"The Church is not a Social Club"


By Father Sergius Nezhbort

The Church is not just a social club, where you can go if you want, where you can listen to choirs, have a rest for your soul, console yourself and then leave it go on your way. It is a place where we meet God. And this meeting changes a person significantly. 

Sometimes it happens when the person least expects it: God comes into our lives and there is nothing we can do with this. The only way is to humble and to accept His will. Not to oppose, but to understand the God’s plan of our salvation no matter how difficult this plan seems to us.

Of course, we would like to combine the things which cannot be combined. We want our life to be quiet and successful, we want there to be less sorrows and diseases, and that little by little we go and reach the Kingdom of Heaven. Such is a Holywood-style variant of life. However, in real life it does not work this way. In fact, it is the opposite. People suffer from difficulties and troubles, sorrows, misunderstanding… And quite often these things devastate us. Sometimes people are so tired of their problems that they lose not just their faith, but even their hope. In such moments it is vital to endure and to remain faithful to Christ, to preserve our hope. Our loyalty to Christ is the main thing. It does not mean that we will walk with a banner in front of God as we would on parade. Perhaps, we will toddle somewhere in the last row, but we must do it in the right direction.

It is very important to understand that if we have entered the church, if we have been baptized, if we have partaken of the Holy Communion, then we became responsible for this and we cannot just pretend that holiness is not for us. I would like to say some words about the Divine Liturgy in this context. It is out of time. I mean, you cannot finish it and then start it again. It lasts constantly in our life. This is why we should understand that when we have left the church, we should keep this Divine participation. We should strive to save and bear it. And if we lose it, we should come back. The liturgy is not just a service in the church schedule, but it is our life. Christ should be the center of this life. If in our lives it is not always like this, then we should struggle to change our approach.

Sermon by Father Sergius Nezhbort, December 8, 2016

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