It is easy to imagine that what is important is “my own relationship with God.” And when we come together to worship God what is important is that I relate to him, I have faith in him, and then I can get on with my day, my week. This is not, however, according to our tradition. God has placed us together to be his Church—to rejoice in each other’s successes and commiserate over other’s failures, to be a support and an aid to each other in the Christian life, to be a community unlike any other because we have Christ at our centre.
An early Christian saying is “One Christian, no Christian,” which is to say without the Church I cannot fully fulfil my potential as a Christian. So we come together as the Church and live as a true community, a family. St Paul speaks about this beautifully when he talks about the Church as a body.
For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptised into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many.
If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be?
1 Corinthians 12:12–26
But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. And those members of the body which we think to be less honourable, on these we bestow greater honour; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honour to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
And so all playing their part, each as a member of Christ, the Church, we may be a body working in harmony and in love.
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, our own personal relationship with God is important, but we must endeavour to be the body of believers, the Church of God, if we are to fulfil our calling to be true heirs of God. And it is hard, and it takes effort, yet it transforms our Faith into Faithfulness because we demonstrate our love for God by working alongside each other. May this be, by the prayers of the blessed Theotokos, the patrons of our sacred community the Holy, Glorious and All-praised Twelve Apostles and All the Saints.
Services this weekend, 26th–27th November, as usual. There will be no services next weekend, 3rd–4th December. All other services will proceed as usual.
I apologise for the disruption.
We now serve a meal following the Liturgy on Sundays. All are welcome.
Do you, or someone you know, want to join our mailing list and receive our weekly email? Then let me know.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, one God, Amen.
I convince myself, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, of the meaning of today’s Gospel reading: it is better to sit at the feet of the Lord and learn from him than to serve food to others; ours, I tell myself, is a mystical religion, an esoteric religion, where the mere physical needs of others is secondary and what is mental, what is spiritual, is what counts. And in this opinion I have many on my side: Plato for one, along with many Gnostics, who back up my claim.
“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7) And this man, this creature made of earth, inspired—literally breathed into—by the Spirit of God, is presented first as a hungry being: he is set in Paradise and the Lord commands him saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat.” (Genesis 2:16–17)
And I turn back to my assumptions and realise they cannot be true: I must change, I must repent. Our Faith is incarnate, our Faith is practical, our Faith is truly human. For we remember the teaching of the Apostle James,
“If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?” (James 2:15–16)
Services this week
Friday 25th November
Discussion on the Apocalypse, 8 pm
Saturday 26th November
Vespers, 6.30 pm
At St Francis’ Hall, Eastleigh
Sunday 27th November
Divine Liturgy, 9.30 am
At St Francis’ Hall, Eastleigh
Online session is via Google Meet: please get in contact for the details.
Please join us: all are welcome, come and see.
We will be meeting at St Francis’ Hall, Nightingale Avenue, Eastleigh, SO50 9JA. Come and See.
Can I help you?
I am here for you, you need only ask. Is there a way I can support your life of faith? Get in touch.
Can you help the mission?
Yes, absolutely. Offer yourselves to the Lord: pray! Make available to him all your talents and ask him how he would like you to use them — listen for his reply.
With love in Christ