HOW “ORTHO-DOX” WERE THE APOSTLES ON THE MOUNTAIN?
(Saturday, August 19)
“On the mountain You were Transfigured, O Christ God, and Your disciples beheld Your glory as far as they could see it…” (Kontakion-hymn of Transfiguration)
The term “orthodox,” comprised of the Greek words “orthos” (meaning *straight,* *upright* or *right*) and “doxa” (meaning *glory,* *praise/worship* or *opinion*), can be defined in several ways. It is most often defined as something or someone having/professing the “right opinion” and the “right praise” or “right worship,” which might lead us to think that we, as “Orthodox” Christians, are always “right.” But are we always entirely “right”; always in full grasp of the “doxa” or “glory” that is God’s? It is His, after all, and even the disciples on the mountain of the Transfiguration beheld it only “as far as they could see it,” as we chant in the Kontakion (and also in the Troparion) of the Transfiguration. “For Thine is the kingdom, the power, *and the glory,*” – not ours, – as we profess frequently in another doxology.
I’m reminded today, as those of us on the Older Calendar celebrate the great feast of the Lord’s Transfiguration, that our “Ortho-doxy” is not something *we* are given to possess or control. It is something we are rather assigned, as is the name (of a saint) that we are assigned in Holy Baptism. We need to work daily, to strive daily, to make “straight” (orthos) our focus, our desires, our will, toward the true “glory” that is manifested in the communion of the saints, that we may participate in it more fully. Time and again, we might be crippled by self-centered fears, resentments, misplaced desires and ambitions, etc., which fog up our vision and make crooked not only our opinions, but also our capacity to “praise” God in the ways we are called to do. “Make straight the way for the Lord,” says to us the one crying out in our wilderness (Jn 1:23), calling us not only to do this once, but to do it consistently, hourly and daily, that we may stand up straight, *Orthoi* (Stand aright, ПрОсти), as we are invited to do in our liturgical services.
Let us replace our various resentments and fears, be they political or personal or professional, with faith in God’s unifying mercy and indeed His *glory*, so that our vision can be humbled and cleared of the self-isolating “sin” (misdirection, missing the mark) that divides us, both as a church-community and as individuals in our private lives. “Let us stand aright! Let us stand in awe! Let us be attentive, that we may offer the Holy Anaphora in peace.” Happy Feast!