Sunday, June 21, 2015

Change for the sake of change

Christ is the pastor of our souls. Everything that He has divinely revealed to us must be guarded from those that seek to compromise it and misuse it for personal self-aggrandizement and gain. The Church is not a shopping market wherein we take what we like and ignore what we do not like. The Church is an entire package deal. Sometimes we have to allow God to transform our minds and conform them to the truth divinely revealed by Christ, taught and maintained in the holy Orthodox Faith.

History has displayed the ugliness of those who have used the Church abusively. For example, the Bishop of Rome (Pope Leo IX) grew in power and prestige due to the political temporal authority given to the Papacy by the converted Roman Emperor (namely Constantine) centuries before. The Edict of Milan (313AD) set a new path for the prestige and influence for the Bishop of Rome, the Pope, which caused schism and dissension in later years. By the eleventh century (1054AD), Pope Leo IX helped create the Great Schism that separated the One Church. The choice to impose his temporal power caused him to lose sight of his role as the first among equals. The Patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem and Constantinople were the other four Patriarchal sees. The notion that the one Orthodox Church separated from the Bishop of Rome is a historical distortion that has been perpetrated by some in the Roman See since 1054AD when the Bishop of Rome, at that time, decided to put self aggrandizement before the unity of the Church. Perhaps the current Bishop of Rome will help usher in a reunion of Christianity.

The powerful institution that the Roman Church has evolved into does not negate its charitable social outreach, good works and faithful people. Such power resulted in some being involved in worldly pursuits and institutional self gain over the centuries. The Protestant Reformation is the result of such corrupted worldly power and the 53,000 denominations that have torn asunder the Church of Christ is a direct result of what initially began in 1054AD.

When Christ and what He divinely instituted in His Church is thrown by the wayside for agendas, political movements, self aggrandizement, marketing, etc., then the mission of the Church is thrown aside and lost too. We cannot be concerned and pre-occupied with the direction the world is going; the world is always in flux and ever-changing. The Divinely revealed Truth of the Church and taught in Sacred Scripture is unchanging. We cannot undo what Christ divinely revealed; we can find avenues to re-present what has been divinely revealed in creative ways while remaining faithful to correct teaching.

To be a faithful disciple of Christ and His Church may require us, at times, to become unpopular and perhaps even despised by others because of our fidelity to the Christian Faith. The ways of the world, its people and their trends, come and go but Christ remains the same yesterday, today and forever.

Focus question for reflection: Where do your loyalties lie?

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