We Orthodox sing these words every week, but they are still a lesson to learn. We need a savior, but no mere mortal will do. We rightly look for fathers to show us the way, but our only true father is in heaven. Part of learning to trust God is learning not to trust others as completely as we must trust Him. For all the good that bishops, priests, and monks might do us, they are still only men and are not to be worshipped.
That’s the first word I would offer friends distressed by the election of a new OCA primate. Here are a few more thoughts:
- One is holy, one is lord — Jesus Christ — and today is a day to reflect on that.
- No one’s salvation depends on the holiness of any bishop.
- Maybe Metropolitan Jonah can now move on.
- Maybe some of the rest of us can now move on, too.
- Maybe those who stay can take a break and stand down from the fight for a while, to see what direction things take.
- They could have elected a worse man.
- The man they did elect could turn out better than we might expect.
- He’s not expected to do very much, which could be a good thing.
- The OCA isn’t the only game in town.
- What matters more is our local church — the priests and people we commune with regularly.
- The last four items from my previous list still apply.