My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
Jesus said, “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the
true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth;
for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit.
and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth”
“Then Noah built an Altar to God, and took of every clean
animal and of every clean bird, and offered whole burnt
offerings on the Altar. So the Lord GLod smelled a sweet
aroma.” [Genesis 8:20-21]
“So the two of them went together. They came to the
place where God had told him. And Abraham built an
Altar there and placed the firewood in order; and he
bound Isaac his son hand and foot and laid him on
the Altar, upon the firewood” (Genesis 22:8-9).
“For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you; that
the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took
bread; and when He given thanks [Gk. eucharistesas], He broke it
and said, ‘TAKE, EAT; THIS IS MY BODY WHICH IS BROKEN FOR YOU;
DO THIS IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME.’ In the same manner, He also took
the cup after supper, saying, ‘THIS CUP IS THE NEW COVENANT IN
MY BLOOD. THIS DO, AS OFTEN AS YOU DRINK IT, IN REMEMBRANCE
OF ME” (1 Corinthians 11:23-25).
From time immemorial mankind felt the need to worship God and built an Altar, upon which he would offer a sacrifice as an offering to express his thanks to God. It did not matter to God where the Altar of worship took place, whether on a mountaintop or desert. The need to worship God is seen not only among believers but also among pagans.
The Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well said to Jesus, ‘Sir I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshipped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when THE TRUE WORSHIPERS WILL WORSHIP THE FATHER IN SPIRIT AND TRUTH, FOR THE FATHER IS SEEKING SUCH TO WORSHIP HIM. GOD IS SPIRIT, AND THOSE WHO WORSHIP HIM MUST WORSHIP IN SPIRIT AND TRUTH” (John 4:19-24).
Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ takes the opportunity to teach her and us that worship is not tied to any certain geographical place. Instead, He turns to the heart of the matter: the object of worship, God Himself, and how worship takes place. The “Father” is worshiped “in spirit” — that is, in the Holy Spirit Who is given upon the completion of Christ’s Divine Mission “and truth” which is Jesus Christ Himself and His revelation. God “is Spirit”, that is, He possesses a spiritual nature that cannot be confined to a particular location. Those who believe in the revelation of Christ and have the power of the Holy Spirit can truly worship God anywhere.
For Orthodox Christians worshipping God is never optional. We refer to our worship as “Liturgy” (Λειτουργία). More specifically it is referred to as Divine (Θεία) Λειτουργία (Liturgy). Holy Tradition calls the Divine Liturgy the “Mystery of Mysteries”, the “Sacrament of Sarcraments”, is a liturgical act or divine service of the Church by which we receive the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the goal of this experience is to become recipients of the Holy Spirit, to experience God and be filled by Hs uncreated grace, to “become of the same body and blood with Christ,” to unite with the God-man Christ–and thus be saved.”
The Orthodox Christian family attends church not out of a “requirement” or a religious “obligation” but it is about fulfilling a necessity of a soul that thirsts for God and desires to be consumed by Him. In the Divine Liturgy we commemorate the Mystical Supper, that is, we live through it and partake of its reality mystically, yet really, in the present. The Lord told His disciples that those who “keep eating (trogon) His Flesh and “keep drinking” (pinon) His Blood stay with Him, and He with them (cf. John 6:56). “For as often as you eat this Bread and drink this Cup, you proclaim the Lord’s Death until He comes,” Says Saint Paul (1 Corinthians 11:26).
The Divine Eucharist traces its origin directly to the Eucharistic meal the Lord had with His Disciples in the Upper Room in Jerusalem before His betrayal. We perpetuate this meal because the Lord told us through His disciples, “Do this in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19; 1 Corinthians 11:24). Since then, “on the first dasy of the week, “the Church has been gathering together “to break bread” (Acts 20:7).
The Divine Liturgy is the Mystery of union of human beings with God and the union of human beings among themselves. “It is called Communion because through it we commune the Divinity of Jesus Christ” together with His glorified humanity. The purpose of the Divine Liturgy is to change the sacramental elements (bread and wine mixed with water) into the Sacred Body and Blood of the Lord through the action of the Holy Spirit so that the people of God gathered in His Name may commune them and thus be united with Christ and live His life.
This “divine and most sacred of services” constitutes the higher expression of praise, glorification, love and gratitude to God for His inexpressible love toward us. The people of God gather together in obedience to Christ’s command (“do this”) to offer their “sacrifice of praise” in thanksgiving, to actualize Christ’s saving actss, to commune His Sacred Mysteries, to to rejoice in partaking of His life now, in anticipation of that “day” when they will partake of Him “more perfectly” in the “unsetting day” of His Kingdom. [Source: The Heavenly Banquet. Understanding the Divine Liturgy by Fr. Emmanuel Hatzidakis)
“Glory Be To GOD
– Saint John Chrysostomos
+ + +
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God