“God has gone up with a shout! The Lord with the sound of a trumpet!”
“Pascha. Holy Week. Essentially, bright days such as are needed. And truly that is all that is needed. I am convinced that if people would really hear Holy Week, Pascha, the Resurrection, Pentecost, the Dormition, there would be no need for theology. All of theology is there. All that is needed for one’s spirit, heart, mind and soul. How could people spend centuries discussing justification and redemption? It’s all in the services. Not only is it revealed, it simply flows in one’s heart and mind.”
– From The Journals of Father Alexander Schmemann (1973-1983)
A succinct, but very eloquent plea, that we make our liturgical presence and awareness the very heart of our lives in the Church! And perhaps a timely reminder as we may still have remnants of Holy Week and Pascha within our minds and hearts. Lex orandi, lex credendi – loosely translated as “what we pray is what we believe.” The Feasts and their liturgical expression through the reading/hearing of Scripture and the Church’s hymnography, is a whole “catechism” in and of itself. Our hearts and minds – organically united in our Orthodox Christian understanding of the human person – are simultaneously nourished and illumined. Being present in the services and somehow accomplishing the “miracle” of “laying aside our earthly cares” is our goal.
Fr. Schmemann is not being “anti-intellectual” at all. He knew that theology was the search for “words adequate to God.” And that is a process of great intellectual achievement. Yet, that very theology is already there in the Church’s liturgical worship and then comes to life in the act of communal prayer as we gather together as the Body of Christ.