It not easy to have a true encounter with Jesus Christ in today’s world. There are so many competing voices, so many claims, so much negativity… One Orthodox Christian of Cypriot background opted, in his popular books, to not use the word “Jesus” (or “Church”) at all (using Christos and Ekklesia instead) because he felt that people in North America cannot hear “Jesus” or “Christ” without confusingly negative associations.
For those who have not had that life-changing encounter with the Risen Lord of Glory, it is our hope that at any and every visit at St Innocent’s, you will hear the amazing Good News of God proclaimed with absolute conviction as the Apostles once did. What is that so-called Gospel or “Good News?” Please ask and call, and we will talk!
To those who have encountered the Lord with faith and love, one thing – truly a very critical thing – might be missing: the Church. Often, people say “I am looking for a church to go to!” Few people ask if there is such a thing as “the Church” as opposed to just a church or any church. People who take Jesus Christ seriously, accepting as worthy of faith the claims he made for himself, have got to wonder about this multiplicity of denominations and churches. Can anyone start a church? Are all churches basically the same, the difference being a matter of style and taste? Or is there such a thing as “the Church?”
Well, when people on embarking on a journey to a foreign country, said Egypt, they do not look for an embassy, or any place with the name “Egyptian” in it. They look for the Embassy of Egypt. They know that this is the place established by the government of Egypt to give travellers maximum assurance that they will indeed be allowed into the country at arrival. Or even allowed to board the plane in the first time. The Egyptian restaurant may be a nicer place, but their stamp on your password has a much lesser chance to get you in.
This is a very weak analogy, but you get the point. Actually, there are three points in this “quest for the Church:”
(1) Jesus Christ did establish His Church, upon the rock (Matthew 16:18-20)
(2) Being the wise builder, the Lord built his Church upon the rock so that rains and floods would not overcome it! It would stand forever (Matthew 7:24-26).
(3) The Church is a visible and local organism that has a structure and a recognizable leadership, otherwise Hebrews 13 makes no sense.
In short, the Church must have been around for 2,000 years; it must have organic continuity with the communities established by Christ and His Apostles.
At Saint Innocent’s, we simply invite you to encounter the Risen Lord and His Church, a place of peace, a place of beauty, a place of Truth.
Feel free to contact me at any time if you have any questions or comments!