Ok I will...
But first let me guess why you quit going in the
first place. You weren't getting anything out of it. The Christianity
you tried wasn't working for you--you tried, but it didn't produce.
I'd estimate that 95 percent of the Orthodox Christians I talk to
who stopped going to church did so for just that reason.
"So," you ask, "if that's why I quit, why start again?
Has anything changed?"
Probably not, but the point is, if you desire to
get through this life successfully--to say nothing of the next--you
have to go to church. It's that simple.
And there is one reason above all others why you should go back. Church
is the only place where you can receive Holy Communion.
Communion? Is it really that important? Absolutely! Faith in Christ
will not and cannot work the way it's supposed to for you, or anyone
else, without Holy Communion. It is a fact of life that none of us
has the strength to fulfill our part in being a Christian without
receiving the grace God gives us in Communion.
It is wishful thinking to attempt living successfully
as a Christian without Communion. The Body and Blood of Jesus Christ
is the indispensable element for a stable Christian life. Jesus Christ
never intended you or anyone else to pursue Christian living without
being dynamically united to Him.
"But I used to receive Communion, and it didn't do me any good,"
someone responded recently.
That's at least in part possible. Communion, after
all, isn't just a magic formula. And true Christianity is more than
an "add water and stir" religion. You must know at least
a measure of what is happening in Communion and you must receive it
with faith as the Body and Blood of Christ. If you do that, Communion
will certainly have an effect on your life. You will receive strength
to live more righteously and know cleansing from sin. And that's just
As to not getting anything out of church--okay, I'11 admit I've sat
through some pretty tedious services myself. Yes, and I also left
saying I didn't get anything out of church.
Of course you know the canned answer to the objection, "I didn't
get anything out of it." It's "You don't go to church to
get, you go to give." There's truth in that, but it tends towards
being simplistic. You do, after all, need to get something from worship.
Communion is that something. Granted, you might not
get anything out of a bad sermon. But it is totally, completely, and
irrevocably impossible to receive the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ
in faith and go away with nothing. What could be more life-strengthening
than receiving the Son of God who became a human being for our sakes
so that we could be energized by Him! That's what happens in Communion.
And you can only get that in church.
Take positive action about Communion. Call your priest
and tell him you want to make arrangements to start receiving regular
Communion again. He will be glad to talk with you! Communion isn't
the only reason for going to church. You also need helpful and encouraging
Orthodox Christian instruction so that your faith has some muscle
to it. And there are other good reasons, such as fellowship with other
Christians and the cultivation of a spirit of worship. But even if
none of those are fulfilled, there's still one good reason to go back
to church - Holy Communion.
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