What Do We Receive When We Come To Church?
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit:
What is it that we do when we come to church? What do we receive here?
We hear the words of God. We are offered life-giving commandments. We meet people who care for us. In addition to those things, in an even deeper way, when we come to church, particularly when we are in the Divine Liturgy, we enter a portal to another dimension. We enter something like a wormhole, into a deeper reality. Specifically, we enter a noetic realm. That word, noetic, means spiritual, but not the way we often contrast physical and spiritual. Noetic means the spiritual, invisible reality, that truly is existing everywhere present, in which our physical realm also participates, but also often without our being able to see it -- kind of like the way we experience wind, but can’t see the wind. You hear the priest refer to it in the prayers of the Divine Liturgy. This noetic and spiritual realm is the realm that we enter in the Liturgy. So what we do when we come to church is no joke! It is truly an entrance into a deeper reality.
This noetic world is one that we cannot generally see, although there have been times and experiences in the church when people's eyes have been open to it. We pray for this in the Liturgy every time we say that angels invisibly escort us. Many have seen that reality. When we leave our bodies, our souls will enter this noetic realm, and it will be our home. In that day, some who are in this world are poor like Lazarus -- poor in physical ways, such as in health, intellect, emotion, material -- will become rich. And sadly, when that happens, many who are now in many ways rich -- physically, mentally, intellectually, financially--will become poor.
I know a man who entered this noetic realm. He was able to come back and to witness to its reality. And what he said is, in that day when we enter that noetic realm, we will be thirsting for the Divine Liturgy. We will wish that we could be in the Divine Liturgy. And after a long time of sickness, the first time that man received Holy Communion, he responded with words that in translation mean, “O Lord thou hast inebriated me!” The Mysteries, the Gifts, the Holy Communion, these will be so life-giving that in those days when we enter that realm, we will long for that.
What we receive, when we come to church, is a preparation; it is sustenance; it is getting our bodies and our souls calibrated to the reality that will ultimately be ours. This reality is but a blink; that reality is eternal. It is outside of time; it is the fulfillment of all of history, it is all of time. I'm very grateful, for all of you who have provided for this Church, this portal to the noetic realm, and I pray that all of us may always treasure this, and in treasuring and loving and desiring may enter into it more deeply.
Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory Forever!