THREE THINGS YOU SHOULD NEVER DO IN CHURCH
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!
Whenever we spend time inside an Orthodox church, we need to make sure we conduct ourselves properly and use proper etiquette. Remember, we participate in the Divine Services for no other reason than to worship God. The Orthodox Divine Liturgy begins when the priest intones, “Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” We need to arrive early enough to receive this blessing. In this message, I lay out three things you should never do while in the church:
1. DON’T TALK DURING SERVICES
Talking during Liturgy distracts others from their worship; it serves as a stumbling block to our brothers and sisters, which St. Paul tells us we should never do (Romans 14:13).
Don’t worry about offending someone by “ignoring” them. No one will find your focus on God (and not on them) rude. A simple smile is enough to let them know you are happy to see them, and will gladly catch up with them afterwards at Coffee Hour. While there is a certain amount of business and communication that must take place, please limit the amount of talking in the Narthex of the Church. There is no more peaceful time than before Divine Liturgy when our church is silent and prayers are being offered to our God.
2. DON’T TEXT OR TAKE PHONE CALLS
Your conversations from the outside world can wait. You are in church to worship God; He deserves your full, undivided attention. Please remember to silence (do not disturb, not vibrate) your phone or turn it off completely. If you have an emergency, you can step out of the temple to make/take a call.
3. DON’T TAKE COMMUNION IF YOU SHOW UP VERY LATE
Arriving late to the Divine services shows a lack of consideration and poor management of the gift of time God has given us. As a general rule, if an Orthodox Christian arrives after the reading of the Gospel, he or she should refrain from receiving Holy Communion.
When we plan to partake of the Eucharist, we fast from food and drink from midnight onward (except for taking medicine) and prepare spiritually through prayer. We are already unworthy of the Holy Gifts, therefore, it would be unwise to further compound that unworthiness by partaking of them after showing up very late.
STANDING IN CHURCH
If you need to sit during the Divine Liturgy, remember to stand at these times: when the Liturgy begins and the priest gives the blessing; during the little and Great Entrances; when the priest is censing the icons and the faithful; during the Gospel reading; at the Anaphora; for Holy Communion; and at the final Blessing (exemption for health reasons).
These are some of the behaviors that absolutely are not acceptable during Orthodox worship. Let us be people of proper church etiquette. Thank you. May God bless you all!
In the Risen Lord,
Father Paul Kara, Pastor