Saturday, October 15, 2022

Chair of operating committee speaks on Antiochian transition

( - In addition to serving as chairman of the Temporary Operating Committee, His Grace Bishop John serves as editor of The WORD Magazine. He shares his editorial that is scheduled for the November's edition.

Habits and routines save us time and allow us to function without thinking about all the little things that need to be accomplished before we can leave the house and start our day. These habits bring us a sense of security and allow us to put our attention toward the complex things that we deal with. We people like routine and good habits give us a sense of security.

Sociologists tell college students that the world has changed more in their lifetime than in all the centuries before it. Add to a quickly changing world a pandemic and changes in our church administration, we could expect feelings of insecurity, anger, defensiveness, and unsettledness. The last place that we want or expect change is in our Orthodox Church where we claim a consistent witness to the unchanging Lord. The truth is that we need to change all the time to keep our consistent witness to the truth of God’s revelations.

With the requested retirement of Metropolitan Joseph, many of us are overwhelmed with feelings. These feelings are rooted in our long personal relationships with Metropolitan Joseph, both positive and negative, as well as the feelings that come with any change. Even positive change comes with losses from the old routines and habits. These losses, like all losses, need to be grieved and follows the well-known grief emotions of anger, shock, bargaining and depression. The fact that we are Christians does not exempt us from feeling. We should recognize these feelings as understandable and even normal.

We Christians are people with emotions; we Christians are also the people of the Resurrection. We are baptized into Christ and Christ shares our lives even as we share His. When we face uncertainty, we face it knowing that God is with us. We are not alone. God is with us, loving us and leading us through the valley of uncertainty to a place of peace.

During this time of uncertainty, I was blessed to celebrate an ordination this week. A man and his family gave themselves to God. In turn, the Church received him and gave him to a church community to help renew and lead. The whole Archdiocese is born anew with every ordination because the whole Archdiocese needs to change routines and habits to make room for this new voice of witness and life. Likewise, we must remind ourselves that the Church is larger than all of us as individuals. Church history is full of examples of strife and difficult times, but the Church survives them because it was established by Christ and is the ark of salvation. It doesn’t rise or fall because of any individual cleric or layperson.

When I was young, my grandmother would cry out “na’eeman” (rebirth) "نعيما" when we emerged from the shower. This is the same cry that people would make when a baby was lifted out of the baptismal font. Within our daily lives are reminders that God is with us in all that we do.

Patriarch John X and the Holy Synod of Antioch have been in constant contact with us offering encouragement and reassuring us of their care. We are truly grateful for this and trust that God, through them, will provide us with the leadership we need during the nomination and election process for a new metropolitan. As details of the constitutional process become available, we will keep the faithful informed.

God is with us, understand all nations, that God is with us.

1 comment:

  1. What nonsense. Who can read this jibberish. Soon they'll name a dormitory after him or dedicate a series of seminars at the "house of studies" in his honor.