Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in The Gulag Archipelago tells us that we should make this our credo, our guiding moral philosophy if you will. “Let the lie come into the world, let it even triumph. But not through me.”
We’ve looked at 10 lies that Orthodox Christians tell ourselves. Maybe you agree with me about all 10. Or maybe you only think I got a few right. Or maybe you think I’m just wrong on all 10.
None of this matters!
What does matter is that you commit to not lying, to not doing what you know to be morally wrong.
This isn’t being passive. It rather to trust what St Gregory Palamas teaches
…the wise providence of God orders our affairs in many different ways and lovingly bestows on each one of us what is appropriate and profitable both for virtuous deeds and the mysteries of faith (Staying to the End of the Divine Services).
When I tell what I know to be a lie or do what I know to be morally wrong, I am rejecting “the wise providence” of God in my own life and in the lives of those around me.
But if I abstain for saying what I know is untrue, if I abstain from doing what I know to be morally wrong, then I make room in my life for the grace of God.
Building on this grace, we must foster in each other a sense of personal commitment to Christ and personal responsibility for the work of not just the parish but the Church in America.
The late Metropolitan Anthony (Bloom) of Surouzh, has said that this “means … working with [people] as a gardener would with flowers or other plants. He has to know the soil, the nature of the plant, the climactic or other conditions they are set in, and only then can he help. And help is all he can do because one or another plant can only grow into what it should be by nature.”
What the must we do?
We must commit ourselves to helping each other grow in our love for Christ. When we do this not only will we grow in our love for Christ, we will also grow in our love for each other. Against this love, nothing can stand.
In my own view, what we need are more active lay ministries like AOC. While it is a good start, what we need, what I think God is asking of His Church in America, is for ALL Orthodox Christians to take seriously their personal call to follow Christ as His disciples and witnesses.
For a fuller explanation of this point, for the rest of my talk, and the Q&A that followed: