This significance is extraordinarily great. Our Orthodox services teach, exhort, and spiritually educate the faithful, providing them with rich spiritual food for both mind and heart. The yearly cycle of our services presents to us in vivid images and lessons nearly the whole of biblical history, both of the Old Testament and especially of the New; it likewise presents the history of the Church, both universal and, in particular, Russian.
Here the dogmatic teachings of the Church are revealed, which overwhelm the soul with awe before the greatness of the Creator; and moral lessons in authentically Christian life, which cleanse and uplift the heart, are given in the living images and examples of the God-pleasing saints, the memory of whom is glorified by the Holy Church nearly every day. Like the purely external appearance and construction of our Orthodox temples, so also the services performed in them vividly remind those praying of that “higher world” for which all Christians are destined.
Our worship presents itself as an authentic “SCHOOL OF GODLINESS,” which completely removes the soul from this sinful world and transports it to the kingdom of the Spirit. “Truly, the temple is an earthly heaven,” says the great pastor of our times, St. John of Kronstadt, “for where the throne of God is, where the terrible sacraments are performed, where angels serve with men, where there is unceasing doxology of the Almighty, there truly is heaven and the heaven of heavens.” Whosoever listens attentively to the service, whosoever consciously participates in it with his mind and heart, such a one cannot help but feel the full strength of the powerful call of the Church to sanctity, which is, according to the words of the Lord Himself, the ideal of Christian life. Through her services the Holy Church endeavors to tear each of us from all earthly attachments and passions, and to make of us those “earthly angels” and “heavenly men” of whom she sings the praises in her troparia, kon-takia, stichera and canons.
Worship has great powers of regeneration, and in this lies its wholly irreplaceable significance. Some forms of worship, called “sacraments,” also have an particular, specific meaning for the man who receives them, for they bestow on him special powers of grace.Tags: biblical, services, orthodox, worship