My brothers and sisters in Christ,
For this season of Lent we are reflecting under the theme of “CHURCH CULTURE”. This is certainly a broad theme and there is much to be reflected upon. While we may not be able to cover everything I trust the areas we are able to reflect upon will help to challenge our thought patterns so as to draw us closer to God. The aim of our Sunday reflections is to enable us to at least begin to Let go of what is not of God, Enter into deeper communion with God, Nourish within us the Spirit of God, and ultimately be able to Touch others with the love of God.
Our understanding of Church culture begins with this building which has been specifically dedicated to God for our worship of Him. When we enter these walls we must be able to recognize that we are in a different space and if this is indeed true then how can we behave in God’s house in the same way we would behave when we are in the world or on the outside of the Church building. Certainly we should take our behavior from Church into the world but we should not seek to bring worldly behavior into God’s house. On this point there are many issues that can be raised but for us as Christians what comes first is our ability to understand differences and distinctions between what is of the world and what is of God. Clothing for example: there are some styles and type of clothing that are not acceptable no matter where one may wear them; there are others that may be acceptable outside of Church but not appropriate for coming to worship; and then of course there is clothing that is specifically made for worship services. There are certain offices and/or institutions that refuse to allow persons to enter their walls because of how they are dressed. If persons can show such respect for earthly authority does it not stand to reason that even greater respect and reverence ought to be shown to our God?
I do not want us to get stuck on clothing for knowing differences between worldly practices and Church culture speaks to attitude. What is our attitude when we come to worship? Do we have a real desire to know God and to understand what He desires of us? If Christians do not show the difference in behavior and attitude when coming to the house of God, who will show that difference? God’s house deserves the utmost respect and reverence from all who will come here, Christians and non-Christians. If this understanding is not upper most in our minds then all else that follows after our arrival will be meaningless. The noisy chatter in our churches,: means we are not preparing for God; eating of sweets and chewing gum: means our mouths are not free to praise God and feed on the blessed sacrament; skimpy clothing: means we are thinking sexy rather than spirituality. Everything we do is an indication of where our true focus really is. I share this acrostic for LENT with us for I believe it can go a long way in assisting us to deepen our relationship with our heavenly Father:
L-Let go the things that are not of God
E– Enter into a deeper relationship with God
N– Nourish within you the spirit of God
T– Touch others with the love of God.
A Blessed Lent to All from Fr. Cassius