To be entirely transparent, I was in many respects saved by Orthodoxy.
While I was wandering in search of Christ, the wonder and love of some beautiful Orthodox Christians lived out the love of Christ to me in my life in a way that no one in a protestant denomination could have.
I feel I need to get that out of the way first and foremost as a way of stating that I am not entirely objective here, and do not believe that I need to be.
I grew up in one of the most interesting religious movement that the schism from orthodoxy helped to birth, as a Jehovah’s Witness.
About as close to puritanical ideals as you can get in this day and age, this is a faith which in and of itself has disavowed all of the trappings of not only orthodoxy but of the protestant movement as well as showy, unnecessary and idolatrous.
No icons, no holidays, nor pomp and vestments are to be fund here.
Yes, if you were to look at a Kingdom hall from the outside, the only identifying feature, save the low profile names on the building is how entirely unremarkable they are as religious structures in and of themselves. And this is entirely as they like it, a faith with no thing save an eye toward their creator and his worship.
I am neither espousing in favor nor against this, merely remarking on this as my foundational upbringing and my point of reference I had when I ventured into the world of differing religions and theological ideals.
Orthodoxy, on the other hand, is a world full of sights, sounds, opulence and indeed a rich historical tapestry.
From the censer, to the fresh beeswax candles, to the sounds of the prayers, liturgical music and calls and responses, this is nothing short of an earthly majesty in honor of our God and king.
And something which the founders of my childhood faith entirely rebelled against and which most protestant and evangelical faiths who see as at best unnecessary, and at worse heretical.
When Martin Luther nailed his objections to that door, lo those many centurie4s ago, he in many ways forever separated the numerous denominations which would be birthed from that simple, defiant act not only from all things orthodox, but from most aspects of what is referred to as “High Church”, and this is unfortunate.
Now, once again to state for the record, I am not a member of any orthodox faith, I am merely in love with the orthodox ideal. I love the ritual, the sights, the scents, the calls and responses, and the majesty that is the orthodox service as a supreme worship rendered unto God.
I am always inspired unto awe at cathedral architecture, and could deconstruct visually all the details contained within for months and months and probably not finish a single one as they are filled with deep symbolism which many protestant building lack.
We, as a faith have nothing to fear from liturgical processes; in fact I believe that a look back at why and how these things assisted in the building up of faiths for centuries could assist us in the strengthening of our own faiths as we move forward in an age of modernity and technology.
We as a faith, have no problem repeating the words of St Francis as we sing “All creatures of our God, and King”, but pay no mention to the faith which helped to nurture this great, faithful mind.
I am always amazed at the amount of discipline practiced by those who memorize, and live the intricate prayer of the Orthodox faiths.
I believe that we Protestants as a faith have in many ways taken Grace as an excuse to do only that which we find comfortable and normative for us in our walk with God.
But really, is this faith entirely about comfort?
I do have my objections with the Catholic faith, as I have with my own faith.
However I am always willing to sit down and discuss these questions.
I do not believe that neither my questions, nor my objections should preclude me from taking enjoyment in and adaptation of the numerous aspects of High Church which I find supremely edifying and strengthening of my faith.
The body of Christ is timeless, ageless and diverse enough to allow us all to both give, and receive strength from and to each other.
We are never more weakened then when we are at war within ourselves because of silly, petty divisiveness usually caused by arrogance.
From Ken Hahn, to Rachel Held Evans, there are many who have made the pilgrimage from Protestant to Catholic, and many more who will make this journey in the other direction.
We do our faith a huge disservice when we suppose to believe that our worship is the supreme worship of Christ, and attempt to diminish other parts of the Body.
I love the words of Paul to the Corinthians, “For while I was with you I resolved to know nothing except Jesus the Messiah, and him crucified.”
If we were truly resolving to get this portion down, to live this, breath this, and have all aspects of our faith revolve around this, it is my belief that we could then see the Holy Spirit in all the various parts of the Body.
And if this were all that we were truly concerned about, that the world would see us as the beautiful vibrant relevant Body of Christ that we truly are and that my friend would be a glorious sight to behold.