Friday, September 21, 2007

The Mystery of God

The first time I heard “Praises” in Tone 2, one of many mellifluous, age-old Christian chants, it felt as if my soul was a restless sea and Christ had calmed the waters through its melody and meditative words. Arrogantly thinking that maybe I could improve on this simplistic style of music, I began searching the internet for more chants. My searches kept landing me on Eastern Orthodox websites, the ancient paradigm of Christianity known in part for its icons, incense, intense regimen of prayer and fasting, and emphasis on union with the mystical and ineffable God as the means to salvation.

I had only vaguely heard of Eastern Orthodoxy before this search for chants, but I immediately identified with its all-encompassing lifestyle of Christian spirituality. Several times throughout each day, prayers and Psalms are offered up in remembrance of Christ’s hours on the cross and of the out-pouring of the Holy Spirit. Each day of the week carries its own biblical and spiritual theme, and twelve times throughout each year, a major feast, commemorating the things God has done on the earth, is celebrated. For me, this saturation in the things of God is important, as well as the framework of discipleship, accountability and support which are inherent in the fabric of Orthodoxy. So, I gladly joined their ranks to experience it all first hand.

Converting from Protestantism to Eastern Orthodoxy is challenging because I am being stretched not just by the Bible, but by a Church Tradition complementary to the Bible which has been passed down through the generations. I am being formed by a different understanding of the faith which states God’s grace is more than just His favor, but is His divine energy vivifying and permeating my being for good works, and it is through His Life, His Energy, His Grace that I am saved. I think ultimately, it is the emphasis on the mystery of God, and the going beyond reason and intellect to connect with Him that sustained my interest in Eastern Orthodoxy. It is now more than ever a faith walk as I march ever forward in the divine light of God’s eternal life in Christ.

4 comments:

margi said...

" formed by a different understanding"... Yes, you are absolutely right. I used to have a couple of very dear Protestant friends (Scottish "Wee Frees") and I tried hard for a long time to cast Orthodoxy in an acceptable mold for them but in the end I had, very sadly, to give up. It is different. On the other hand... congratulations :-)

Nicodemus said...

Margi, thank you for commenting...I was beginning to wonder if I was "whispering in to the void" as one blog commentator put it. The power of the fullness of real Christianity is so intense for me that, regardless of what my Prot friends have assumed or think, I am unable to dislodge from this beautiful and rich expression of the the true faith.

John said...

I just discovered your blog--good stuff! I look forward to reading back through the posts.

"For me, this saturation in the things of God is important, as well as the framework of discipleship, accountability and support which are inherent in the fabric of Orthodoxy."

Well put. That is it, exactly.

Nicodemus said...

John - I am glad you enjoyed my blogs - I recently discovered your blog as well. I am sort of new to this blog thing, so I am learning as I go. I will add you to my blogroll so I can easily link back to you and read your posts as well.