This has been an eventful and difficult year for me. Which is why I haven’t written. I probably shouldn’t be writing now because I’m not sure that my mind is right. But I have some thoughts to share, only slightly related to the past year and three months (which I won’t be writing about).
From Psalm 63, which is read at the beginning of Matins proper daily —
O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.
So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.
From Psalm 73, speaking of the seeming success of the wicked —
When I thought how to understand this,
It was too painful for me—
Until I went into the sanctuary of God;
Then I understood their end.
From the Song of Jonah, within the belly of the sea monster –
“When my soul fainted within me,
I remembered the LORD;
And my prayer went up to You,
Into Your holy temple.
From Habbakuk, decrying the makers of idols –
Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Awake!’
To silent stone, ‘Arise! It shall teach!’
Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver,
Yet in it there is no breath at all.
“But the Lord is in His holy temple.
Let all the earth keep silence before Him.”
Somewhere I heard that we attend Church, and especially the Divine Liturgy, in order to regain our sanity, to reorient our perspective, to receive a reality check.
In the words of Luther’s Small Catechism, “This is most certainly true.”
When life overwhelms with disappointment and dread, when failure looms large, when confusion reigns and we are sore perplexed, when wickedness (as much within as without) abounds seemingly unchecked, one must at some point take recourse to God’s dwelling, His holy temple. It is in the divine worship of the Church — tempered by generations of prayer and thousands of holy souls bent on repentance and expressed in words inspired by the Spirit of the Word made flesh – that we find meaning, answers, consolation, truth (which is a Person), and courage.
No wonder that we begin, in Orthodoxy, “Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.”