There are some who say the traditional christian denominations are dying. There are those who say the Baptist and evangelical communities are thriving. It might be better to ask why Chruch at all? Modern Icon Painting has taught me: there are two kinds of messages to answer the question. Our interior movement can happen within or without church. The idea behind spirituality is to become part of something greater than ourselves as individuals.
The second is learning we are connected. Spiritual communities and/or their teachings and traditions direct us towards a dynamic, alive, organized, and intentional spiritual life. Being part of something is essentially and holds the keys for abundant life.
Through participation in a time tested tradition we seek what is really at the core. It is revealed with time. We end up being able to move about the world with a defined center and potentially influence others. For me modern icon painting has helped me develop a core as a christian, even outside of church. It is a very old tradition and practice that I can be part of.
A good deal of instruction has come from simply looking at images, painting them and contemplating their meaning. For those who do not go to any denomination or have a spiritual practice presently, your parents perhaps gave you their spiritual teachings by osmosis which translates into some kind of ‘moral’ baseline. Most of us act on out of habit and good sense because of them. Ritual and spiritual traditions teach us who we are, so we can be of service and example. This kind of defined self serves not only our self but others. We are secure with doubt as well as questioning.
WHO IS CHRIST? WHO IS JESUS?
How do we Know who we are?
The disciplines of prayer, liturgy, thinking, communion and study are some of the fundamentals to reveal the Christ energy moving into the world.
Celebrated liturgies like Triduum, Easter Sunday, Pentecost, Trinity Sunday, baptism, etc. are designed to draw us closer to God through communion, the kind of repetitive communion, predictable so that we might gradually glean the depth and breath of what is means to be a body of Gods people. Through liturgy we open ourselves, our heart, minds, soul, and body, to God and ultimately witness and receive the Holy Spirit. The Christ consciousness we see in the historical Jesus shows us the way, to live and behave with all the attributes clearly delineated and expressed.
If we are to be the “Christian” in this world, that means that we need to know Jesus. Through the story, we learn who He is, who we are, and how and why we experiencing him moving around among us as essence.
The Eucharist is the sacramental act. Through it we are fed in remembrance of how the historical Jesus moved through the lives of his disciples. The story of how we are to live even in this day is mapped out for us in biblical story. The story of Jesus illustrates ample descriptions of greed, waste and sloth. His life also illustrated generosity and power in healing those around him. He showed us what temptation and exhaustion looks like during his 40 days in the desert. Also in the days leading through “His passion”.
The story has been told for 2,000 years and apparently we are not forced to move in “His” direction. It is rather a choice to find our own Christ living within. It is the same Christ in everyone manifested in millions of small and large ways.
NEW CHURCH WILL BE THE EARTH
Perhaps the new church will be Our Planet Earth teaching us we are connected. We are on the verge on destroying her perfect design of harmony and balance. We may be coming to realize the magnificent perfect God energy in nature and one another and there find the new church. We may come by way of science or philosophy, awareness that we are all things, at all places and at the same times. If so GREAT!
There are an infinite number of ways to get to the same place. In the mean time I will choose to go to church, like a women going to the well. Modern Icon Painting has taught me: there are two kinds of messages, love and commitment to the earth.
Be at peace. “Do unto others as other have done unto you,… love one another as I have loved you.. etc. You know the story, move in that direction.