“Contemporary America simply isn’t set up to promote mutuality, care, or common life. Rather, it is designed to maximize individual accomplishment as defined by professional and financial success. Such a system leaves precious little time or energy for forms of community that don’t contribute to one professional life or, as one ages, the professional prospects of one’s children. Workism reigns in America, and because of it, community in America, religious community included, is a math problem that doesn’t add up.”
The author of the above is an Evangelical Christian writer, but he may be pointing out a challenge that threatens the Orthodox also, as we, as Orthodox, are fully in the mainstream of contemporary American culture. The Church is not only that elusive community mentioned above, but a unique communion in and through Jesus Christ. It is grace-filled and thus unites believers: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.” (Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, based on II For. 13:14)
This is what we have to offer to a lonely and thirsty person adrift far from community and perhaps pursuing the “American dream” with the result that it is not nearly as satisfying as promised – even for those considered “successful.” What, after all, is “success” without God? From within the Church we offer the love of God and hopefully love from the Body of believers that can convince others that the Church is the “place” that fulfills all meaningful desires.