Monday, February 2, 2009

True Humility

Very dear friends of my family became Orthodox yesterday, and the comment my husband made was about how much humility it requres to accept the Orthodox Church. We have known this family for nearly 30 years, they were one of the first homeschool families my parents met, and their oldest son was a very close friend of mine through highschool. They have travelled a path from the Pentecostal Church, through Protestantism, and have been Anglican for many years until yesterday. As I reflect on their chrismations, it does strike me as a beautiful picture of humility. I have not ever truly appreciated the humility it requires to come to Orthodoxy. Perhaps outwardly, the most humbling act is the removal of ones shoes. To be required to proceed to the front of a church barefoot is not a small request for any adult, and I imagine it is even harder for grown men. To stand before a congregation of believers and answer the questions of faith is a daunting task. It is the ultimate display of humility - to put aside pride, to put aside the idea that we have all the answers, to put aside the idea that we should or must know all the answers - to embrace the mystery of being lifted up to heaven every Sunday to worship with the angels, to embrace the authority of the Church that has stood the test of two millennia, to bow to the guidance of the Holy Fathers in our interpretation and understanding of scripture, to see the wisdom of Christ and the church in acknowledging that our bodies are weak, and need to be engaged in worship through all of our senses - through the "trappings" or as my father used to say "smells and bells" that so many dismiss as silly, unnecessary or even heretical, each of which is designed to bring our focus back toward Christ and allow us to draw into heaven every Sunday morning. It brought tears to my eyes as I saw the commitment in their faces, the tears in their eyes, and the joy at receiving their first Eucharist. I thank God for their humility, and His grace.

4 comments:

Pres. Kathy said...

May God bless them!

elizabeth said...

yes. this is a wonderful ... I feel like I was never taught about humility until I was Orthodox.

Thanks for the reminder...

Elenie said...

Thank you for your post - it was a joy to read and it reminded me of a powerful quote that was sent my way. here it is:

Humility vs. Self-conceit

"Why does humility lead up to the heights of righteousness, whereas self-conceit leads down to the depths of sin? Because anyone who thinks he is something great, even before God, is rightly abandoned by God, as one who does not need His help. On the other hand, anyone who despises himself, and relies on mercy from above, wins God's sympathy, help and grace. As it says, 'The Lord resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the lowly' " (Proverbs 3:34, LXX).

Elenie said...

(from the writings of St Gregory Palamas)