Christians in a Foreign Land

We have been spoiled as Christians for many centuries. Secular society has ‘more or less’ lifted our Christian morals. Through decades of public schools our Christian morals have been reinforced. That has all changed in the past few decades. Schools no longer reinforce Christian standards, and society no longer pays attention to our standards. It is our fault.

In the ancient Church we didn’t wait for society to lift our standards. We stood up ourselves and lived by a higher standard. We lived by Christ’s standard. We didn’t allow the secular system to inform our children. We raised our families according to Christ and His Church. Countless saints stood up against the secular way of life. That all has changed.

Over the centuries, as society became more Christianized, we became less vigilant. We no longer had to stand up against poor judgement. We no longer had to ignore social standards as society’s standards became our standards. We became comfortable as Christians, no longer ‘dying to the world so that we could live with God in heaven’. (see Romans 6.8)

Now we find ourselves returning to life within a society that ‘more or less’ is antagonistic to our Christian standards. The problem is, we have lost the ability to stand up and live to a higher standard. We have fallen into the trap of ‘trying to assimilate’ to the point where our standards have fallen. Now we tend to please society rather than God. We are ‘more or less’ out of practice at being Christians in a foreign world.

Beloved, Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. He committed no sin; no guile was found on his lips. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he trusted to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls. Likewise you wives, be submissive to your husbands, so that some, though they do not obey the word, may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, when they see your reverent and chaste behavior. Let not yours be the outward adorning with braiding of hair, decoration of gold, and wearing of fine clothing, but let it be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable jewel of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. So once the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves and were submissive to their husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are now her children if you do right and let nothing terrify you. Likewise you husbands, live considerately with your wives, bestowing honor on the woman as the weaker sex, since you are joint heirs of the grace of life, in order that your prayers may not be hindered. Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love of the brethren, a tender heart and a humble mind. Do not return evil for evil or reviling for reviling; but on the contrary bless, for to this you have been called, that you may obtain a blessing.

1st Peter 2:21-25;3:1-9

Humanity has gone through this shift before as Saint Peter reminds us today. The Righteous of the Old Testament lived according to God’s standards. As the Jews became more ‘assimilated’ to the Roman way of life, their standards shifted. Saint Peter called us to return to a higher moral standard. He is doing the same today.

We need to re-learn how to live as Christians in a foreign land. The shift begins in the home. Our Christian family needs to reflect Christ and the Church rather than society. We must shape our children into Christians rather than ‘good’ Americans.

While there are still many good things about our society, there are many more that lead our children away from Christ and the Church. If we lose our Christian family, we lose our children to society. For those of us who grew up in a ‘more or less’ Christian society the very idea that society has walked away can be difficult to swallow.

Difficult as it might be, the time has come to acknowledge that society no longer has our children’s best interest in mind. Our society no longer allows the Church to influence standards. Society no longer follows Christ.

I began today’s blog suggesting the shift in our society was our fault. If we continue to vote for policies that go against our Christian standard that we hold some blame. We live in a society shaped by the population.

We are part of that population. If we all voted according to our Christian standards, then society would reflect our Christian standards. If we are outvoted, then rather than changing our standards to ‘assimilate’ we must reinforce our Christian standards at home.

It may be too late to change society’s trends, but it is not too late to shift our family back to Christ and the Church. It begins in the home. Make the Orthodox way of life real in the family. Pray. Attend church services often. Fast as a family. Support the Church through tithing.

Make Christ and His Church our priority. This was the practice of the Old Testament. This was the practice of the New Testament Church. This can be our practice again.

Leave a Comment

Recent Comments