Do we meet people by accident? Is it fate? I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently. Certainly the people around us influence us (for good or bad, and often a bit of both). What is it that impacts us and why? Is it our choice? Or chance?
Early on in my journey into Orthodox Christianity I heard the phrase “Intentional Orthodox Eucharisitic Community” and began to contemplate what it meant to live out those words singularly and collectively. I was prepared for this at some level by the experience of living in a dorm at Asbury College and by the incredible guys that have become my lifelong friends and family. I didn’t choose them to live on that particular floor of that specific dorm with me, but it has been my good fortune that we were thrown together. And yet… it wasn’t the mere proximity but something beyond. We made repeated choices to get to know each other, to be honest with each other, and to grow as friends.
It can be so joyous to make new friends.
Even prior to my college experience I had a yearning for a place where people shared Christian love and fellowship. In my high school years, our church experienced the loss of a wonderful pastor. At the time, it didn’t seem a big deal to me, after all I was leaving for college relatively soon, and how much did it really matter anyway? That the new pastor was relatively younger and seemed to be less attached to (or rooted in) the traditions of the church proved to be divisive and many families left the church, including, eventually, my family. It was strange to come home and see the old families at a sort of church reunion, except that the families were coming together from all over town. In a real sense, these were my family as well and they had been divided.
I’ve since heard some other good phrases from various Orthodox folk. “I don’t know what it means, but it means.” Father Stephen Freeman shared with us the idea that “those that come to us have been given to us for our salvation.”
Next week we will welcome a new priest and family and lose a priest and family and I feel a little better prepared to say Goodbye (God be with you!) and Hello.