We, the American Church, has no idea what it is to be persecuted for what we believe. Some were advocating that because we can no longer pray in schools we are being persecuted. We talked about saying Merry Christmas and the like (I used to be all over this by the way) and we spoke about how it seems that Christianity is disappearing in America. Well that got me thinking, are we being persecuted? I think the answer is no.
I was going to say watch the news but you will not see the Christian persecution in Egypt on the evening news because America has no strategic interest there. We speak about human rights in Lybia and that is why we are blowing people up, but the real reason is there is oil in Lybia and that gives us a strategic advantage. Okay rant is over now. Christians in Egypt are being shot and killed for being Christian, churches are being burned to the ground for being Christian Temples, that is persecution.
For the Orthodox the Church is not an external thing. It is not a thing that will suffer from rot, mold, and decay the Church exists inside of each of us. The Church is not a building nor is it a cross in the public park, the Cross belongs in your heart, in your mind, and of course in your soul that is the only place it needs to be. Our not being able to pray in school does not diminish our faith, remember that Jesus told us to go into our closet and pray. We need to spend less time trying to pray in public and more time praying in our closet. The Church is not a building, the Church is not a parcel of land, the Church is the faith, the Church is Jesus Christ! The Church should exist inside each and everyone of us.
Under the yoke of Communism religion in Albania was gone. All Churches, Mosques and Synagogues were gone, closed. Religious education was gone and it was illegal to gather for Church. The Communist Government of Albania was completely Atheist. When the Iron Curtain came down, the faith was still there. The physical Church was gone but the faith was still there, carried in the hearts of the people and passed on to the children who are now rebuilding religious houses all over the country. If the Church was just a building the faith would have been gone. That was the mistake the Communist made, they thought the faith was the building, it is not. Our faith cannot be destroyed, it has been tried since the time of Jesus.
Where is the Church? The Church is inside you and inside me. If your faith is in a building or in organized (or unorganized as the case may be) religion or in a human being, then your faith is in the wrong place. Our faith belongs in Jesus and Jesus alone. The cross in the park will not save you. The prayer in School will not save you, only Jesus Christ who died on the Cross, was buried and rose from the dead can save your soul. If we have that nothing else matters!