The Church in Montrose – Follow-Up

Dear Fellow Truth Seekers in Montrose,

Regarding the article, “The Church in Montrose,” I’m only a servant, passing along an invitation to a feast, and I know you have many other things to do.

But, if you will, I would love to talk you in person about this, either at a formal meeting or just over coffee. (Contact me here!) If you would like to read more first, I’m happy to loan you a copy of Becoming Orthodox, the story of an entire denomination joining the Church. Or you might start with The Orthodox Church by Met. Kallistos (Timothy) Ware, Welcome to the Orthodox Church by Frederica Mathewes-Green, or Living Faith by Fr. Lawrence Farley. Or, even better, come to our humble Vespers with us, the ancient evening prayer service of the Church, every Saturday at 7:00 PM at All Saints Anglican Church (2057 S. Townsend Avenue). We also gather for a study every week, currently Wednesday nights at 7:00 PM at Starbucks on S. Townsend.

In hopes of us all becoming something much deeper, I offer the following:

  1. Perhaps some may respond to this invitation with incredulity, thinking it is too hard to achieve. To those, do not lose heart! Our Lord Jesus Christ called us to be one as He and His Father are one; to set our sights on anything less is not Christian. Just imagine a future headline, “All Christians in Montrose Unite into One Church”! We shouldn’t settle for anything lower than His call for us.
  2. Perhaps some may respond to this invitation with frustration, thinking that coming into the Orthodox Church is a rejection of our pasts. To those, God desires that all should be saved, and no seeking after Him is wasted. Orthodox missionaries always look first to see what God is already doing in a people; His Church is a fulfillment of that work, not a rejection of it. Of course, we may have to let go of some of our own mistaken opinions, but that is a small price to pay to attend the feast with Saint Basil, Saint Katherine, Saint John Chrysostom, Saint Gregory Palamas, Saint Xenia, and all the great cloud of witnesses of the Church. It is coming into the fullness of His Church, where we do not judge anyone’s salvation — except for our confidence in the saints’ salvation!
  3. Perhaps some may respond to this invitation with denial, rejecting the Orthodox Church as the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. To those, pray with Our Lord Jesus Christ that we would be one! Certainly, the Roman Catholic Church can make a similar claim, but it left the other four historical Sees of the Church while adding beliefs (papal claims, the filioque, etc.) the Church didn’t hold before. Christianity is, as Fr. Georges Florovsky wrote, “a religion of historians. … Christianity is basically a vigorous appeal to history, a witness of faith to certain particular events in the past” (Christianity and Culture, Chapter II). We reject the words of Our Lord and the work of the Holy Spirit if we believe that the gates of hell did — over these last 2,000 years — overcome the Church He established. It is the Orthodox Church which preserved and canonized the Scriptures, that debated and defined heresy, that kept the faith these past two millennia. Any of us who read and love the Scriptures, who reject those heresies, and who follow Jesus Christ are already following in the footsteps of the Church. Should we not be fully in communion with one other? May we be one.

The invitation stands. 🙂

With Love in Christ,
Fr. Joseph