On Service and Community

Saturday, April 27, 2013

For a Greek Orthodox Christian,
I complain quite a lot about the Greek part.
Not that I don't love the Greek food and culture,
it's just that I could do without some of the social obligations 
- you know, the kind that force you to go to a wedding 
when the most important exam in your career is a mere week away
or getting all dolled up
even for a short service -
this is the kind of stuff
that makes me think I could do without the whole "community" aspect of church...


That was until a week ago,
when I happened to sit next to a woman at church
from the town that I'll be moving to in a few months. 
Feeling abnormally social I leaned over and introduced myself.

In true Greek fashion,
she was SO kind-
offered me anything I needed,
a place to stay,
and to introduce me to the parish priest there,
Father Joseph.
I joked about finding a condo 
for me and my two roommates to stay in,
she promised she'd see what she could do.

Well we exchanged numbers,
and less than a week later 
(seriously it was more like two days!)
I got a call from none other than Father Joseph himself
just to welcome me to the parish
and ask if I needed anything
as moving can be quite the undertaking. 

So I was kind of desperate for a place to live at the time-
Tiana and Kristen and I had been looking on craigslist and zillow for WEEKS
and weren't coming up with much.
I just came out and asked him if he had any parishioners 
looking to rent out a condo.
Sooooo appropriate, I know....
Just like that,
Father Joseph took down our info secretary style
"how many bedrooms?"
"yes hmm...and 3 bathrooms too?"
"anything else?"

Long story short,
three weeks later and we're signing a lease on the MOST beautiful home
(more on that later. maybe.)

That's a true servant right there.
And I mean that in the best possible way. 
We're all called to serve God.
I've always felt that serving God's children is one of the best ways to do that
(hence the whole doctor gig)
but I never considered myself a child of God
or what true service really means.
Judging from Father Joseph's total commitment
-the way he offered to help 
in ANY way he could
without even blinking an eye-
that's true service to your community.
Knowing no task is too menial
no job too small
for even the greatest member to do.

The church my Papouli built in his old χωριό. 

Community is a special thing
although I have to say it does drive me crazy from time to time.
I guess that's the American in me.
But I have to say
I have a new-found appreciation for the value of being part of an Orthodox community
Greek, OCA or otherwise,
being a part of the body of Christ
that's what's important :)

Have a great Holy Week, everyone.

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