Orthodoxy: The Way to Christ

by George Aramath

Life is a journey. This is a common phrase we hear or read. So we wonder about this journey. Where exactly are we going? What is this journey all about?

In looking back at life, this journey begins from our moment of birth. We seek after something that is beyond ourselves, reaching for something we never had. We can’t initially put a face or name to it, but its still there. Sometimes we forget about this search. Other things distract us along the way, but we return to it once again.

Oftentimes, we think that others have found what we are seeking. When we’re children, we assume that adulthood is what we seek. This is when we’ll be independent and self-sufficient. When we’re adults, we think that marriage will be our answer because they seem to have found fulfillment in a partner and family. After marriage, we look at the rich who seem to be satisfied and content. After chasing money, we long for retirement because they are the ones enjoying life with little responsibilities and complete freedom. But throughout it all, we find this journey unfulfilling. We return to where we began, still searching, still wandering.

Soc Digest“Within the depths of every human being there exists an insatiable longing for God.”[1] God creates us in His image. Genesis repeats it several times to make an emphatic point: “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness . . . So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created them”[2]. Man therefore desires this image all throughout life. And since a part of this image is found in others, we chase after it. All human beings desire relationships for this reason. Even the worst of them look for others, for instance, by joining gangs or mobs. But for most of us, partial fulfillment comes from relationships built with family and friends. All of this nonetheless leaves a yearning of the heart for something more. We are still in search of that perfect image of our Creator.

But within our fallen and corrupt world, this image becomes deformed and disfigured. We constantly whore with other gods like the Israelites[3]. What an appropriate image to express our search for God! It is a love affair like marriage; we can’t get Him off our head. He’s always there even if we choose to ignore Him. And though we whore ourselves with other gods, He’s the groom waiting for our return. God through Jeremiah expresses this concept beautifully when he writes to us:

"If a man divorces his wife and goes from him and becomes another man’s wife, will he return to her? Would not that land be greatly polluted? You have played the harlot with many lovers; and would you return to me, says the Lord" [4].

Ezekiel takes up this imagery much more vividly, breaking the reader’s heart. Please take a moment now and read this powerful chapter written about us: Ezekiel 16.

Our corrupt passions take over and our search becomes perverted. The world readily offers us many gods, promising joy and fulfillment. Achievements, acquisitions, consumption, and passions are a few. As it’s lived out, life becomes pointless with no meaning. And many wonder if this is all that life is about. Though the terrible longing for something more still exists, many have fallen away from it, senselessly chasing after other gods.

Orthodox means right or true, the proper way. The Church is given this treasured name because it prescribes the way for her children. Jesus exclaims, “’I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life’"[5]. Christ Himself knew that this Way would be difficult to find in this fallen world. So it is vital to have proper directions. Therefore Christ gives His Church the responsibility to lead His children to Him. He instructs Peter to feed and tend His sheep [6] and this Apostolic Church continues to follow His instruction. Like John the Baptist, the Church is told, “’prepare the way for the Lord; make his paths straight’[7].

There are many ways and paths, even amongst other followers of Christ. But Orthodoxy professes to be the way not so much to defame all others but because the Church genuinely believes in holding the pathway to Christ. Christ gives the map of finding fulfillment in His Church. How so? We shall wait until the next part of this series, “Orthodoxy: The Way to Christ”.


[1] John Breck, Longing for God Orthodox Reflections on Bible, Ethics, and Liturgy (Crestwood: SVS Press, 2006), 9.
[2] Genesis 1:26-7
[3] Exodus 34:15
[4] Jeremiah 3:1

[5] John 14:6
[6] John 21:15-17
[7] Mark 1:3

source: http://www.socdigest.org/articles/02sep07.html


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