Holy things are for the Holy! Those words echo out from the altar area as the priests raises the holy lamb up into the air with his hands. At this moment it is no longer merely just bread and wine, it is now the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Those words hit our ears with an air of Mystery, signifying that we are in the presence of God.
It truly is a special moment, one filled with reverence and awe. How often can one say that they have stood in the presence of the Lord, yet we as Orthodox Christians stand before him at every Divine Liturgy. Christ is in our midst, He is and ever shall be!
Through divine providence or being within the company of a saint, or even through the prayerful craftsmanship of devout individuals, our world is filled with things that are holy. But for every single item that is considered holy, there are plenty more that are not. We strive to serve the Lord and worship him, yet there are others who would mock him and throw his name into blasphemy. with the ability to order icons, prayer ropes, candles and liturgical items all online, the modern-day Orthodox Christian must be diligent in verifying which businesses they support. While it’s not difficult to find a legitimate Orthodox based online store, it is possible to be deceived by a merchant wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Unfortunately I have fallen victim to this situation myself. On two separate occasions I have purchased items in good faith believing they were supporting the Orthodox Church, only to discover that one was actually a generic Christian wholesaler catering to not just Orthodoxy but Roman Catholicism and protestantism. While the other was selling goods for a variety of religious practices including Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam. You can imagine my disappointment.
Monday afternoon while I was gathering cardboard and other access garbage to burn, I decided it was time to respectfully burn the false icon I had receive so many years ago. It was an image of Christ the Good Shepherd, however there were no Greek markings on it, no IC XC, nor had it ever been blessed. Before tossing it into the fire I said several prayers, after all this was still an image of the Lord.
I threw the image into the fire and watched with a little bit of horror as the face of Christ literally melted and crumpled off of the wood. The disposal of icons and other holy items through burning has been a tradition in the church for thousands of years. So I felt like this was the appropriate way disposing of the image. The wood itself started splintering into different layers with loud hissing and popping noises. It was not pretty sight. Within five minutes there was nothing left but ash. There was a part of me that didn’t want to burn the image. It was almost like watching a horcrux be destroyed, if you’ll forgive the Harry Potter reference. I wasn’t sure if burning the image at first was a good idea. It was an image of Christ and I do love the Lord with all my heart. But as I watched this image of the Son of God be devoured within the flames and heat, I was suddenly overcome with a feeling of peace. It was almost as if Christ himself was saying “No this is good. Things that are holy, are Holy but things that are not, are not.” At least that’s what I felt in my soul.
Lord have mercy.
This was truly an experience that I will never forget. And I hope none of you ever run into this problem. before I ended today’s post I wanted to leave with you couple of the Orthodox Merchants that I like to shop with, just in case do you need a new Orthodox service to support. Also fair word of warning, stay away from Monasteryicons.com. Pease note, I am not receiving any type of Kickback or compensation for promoting the following people or organizations. I just genuinely believe in them.
Istok Church Supplies (Canada)
Saint Andrew’s books (Canada)
Full honesty here, that last link is the monastery closest to where I live. It’s the one I try to support personally. I know this is a short list, and I know that there are tons of other great Orthodox providers out on the internet but this is a good short list any newbie started.
Thanks for following my blog. Don’t forget you can also follow me on Facebook! I’ve been getting a lot of support and encouragement lately so I wanted to say thank you all so incredibly much. Because of all of your love and support I am now trying to post Monday Wednesdays and Fridays.
Thank you again my friends and untill next time, I am…
I watched as the image of Christ was consumed by flames