A friend sent me this reflection, which I’d like to share with you.
His Eminence Archbishop Job (Osaky) reposed in the Lord five years ago today (18 December, 2009). He was the OCA’s Archbishop of Chicago and the Midwest since 1993, previous to which he served as the OCA’s Bishop of New England. He was well known to many for his great love of the divine services of the Church, his beautiful and solemn chanting, his iconography, and his great affection for and ministry among children and youth.
Vladyka Job was also known for his willingness to speak hard truths about difficult topics. In the video embedded above, he was asked to offer some thoughts about the “future of the Orthodox Church,” and he highlighted the Church’s role as the conscience of society, the voice which says “no!” to a world careening into ever-deeper pits of lawlessness. He touches on abortion, euthanasia, and sexual license as portrayed and promoted in popular culture and mass media, saying that the Church is called to stand against these tides and to shape society rather than be shaped by society.
Even more pointedly, His Eminence insists that each member of the Church is responsible for upholding the teachings of the Church. No Orthodox Christian can “have his cake and eat it too,” as if it were possible to be Orthodox, to attend the services, to receive the Sacraments, to pray…and yet to accept or even promote the new morality of Western secularism.
His Eminence was speaking in the mid-90s. It is illustrative for us twenty years later to hear an Orthodox hierarch speak so forcefully about the Church’s role in the coming decades, a role that may not seem as affirming and positive as many would wish. Indeed, His Eminence may seem to have a “negative” tone, and yet what is it to which he, on behalf of the Church, is saying “no!”? Death, murder, sin, the profanation of the image of God, and hypocrisy among Christians. We must “say no” to these things if we are to say “yes” to Christ, to His life and His kingdom, to His love and His joy. We cannot have our cake and eat it too.
What do you think?