The Church is THE Essential Institution

A nation that forbids her people from participating in corporate worship, is a nation that is doomed.

Originally appeared at: Orthodox Net Blog

Christianity is a communal faith, one that requires it’s followers to be actively involved with others. The Church’s worship is communal, and salvation itself is a corporate act, one that necessitates interaction with others. One is not “saved” in a vacuum, but as part of the corporal life of the Church. Your salvation must be as much a concern to me, as is my own salvation. My relationship with Christ is not about me, but about us. Our sins are not just against God, but against the Body of Christ, the Church. Our love of God can not be salvific if we do not love others, for just as the Lord said, “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? (1 John 4:20)”.

Given the communal nature of the Church, it is particularly alarming our City, State, and Federal governments are using this Covid-19 pandemic to bar people from gathering in their temples for common worship. The importance of social interaction in the central square, as seen in traditional villages where the cafe life, together with the communal nature of the Church, were the primary source of fraternal interaction, demonstrate the danger facing a society that has ordered her people to remain apart, sequestered in their homes.

Isolated from others, the communal nature that is an important element in what it means to be human, is lost. As humans, we are meant to be together, for it is in our lives together that we grow in mind and spirit. It is in community that we learn to love God, and it is within the corporate gathering together for the Divine Liturgy, that we collectively hear the Word of God, and receive the Life-giving Body and Blood of Our Saviour.

It is high time we clearly confront those who’ve decided that liquor stores, pot shops, and drug stores are by far less essential to the maintenance of our souls, than the Church. A nation that forbids her people from participating in corporate worship, is a nation that is doomed. It is clear that we have need for access to the food we need for physical sustenance, but the spiritual food needed for a healthy soul and body, makes the Church THE most essential institution in the land.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon