1313Re: Question on Church Attendance
- Aug 7, 2009Dear friend, Christopher already wrote very good response... I'd just like to add that it's a matter of finding the right/healthy balance between being present (I'm only talking about physical presence, since spiritually you can *always* be with the church - praying at all times, thus in communion with Christ and all Christians) at the services. Everyone's life is different, and it should be re-adjusted as much as possible to become Christ-centric (and neighbor-centric, which includes family), as opposed to self-centric; but there are cases when you have to do something that on the external side may seem contradictory to the faith - such as physically missing the service. What matters is the *reason* behind all your actions; and it should - love for Christ and love for your neighbors. That's what defines the right action. One can "miss the church service" because he needed to help someone (or to do something to be able to help someone) *in need* at that particular time - and that'd be the proper choice; one can also go into the church while not to be part of the service but simply because he likes that young woman who looks so good and he wants to look at her again - and you can make the conclusion yourself. ;) In fact, at times you simply need rest/relaxation indeed - and that would also be proper action, because you do need to stay healthy to serve your neighbors. Just be honest with yourself, don't let yourself be persuaded by your thoughts, mistaking simple "laziness" for "real need to rest".
In that context, when you miss the service for a not so good reason - you'll know and feel that was not right, you did something wrong, in other words - that's a sin, and that's where a need for Confession comes from. Listen to your conscience - and you'll know what's right.
I hope I make sense... Please forgive me if I upset or confuse you by my writings, and pray about me.
--- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com, "Dave W." <dkwiech@...> wrote:
> I have a bit of an embarrassing question regarding expected/required church attendance in the OC. I've been taking catechumen classes and am about 1/2-way through, but it has been told to me that the OC demands attendance every Sunday at a minimum. I know myself and my track record and that I don't know if I can commit myself to such a strict and rigorous standard. I have been attending the OC as an inquirer for about 10 months with only a couple Sundays missed, so it's not like I'm a spotty attender. However, frankly there are some Sundays that I'm so exhausted from work that I can barely get out of bed, or there is so much work to get done that I couldn't do on Saturday, etc, etc. that it's impractical. I know it sounds like I'm making excuses, but I'm trying to be honest.
> I've searched the LLE archive and found some interesting comments on this topic, such as the following, which seem to imply that even cradle Orthodox are not always the most committed attenders, e.g.:
> "Coming back to the topic of "80%", I think you'll find that (or
> similar to that) in ANY big parish. Small parishes are different
> because they are formed of zealots (in a good meaning of the word),
> otherwise they'd just vanish, fade away. But big parishes - they are
> good examples of statistics inside the Church: people in It are simply
> at different points of their spiritual life/journey, thus acting
> differently. You'd probably find service attendance close to 100% only
> at Mount Athos and some other strict rules monasteries."
> The priest at the church I am attending basically stated that missing 3 consecutive Sundays without a valid reason means I've excommunicated myself. If I miss just one Sunday for a non-valid reason, I would have to go to confessions. This strikes me as rather harsh. I understand the theological underpinnings that drive this, and appreciate what it means. However, perhaps growing up in the LCMS and going whenever "I felt like it" has stained me, since in the protestant (and even RC) churches, there is really no mechanism for holding people to such a standard. I just have too much going on in my life to think I could live up to this. It is very sad, since I love what I'm hearing and learning in the OC, and no longer feel part of the Lutheran church anyhow (I'm way beyond the Lutheran pale at this point).
> Any tips/thoughts/recommendations? Am I just in a gung-ho parish that enforces this? Again, I reference the comment above. This is very sad for me, since I thought I'd "found my home" and had ended this spiritual wandering that I've been in, for so many years. As a note, I don't exactly live close to an Orthodox parish (about 35 miles each way), and I'm just a young guy with a busy life. I'm not 75 years old and retired, with all sorts of extra time to spare. I want God to be the center of my life, by not the ONLY THING in my life, if you get my point.
> Forgive me.....
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