I am an Orthodox Christian priest. I have been Orthodox my entire life and a priest since July 2007. From my perspective, in America at least, we have lost the functional understanding of our Orthodox Christian Faith. We must take seriously that our Traditions have purpose and are not a just a litany of tasks and obligations we must perform. To "boil down" the Faith to that creates an environment I believe is what the Apostle Paul taught against. Glory to God.
When Jesus describes heaven, He uses parables so we can better understand. In the parable of the marriage feast found in Matthew 22.2-14, we find several profound truths in the layers of the story, which teach us not only that we have been invited to enter heaven, but that, how we respond to the Church will absolutely have an impact on whether or not we will find ourselves in, or out, of heaven. If we make excuses, mock and disregard the Church, and reject the invitation of the Church, we will find ourselves not worthy to enter heaven. But even if we accept the invitation, but we attempt to enter heaven without listening to the Church’s teachings and by preparing ourselves, we will also find ourselves on the outside. The Church, as the servants of God, is the key to the gates, and we must be willing AND prepared to enter heaven.
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