Today many Christians express an interest in discovering the authentic, ancient, New Testament Church. Relatively few people in western society realize that the Church of the Apostles continues to this day, in unbroken continuity. This desire to recreate the New Testament Church is a reoccurring theme among many devout Christians today. It is impossible, however, to recreate the ancient Church, for that Church has continued to exist since the time of the Apostles. Today many desire to discover the Christian Faith that is rooted in history. The present must be born of the past. Our identity is revealed in our spiritual ancestry. This is the heritage of the original Church – the spiritual lineage of Jerusalem, Alexandria, Antioch, Constantinople, Corinth, Galatia, Laodicea, and Ephesus - of the Eastern Orthodox Christian Church.
In the Church, “the Faith once delivered to the saints” has been faithfully passed on, generation to generation, without change or distortion. In a world of relativism and a denial of absolutes, the Orthodox Christian Church faithfully accepts, defends and preaches the Truth, without apology. Divinely revealed Truth is not subject to fads or political correctness. Truth does not constantly change nor is it arrived at by the vote of the majority. Truth is a person, who has revealed Himself to us.
The Holy Orthodox Church has been called the best-kept secret in America. This is no longer the case, as it is the fastest growing Christian body in the US. In a time when many chase after the latest doctrinal fads and demand that worship entertain them, others are seeking something more meaningful - an authentic encounter with the Living God.
Jesus Christ is the eternal Logos -the Word -and Orthodox Christians believe that God has been perfectly revealed in Him who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. The Church is the living Body of Christ and His continuing presence in this world. There is a legitimate hunger for a life in Christ that transforms and transfigures, restoring and perfecting the image and likeness of God in which man was created. The Holy Spirit is moving in the hearts of many who then yearn for true union with Christ. There exists an undeniable call to a profoundly spiritual life that is grounded in mystical worship. Authentic Christian worship is not entertainment, but an entering into the very presence of God. True worship is that which the saints, martyrs and countless Christians have faithfully practiced for over 2000 years.
In the Church, life is focused on specific punctuations in time. We live by a calendar, a sacred chronology. The Church not only remembers historic events in history, we believe that we enter into them as well. The eternal and the temporal meet. Kairos and chronos converge. God’s time and linear time intersect. God visits the time of our lives. It would be our understanding, our teaching, and our belief that in every moment of every day exists the possibility of a new beginning. Life can be transformed and transfigured at any point, and our lives can be redeemed. The opportunity for repentance and changing of the mind is always at hand. The potential for conversion and turning to the Light is ours now and at every now in our lives. Now is the acceptable time, now is the day of salvation.
Clocks record the passing of the seconds, minutes and hours of our lives. Calendars mark the fading away of days, months and years. These are useful in reminding us that every time is the right time for our commitment to Christ and to His living Body, the Church. Within this year and every year, within this day and every day, within this moment and every moment, lies the opportunity to respond in faith to the call of God, for our soul’s sake and for the salvation of the world.
At Holy Ascension Church there are evolving possibilities to love and serve Christ, His Church and our fellow man. In setting a course for our future as a parish and as individual Christians, remembering the past is of great importance. As a Christian family, we offer humble thanks to God for his providential care. Together we at Holy Ascension have worshiped the Lord in the beauty of holiness. Souls have been added to the Church. Healings have been manifested. Lives have been impacted and changed. In Christ’s name, we have reached out to proclaim the Gospel, provided food and shelter to those in need in the Norman community, and have contributed to the relief of people suffering from the ravages of natural disasters around the world. God is at work in Norman, Oklahoma, in and through His Church. The Faith of the Apostles – the Faith of the Ancient Church - has taken root in our community, and Holy Ascension Mission is committed to being an abiding presence of Holy Orthodoxy in this place.
The Very Reverend Archpriest Justin McFeeters,