"God is Spirit, and those who worship Him
must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:24).
An awesome aspect of the Orthodox Church (in Greek meaning "correct belief and glory"), in this time of constant change, is that Her faith, beliefs and worship can be traced back to the very beginnings of Christianity, to the Apostles of the early Church, and to Jesus Christ Himself.
Although the Orthodox Church is divided into self-governing 'Sees' with different languages and cultures, it is the same faith, the same beliefs, the same order of worship that is practiced in every place; you can say that the Church is united in diversity. For the Orthodox there is no need to be continually revising the faith, attempting "to make it relevant to modern man", because the only requirement is that the faith be relevant to God. So many of today's expressions of religion appear to be subjective, and many are centered on human needs, whereas Orthodoxy is centered on worshipping God, which is the essence of what Orthodox Christians do together during Church services and their every day lives. It is surprising how often people say, "we should feel good", and "I want something out of it" when we go to Church, but surely we are there in order "to feel God" and to give Him thanksgiving.
The Divine Liturgy (meaning "common work" in Greek) of St John Chrysostom is the main service in the Orthodox Church, and it has remained unchanged for about 1700 years. The Liturgy can be a time to celebrate the joy in the Resurrection of Christ and "to feel God", especially when you focus on the meaning of what is said and chanted during the service. These words can lift your thoughts to heaven by their beauty and truth, for "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:24).
Often it is as though time stands still when we celebrate the Divine Liturgy, as though the past, present and future merge, and we are together with the faithful since the beginning of Christianity. The Divine Liturgy is not just a participation in the Last Supper, nor is it an expression of some future hope, but it is when Christ is with us. "For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them" (Matt 18:20).
The Orthodox Church is not a place where people worship as individuals, but is where people gather for the "common work" to worship together as a family. It is a time we gather in remembrance of Christ, Who said, "This is My body which is given to you, do this in remembrance of Me" (Luke 22:19). There are no private services in the Orthodox Church, because our services are always for everyone, and always together.
Orthodoxy takes prayer, fasting, the Holy Mysteria, and God seriously. God is not some object to show interest in when it suits us, but He is the very heart of our being. In the ever-changing society in which we live, the Orthodox Church stands firm in preserving and living the faith of the Holy Apostles in Her daily life.
The Orthodox Church is "surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses" (Heb 12:1), which includes not only the Old Testament Saints, but also the Saints and Martyrs of the Lord in all ages. With the help of the Church in a synergy with our Triunal God, together we persevere in getting rid of sin, the burden that keeps us from listening to the truth, we set our destination on the heaven, and we keep our attention focused on Jesus Christ our Lord. Yes, and we are even encouraged by the example of the Saints, and their prayers for us the Church.