The Orthodox liturgy
They seek deaden their moments of boredom and disgust by means of such palliatives as drugs, alcohol and sex which, though they may bring moments of forgetfulness, in long run are destructive and destroy their nervous system. These secular and destructive elements become more and more present in the life of the people, especially teenagers of this post-modern society.
For this reason I consider necessary a renewal of the liturgical consciousness of all of us, to realize that Christ came not just for us, the salvation is not just for us the faithful. Is for all the creation. And in this sense each of us is responsible for what he does and also for the other’s salvation. And this mission is not at all simple. Somebody compared the mission that the Christians have today with the mission of martyrs from the first centuries.
Today we are not any more supposed to die for our faith (although in some part of the world still exist places where Christians are killed); today we are asked to die for our brothers and sisters who need our help. But to die in the sense that we have to do or best for their salvation, to do our best for they could feel the love of God. Because this is the moment and the fact that converts people: the love, our love. And this is also a form of martyria.
I. The double movement in the Liturgy.
The Liturgy was and is the “climax of the Church’s life” . For the Orthodox the Liturgy is the very central point of their existence. They are, or they should be, in this way liturgical beings.
When we speak about Liturgy can find, or identify a double movement in the Liturgy. On the one hand, the assembling of the people of God to perform the memorial of the death and resurrection of our Lord "until He comes again". It also manifests and realizes the process by which "the cosmos is becoming ecclesia". Therefore the preparation for Liturgy takes place not only at the personal spiritual level, but also at the level of human historical and natural realities.
In preparing for Liturgy, the Christian starts a spiritual journey which affects everything in his life: family, properties, authority, position, and social relations. It re-orientates the direction of his entire human existence towards its sanctification by the Holy Spirit. On the other hand, renewed by the Holy Communion and the Holy Spirit, the members of the Church are sent to be authentic testimony to Jesus Christ in the world. The mission of the Church rests upon the radiating and transforming power of the Liturgy. It is a stimulus in sending out the people of God to the world to confess the Gospel and to be involved in man's liberation.
The Liturgy is not an escape from life, but a continuous transformation of life according to the prototype Jesus Christ, through the power of the Spirit. For Christians Liturgy is not just something to listen to, because the Liturgy is the Great event of liberation from sin and after, the great event of koinonia (communion) with Jesus Christ through the real presence of the Holy Spirit, then this event of our personal incorporation into the Body of Christ, this transfiguration of our little being into a member of Christ, must be evident and proclaimed in actual life.
The Eucharist is the most distinctive event of Orthodox worship because in it the Church gathers to remember and celebrate the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Christ and, thereby, to participate in the mystery of Salvation.
II. Our liturgy for the others
The Liturgy doesn’t finish when people go back home from the church. It’s just the first step of another process you are part of. And this time the priest, the one who celebrates, is you. The Liturgy has to be continued in personal, everyday situations. Each of the faithful is called upon to continue a personal “liturgy” on the secret altar of his/her own heart, to realize a living proclamation of the good news for the sake of the whole world.
Without this continuation the Liturgy remains incomplete. Since the Eucharistic event we are incorporated in Him who came to serve the world and sacrificed for it, we have to express in concrete diakonia, in community life, our new being in Christ, the Servant of all. The sacrifice of the Eucharist must be extended in personal sacrifices for the people in need, the brothers for whom Christ died.
Since the Liturgy is the participation in the great event of liberation from demonic power of evil that are working inside us, a continual reorientation and openness to insights and efforts aimed at liberating human persons from all injustice, exploitation, agony, loneliness, and at creating a real communion of persons in love.
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