Cassie Steele – OCP News Service – 15/3/19
The number of Orthodox Christians have been steadily declining throughout the past few years. The global population of those sharing this faith amounts to only 4% now as compared to the 20% it used to have according to the Pew Research Center. One of the touted reasons for this decline is that more and more individuals are asking a particular question. That question being: do you need to go to church in order to worship God? In the grand scheme of things, especially within the Orthodox Church, it is a good question to reflect on.
Modern Views on Faith
Religion and faith are deeply personal and is often subject to interpretation and preference. There are practitioners that make it a point to attend Liturgy in actual places of worship. Some practitioners can even choose to not attend at all. The thought that a devout person may, at any given place or time worship God, has roots in 1 Corinthians 3:16 where it is told that our bodies are God’s temple and that His Spirit lives within us. This passage gives credence that no matter where you are whether you’re standing beside a river or in the middle of a gym, you can actually worship God directly.
The Orthodox Belief
Attending church has always been a core part of liturgical practices in the Orthodox belief. Not only does the bible speak of keeping Sabbath holy but of the joy in coming together and singing praise and worship to God as a community. Much like the body that has different parts that come together as a whole, the church and the religious community thrives better when everyone comes together.
Life can get hectic and that’s completely understandable. God also gifted humanity with free will so it is really up to you to decide how you communicate best with Him. It is still best to keep in mind that the church exists to be a mediator between yourself and leading a good and faithful life as the Lord intended. Attending church not only gives you the chance to worship with your community but it also provides accountability.
Attending church is something that plays an intrinsic part in the Orthodox faith. It also stands to reason that people are free to decide how they hold God in their hearts and how they practice their religion. At the end of the day, it is important to note if private worship or attending church is the best way for you to walk in the light of God.
Cassie Steele – OCP News Service