakedness, we realise our unworthiness,
and our need for repentance!
The burning coal "touched" his lips. The Eucharist is
the burning coal that cleanses away our sins. Atleast
symbolically, Isaiah "tasted" the Holy Eucharist
Then, Isaiah responded. When God asked "Whom shall I
send" he replied, "Here I am Lord, send me!"
We need to respond to God after having Eucharist, we
depart from the Sanctuary to witness the Lord in the
World. That is our responsibility.
In baptism and Chrismation, we are given the Holy
Spirit, we do the spiritual renewal during the
Eucharist. Having the body and blood of Christ in us,
strengthened by Him, we go back into the world.
- Many of us think that there is no need for ordaining 7 bishops. This
thinking is based on our present adimistrative model and our concept
of how a bishop should exist or maintained (which includes
I think we can have many more bishops, say 12 for each diocese, with
a bishop in each major city as part of the Diocese. They are just
bishops working with the Metropolitan (or Archbishop) head of the
Diocese. The Archbishop should have very good experience, thorough
theological background and monastic experiece. The bishops can be
ordinary celibate people with good educational background and
The Diocese of America can have a Metropolitan and bishops for each
city. For every 12 priests we can have a bishop subject to the
metropolitan of the diocese. The Catholicose of the East is the
Universal head of all St. Thomas Christians and their mission
worldwide. He represents the unity of the Apostolic Church, while
Metropolitans and bishops work in each Dioceses.
These are the advantages:
- improve Orthodox mission.
- more care for each parish and needs of people, which includes the
needs of poor within the Church.
- uproot protestant influence in most areas.
- encourage monasticism.
- to discover youth with spiritual ambitions and direct them towards
If about 24 candiates showed interest in becoming bishops, church can
honor their ambition and ordain them bishops confidently. It is up to
them to prove their abilities after they are ordained and God will
strengthen them if they aim to help the Orthodox Church.
1 Timothy 3: 1 "The saying is sure: If any one aspires to the office
of bishop, he desires a noble task."
Since it is a sure saying, all candidates meeting the basic canonical
criteria can be ordained.