Tuesday, August 05, 2014

In Honor of the Feast of Transfiguration

"He revealed Himself as far as they could bear."

I found when returning from seminary, admitting I wasn't the best student, that the faith I was studying was not the expression of faith my mother was practicing.  I had internalized the faith with my new found information and she was physically expressing the faith with prayer, fasting, and those few things that seemed unnecessary.  In return I was justified but she was fulfilled.  

This is one reason I write my blog.  I too want to be fulfilled.  I also want to help others who are struggling in this way.

When we are struggling in our faith and in our lives one of the first bits of advice that is freely given is that prayer can help. Prayer is the answer.  Prayer will reveal what you are missing.   But what is prayer?  And how does it differ from worship? Is the Liturgy prayer or worship?  Is the Paraklesis service prayer or worship?  Is serving the poor prayer or worship? 

It seems to me that both prayer and worship are self emptying and God-filling.  The difference being (simply put) prayer is when we are aware of God's presence and we are in the moment... we communicate, we ask for help and guidance, we are at peace.   But worship is how we respond to the reality that He is God and we are created.

In worship we respond to the structure that was handed down, preserved through the Church by the Holy Spirit, and relate to God in a way that He has instructed.  I have often thought that to worship God in any other way than what had been handed down through the Church has the potential of being offensive to God in the same I way relate with my mother or my father as parent/child and not friends, siblings or equals.  God has made it clear how He wants us to relate with Him, not for His ego but for our limited ability to comprehend God's fullness.   For example, Liturgy, is our training ground to prepare us for Heaven... we practice relating to God through the worship of the Liturgy so that when we are fully aware of His presence we know what to do and we don't fumble around. 

In the Apolytikion of Transfiguration, we sing "He revealed Himself as far as they could bear."


There is so much about God that we couldn't possible understand.  I hope that we will acknowledge tomorrow's feast day with humility and thanksgiving that God has offered us the Church and the tools of prayer, fasting and almsgiving as a means to understand Him as much as we can bear... which naturally implies the fullness of our limitations.

1 comment:

Liz said...

I love it when you write from your heart.... I hear it with my heart.
Love you, Liz