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A visitor to the rectory a few years ago described our home in two ways. He shared first: “your home reminds me of a church” and elaborated:
The office in the front of your house is similar to the narthex of a church referencing where the business (in this case both of our community) and our home takes place.
The living room he described as a place of gathering (the nave in our understanding of Church construction).
He likened the dining room to the altar area of the church, the place where the daily Bread, is shared together.
Lastly, he remarked of the kitchen as the place of preparation, where the food to be shared together is prepared quietly and humbly in the sight of none but God.
He secondly remarked that the rectory reminded him of his grandmother’s house—we graciously received both descriptions—in the form of compliments (though we had received the rectory in this form, it was nothing we had done).
Dearest faithful, a house in design being patterned after a church is one thing; actually making a home—a place of peace and devotion to God—is another battle unto itself. Yet, as Orthodox Christians our homes are called to be little churches, meaning (to a visitor) they should share the sacred, quiet, orderly and cheerful character of Orthodoxy itself.
Why is this important? Many of you have described your parish church as your spiritual home. It is the place we gather and offer our prayers united in one voice, as one spiritual family, in the image of the Holy Trinity. Our Church is the place we go to be saved, to deepen our relationship with Jesus Christ and to grow together as brothers and sisters in Him.
St. John Chrysostom stated that it is no small thing that Aquila and Priscilla, “had made their very house a church” (1 Corinthians 16:19).Does our home reflect this image? Is it also a place we can work out our salvation?
Eternal salvation is the goal of our earthly life. This goal requires our constant striving to live as Christians. The influences of our contemporary
world make this task ever-more difficult. The parish church and the home are the only places where God can be praised freely and aloud. These are the only places where Christianity can be taught and where one can gain the courage to begin living a Christian life.
Brothers and sisters, at the Church the following are some things we do to focus our lives on salvation—our private dwellings should serve the same function—consider the following in the coming weeks, as the Holy Water makes its way from our spiritual home to our personal homes:
- Do we pray at home?
- Do we fast at home? (on Wednesdays and Fridays and during the fasting seasons?)
- Do we read Holy Scripture at home?
- Do we dwell in peace and unity at home?
- Do we forgive at home? Alternately, do we seek forgiveness at home?
- Do we serve others selflessly at home?
- Do we eat together (at least) once weekly at home?
Let us bring the church home and prayerfully ask God to extend the blessing of the Jordan to our homes transforming them into small places of devotion and peace, in order to serve and glorify our God and Savior Jesus Christ!