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Tuesday, April 18, 2006 

Perspective, Part 1

I had never attended an Orthodox-tradition service before last week. The Eastern Church is not talked about much in the circles I run in, and congregations are few and far between. There was familiarity with some parts of the worship service, yet other parts were wholly foreign. The invocation of deceased saints to intercede on my behalf was particularly alien. Mary was invoked, as was Peter.

I would be less than honest if I said I was comfortable with this intercession. They were, after all, dead. No matter how holy and prophetic they were in their time, and no matter how enduring their legacy is through scripture and tradition, they no longer live (in a tangible, I can touch them on earth kind of way). They are dead.

But the preacher beseeched us at the beginning of her sermon to blur the line between living and dead. If Christ really did defeat sin and death, then it follows that there must be at least some people still living! Just as we would ask a close friend, and one that we might consider to be close to God, to pray for us in times of joy and crisis, so too does the Eastern Orthodox tradition believe that we should ask those who have gone before us, especially those who have been great examples of the faith, to pray as well.

I think that this blurring of the lines has much to teach us. While those of us who are protestants might recoil at the thought of asking someone who is dead to pray for us, I wonder how it might change the way we look at the world if we really start believing that Jesus' life, teaching, death, and resurrection gives us abundant life - now and forever - in this life and the next. Not only do we live, but we live and love to the fullest.

Then again, I guess abundant life might be a matter of perspective. Praise God if it is.

Interesting comment. I am also really interested in the eastern church and some of the more ancient spirtual practices. I don't know if you've read Tony Jones latest book, The Sacred Way, but it is equally challenging. Appreciate reading your thoughts.

I am indeed recoiling

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  • From Fort Worth, Texas, United States
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