“It seems natural for man to experience the world as opaque, and not shot through with the presence of God.” ~ Alexander Schmemann, For the Life of the World
After I wrote my last post, I felt that it should be followed up with some thoughts on the eucharistic, or sacramental life. One of the things that is a key difference in Quaker theology and Orthodox belief is the meaning and purpose of the eucharist. Quakers do not practice it as a physical act at all, whereas in the Orthodox church it is at the center of everything we do.
The word eucharist actually means gratitude. And I am incredibly grateful when I receive the life of Christ through the sacrament. But this gratitude should infuse our whole lives, changing the lens through which we take in the world. The book that drew me initially to the Orthodox Church was the phenomenal “For the Life of the World,” by Father Alexander Schmemann that is quoted at the beginning of this post. If you have not read it, I cannot recommend it highly enough nor can I do justice to the thoughts expressed in the book so I will just leave it at that.
But I do want to end this very brief post by saying that gratitude is becoming my touchstone for spiritual health. If I find I am dwelling only on what is wrong with myself, another person, or an event, I know I still have growing to do.
Today after my family returned from Liturgy, I took my dog outside and we just sat in the grass. I thanked God for the ground underneath me and the sky over my head. In spite of trials, trauma, viruses and so forth it is truly a beautiful world.