We returned Sunday night from Alpharetta, Georgia where our subdeacon, Columba, was ordained to the diaconate. Axios to him! He is worthy!
On the way home Fr Mark and I discussed a few things about our little church. I talked about my concerns and fears regarding our tiny, storefront church. We have grown significantly over our ten-year history, and the idea that a community even this size began in our living room is still mind-boggling to me--though not to Fr Mark.
We have diminished at times. The loss of a single family--even a single person--is like a hatchet-blow to a sapling. Many times it is heartbreaking and requires a period of recovery, not only communally, but also personally and administratively.
The clergyman's wife has to learn quickly that there is no one to rely upon except God. While at times she can lean on her husband, it often can seem like it is he who is the source of much of her irritation. He is, after all, the arbiter of the responsibilities which usually fall upon her back.
In our church, babies cry louder, kitchens get dirtier, space is much tighter, money is less abundant, and struggles are unique because they come from being such a small community in a small space. The source of it all, both joy and weariness, is our Lord and our devotion and work for Him and His Church--which is why humility, patience and kindness are utterly necessary.
But still these faithful come into the church, choose to stay, and very often take up these burdens with us as we struggle together toward our Salvation and the building up of His Holy Orthodox Church.
When this beautiful couple arrived at our door I was so happy they wanted to make our church their home, and then overjoyed that they wanted take upon themselves the lifelong commitment of an ordination to the diaconate. Axios!
These are the friends who not only speak, but act in service of our Lord's words: Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Throughout our brief history as a mission-church, I suppose we have been very like a microcosm of the Holy Orthodox Church and her joys and struggles throughout her two-thousand year history. It is much like the incoming tide: sometimes receding, sometimes swelling, but constantly moving forward--with power.
Glory to God for all things!