Blessed Unity of the People of God
(Psalm 133) "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" The Orthodox Study Bible
Meetings will be held in order to decide the fate of Orthodox Unity and Diaspora.Orthodox Churches in our homeland, will meet having enormous and great significance. Will its outcome deliberately weaken "ethnic affiliations" which will lead to an English language liturgy? This will possibly be one of the topics of discussion. That decision will possibly lead to the liquidation of ethnic language schools. I think it goes even deeper and will require a great deal of perseverance and possibly, a miracle. American's are a great melting pot, and it's not like we haven't been through this before.
This weekend, we had a simple bake sale for mother's day. If you look at the sales figure, you would think that it was a complete success. Someone asked me how it went. I replied that I didn't know, that they should ask the person in charge. Money aside, it was a disaster.
This seems to be a repeat of the story in another parish that I belonged to where a young married girl's cupcakes were thrown in the basket in front of her because they were "American made,"and not ethnic. She was so hurt, that she rarely went to church. (This story was related to me after she and her husband were married twenty years). Shows the loving characteristic of the ladies of that church, doesn't it? That's how you love one another?
The leader of our bake sale, posted in flyer's and newspapers the prices of their Ethnic pastries, all other "cookies" had a set price, half the price of their items. I think that it is a mistake to have advertised in this fashion. "American" items were downgraded and priced as a cookie. And, placed at the end of the table, after their goodies, not mixed as they should have been, suggesting that their goods were better, than the "American" fare.
The record will show only a figure. It will not show the "animosity" that was instilled amongst the women who labored in their kitchen, spent possibly more time and money in making their Ethnic delights in an effort to raise money for the church that they love, only to be humiliated in this manner. No debate transpired with the leader, who's position of authority was respected, but, an important lesson from this experience was learned.
The end result is that women will no longer bake culinary delights of "American" pastries, to be treated as second class citizens in their own church and country. If they bake at all it will be from a box, or they will pick something up. Perhaps, a donation will be made instead, if at all.
Ethnicity pride is a big problem, which is considering yourself to be better than anyone else, whether it is your language, baking or anything else which causes division. Anything divided will not stand. English unites us, and allows people in this country to participate in the liturgy. What is the problem, then? Is it like the bake sale, a question of who's is better? Perhaps sadly, you are not even aware of how you hurt other's feelings and further, exclude others rather than welcoming them. Is that how you build churches? Churches are more that social clubs.
People are seeking fairness. When fairness is out the window, there is no harmony. So where are the kids of all these "cultures" going? Not to church, to be involved in "pettiness, isolation, and ethnic pride" but to a community of peers that have learned to live together in fairness, who speak the same language, and live together as friends, where they feel welcomed, accepted and where the word love for one another has meaning. Certainly not where t hey will feel degraded.
If you can take this lesson to your Orthodox Unity Meeting, then you may understand the meaning of "how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity."
Simply put, this is America and are you an American? Have you opened yours doors to the American Church that you built in America?
If not, what is the Great Commission all about?
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