The electronic version of special Herald Nativity edition available here.
The printed version of the Herald will be available at our church for a small donation at tutor’s desk. We bring you a taste of this spiritual refreshment below - enjoy.
LIVING IN CORONA TIMES:
FEAR NOT THY NEIGHBOUR
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; be zealous therefore, and repent. (Rev. 3:19)
After many years of living peacefully in the West, where by God’s providence, we Orthodox also dwell, we are witnessing tectonic changes in our democratic society.
Over the last two years, due to the allegedly deadly threat of the global pandemic, we allowed the introduction of laws, instructions and measures that are unthinkable in this society, where a free and bountiful life is a rightful expectation, or so we thought.
Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. Rev. 3:17
An ordinary virus has shown us how fragile is the creation of man. “Covid is a revelation”, states Paul Kingsnorth, Irish writer and our Orthodox brother, in the essay we bring you in this issue. “It has lain bare splits in the social fabric that were always there but could be ignored in better times.”
As your pastor responsible before the Lord, every day I see these splits widen in the most tender fabric of our society: our families are divided on those who are for and against the vaccine, and those who transmit the virus or not.
THE FEAR OF THE VIRUS HAS “FORCED” OUR DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENT TO ESTABLISH AS SUPREME LAW THE FEAR OF THY NEIGHBOUR, DESECRATING AND OPPOSING THE CHRIST’S LAW THAT GAVE THE COMMANDMENT TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
Is there a spiritual dimension to these pandemic measures? “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them”, says the Lord. As Orthodox Christians, we have to be watchful of the true meaning of lockdowns, passports and QR codes that mark those who are vaccinated and those who are not.
It does not mean the question of vaccines is the question of faith, but that our relationship to our neigh-bour is the supreme law how would one recognise who is with God, and who is on another side.
Therefore, we should not burden ourselves with viruses and vaccines, but we should be vigilant for the possibility of further erosion to our freedoms, and therefore how we would function then as a Christian community in such unfavourable conditions.
There are two paths we can follow: one is earthly, which is necessary, but not sufficient; and the other is spiritual, which is necessary and mandatory; the only important path.
The earthly path, which is still open in the democratic society we live in, leads us to openly support and vote for the politicians who are willing to cancel the law of “fear thy neighbour” – that is, to revoke the restrictive laws and measures that artificially divide the people and confront one against another.
At the forthcoming elections, let us put those politicians as the first preference on the ballot, and the ruling Liberal-Labour duopoly who make these God-resisting laws, as the last.
The more imporant path we should walk is the spiritual path to the Kingdom of Heaven. This is the path of the Church, which calls us to be zealous, to repent and to chasten, so we can unite with God in the Mystery of Holy Communion.
If we have argued about the masks and the vaccines, let us make peace. If we have been fearful, let us find courage. If we have disobeyed our parents, let us respect them from now on. Listen to one another, and do not fear one another. Instead love one another, and our Lord will love us.
Fr Milorad Loncar