A strange and busy weekend:
I wandered about the cities with a beautiful young lady.
I visited churches.
I did a bit of work, gathering food from a local market for our ubiquitous food drive.
I seem to have less and less to say lately.
Father Jonathan, the priest of the parish that I attend, shared a few words with a group of Orthodox Christians over dinner on Thursday night. Father Jonathan is blessed with such a fundamental insight into the biblical mindset; a mindset that when rightly understood is as confounding and condemning to most Christians as it is to the world of unbelief.
The people of God, whether the nation Israel or the Israel of the Church are always spoken of as a feminine being; thus the people of God are those who receive their Lover; namely Christ. God is always pictured as the Bridegroom and His people are always the adulterous Bride. We are harlots in as much as we take to the world, and we are loving brides in as much as we receive our God and husband.
The Church does not dispense grace – it receives grace. The Church does not forgive sins, but it is the place where sins are forgiven, for it has received forgiveness. The Church does not save; it is the place of salvation.
Father spoke an interesting word relating to the proclamation of the Scriptures in an Orthodox service. Neither the priest nor even a bishop is prescribed to read the Gospel. No, it is a deacon’s task to proclaim the Word of God to the priest and/or the bishop. The priest and the bishop are part of the Bride of Christ; therefore they must also receive the Bridegroom in the Scriptures. Only after they have received may they then become an icon of the husbandry of the Word of God, through their preaching of the Word of God.