What is so good or so joyous as 

for brethren to dwell together in unity?


My Brothers and Sisters in Christ,


                By the grace of our merciful and man-befriending God, His boundless love for us is realized in our adoption as His children through Holy Baptism. In this most incomprehensible of Mysteries, a being made in His image is drawn into the folds of His loving embrace and called by Him not "created thing", but "son". "You are all sons of God through faith in Jesus Christ. For as many of you were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek [nor Serb]... nor male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (Gal 3:26-28) 

                The relationships between God’s children are, like those between members of a temporal family, perfected only through love. While we are brought together into spiritual union, we must become painfully aware of the vast gulf which, by our own will, still separates us from one another. Far from discerning our brethren, we behave as distant kin until moved by the Holy Spirit to recognize and acknowledge them as such. Having thus been illumined, our goal must be to become united to them in a very real sense. How is this to be accomplished? “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matt 18:20) Having been adopted by the Father as his children, we must strive to become, as Scripture says, united in Jesus Christ through prayer. However, it is not prayer in isolation through which this miraculous union is realized, but, rather, by liturgical (communal) prayer. Since Christ’s presence is necessary to heal our alienation from one another, how can we presume to unite ourselves away from the place He said He would be?

It is wondrous to behold how the two commandments of Christ are fulfilled in their entirety by our coming together to praise God: to love God with all one's heart, soul and mind, and to love one's neighbour as oneself (Matt 22:37-40). Our participation in divine worship, both physical and mental, is a clear manifestation of our love for Him who fashioned us. Our prayers for each other and all our Orthodox brethren, even our very presence in the house of God together with them, expresses our love for them, and through this love, love for our Father, through Whose Son we are united. The words of the prophet Samuel to the faithless Israelites exemplify this as few others' can: "God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you". (1 Sam 12:23)

"Behold now, what is so good or so joyous as for brethren to dwell together in unity?" (Ps 132:1) Truly, there is nothing so perfect, nothing that expresses our spiritual struggle to tread the narrow path to salvation better than to strive to put into practice the Psalmist's exhortation. But how are we to accomplish this, when our "brethren" in Christ separate themselves from His Holy Temple, His Precious Body and unblemished Bride? How is it possible for us to "dwell together in unity" if we do not inhabit the common house of our Father? The church hall may as well be on another planet (in a very real sense, everything outside the church is) for the distance it separates us from our true family while communal prayers are offered in the sanctuary.

                We cannot consider ourselves to be brothers and sisters only for a few Sundays each month, meeting briefly for the Liturgy and then rushing off to attend to our personal lives. All else must become secondary to our presence and participation  in communal worship - school, social engagements, laziness, apathy... If at first we must force ourselves to abandon self-centredness in order to make the worship of God our life's primary focus, let us be comforted in the knowledge that this pain of separation will be soothed by the salve of our Father's and siblings' love for us. Soon, instead of a burden, this adoption, and the countless brothers and sisters in the Church from every corner of the world to whom we are united, who abide in God’s house with us, will become a fountain of gladness and a well-spring of joy.

                To the All-Merciful God, through Whose Son we are made His sons, and through the indwelling of His Holy Spirit within us are enlightened, be glory and praise unto the ages of ages. Peace be to you all.


Your Unworthy Brother in Christ, Peter Drobac