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Prayer or good deeds? Remember a Thank … and do good deeds

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Prayer or good deeds?

On Great Tuesday, the parable of the Last Judgment is read in the temple. From it it becomes obvious that worship is not the main thing for salvation. Why do we come to the temple? The Roman Popkov fund volunteer is thinking.

“When the Son of Man comes in His glory and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory, and all nations will gather before Him; and set them apart from each other, like a shepherd separates sheep from goats; And he shall set the sheep on his right, and the goats on the left.

Then the King will say to those who are on His right hand: Come, blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry, and you gave Me to eat; I thirsted, and you gave me drink; I was a stranger, and you received me; I was naked, and you clothed me; I was sick, and you visited me; I was in prison, and you came to me.

Then the righteous will answer him: Lord! when did we see you hungry and feed you? or thirsty, and drink? "

The Gospel of Matthew,
chapter 25 verses 31-37

After reading the parable, the question arises: why did I come to the temple, if the Lord asked me not about visiting the temple, but about helping others? I came to divine service and heard that serving God is something else.

In the parable, those who are on the right side of the Lord are genuinely surprised. “When did we serve you, Lord? We were surrounded by people, but You were not among them! ”. It turns out that by helping their neighbors, they did not think that they were serving God and their deeds are recorded “somewhere out there.” But how can we not think about salvation?


Every family has significant family dates. For example, if someone in the family has veterans of the Great Patriotic War, then Victory Day is especially significant for them. The family arranges a festive dinner, goes to the parade, sings military songs, remembers their relatives. Through these actions, the living now become involved in the story, become closer to the life of their ancestors.

In the Old Testament, Israel, the descendants of Abraham, also had important events in history: the exodus from Egypt, the conquest of the promised land, the restoration of the Jerusalem temple. These are events not only of human history, but also of divine. Remembering them, the people of Israel glorified God, who in history revealed his saving power.

High Priest Ezra prays when laying the new Temple of Jerusalem

In the New Testament, the central event is the coming into the world and the Resurrection of Christ. The result is grandiose: the death sentence itself was passed! We join this miracle through the Tradition of the Church. The liturgical texts, the sacraments, the writings of the holy fathers help to forget about sins and imaginary virtues, to focus on God.

Thus, memory is the most important part of the spiritual life.


"The first, most important, source of all:" May my soul rejoice in the Lord … ". Fear of sin does not save from sin. Joy in the Lord saves. Guilt, moralism does not "free" from the world and its temptations. Joy is the basis of freedom in which we are called to "stand." God offers his forgiveness and healing — accept them and thank Him. We, like the people of Israel, have gathered to rejoice before the face of the Lord. We have the priceless right to glorify the Creator and Savior. Right and right, not a heavy burden! ”

Prot. Alexander Schmemann,

Thanksgiving, which says about. Alexander, we find everywhere: the song of the Virgin "My soul magnifies the Lord", "Now let go" of Simeon the God bearer, psalms and hymns in the Revelation of John the Divine, hymns about Christ in the Epistles of the Apostle Paul.

Praise is the center of Orthodox worship. In the liturgical texts we hear about the creation of the world, the fall into sin, salvation from Egyptian slavery, the long journey of Israel to the Incarnation of God, God's allegiance to the Covenant; then – about the Resurrection of the Son of God – the new creation, salvation from sin and death, sending the Holy Spirit and many other things. We ask almost nothing, but only all together sing the God that saves us.

Great linguistics – one of the central moments of the festive service of Matins

Sometimes the liturgical texts remind us of sinfulness and infidelity, so that the light of divine forgiveness shines even brighter on this dark background: God extended his hand to us, offered to go with Him to His Kingdom. We must abandon attempts at self-redemption and understand: salvation is an undeserved gift.

We express the memory of God through thanksgiving. So we get closer to Him.

… and do good deeds

So good deeds are not needed? If the path to God is through memory and thanksgiving – maybe we will stay in a cozy church world and enjoy the relationship with God?

Not. Salvation is not only a gift, but a vocation. The love that God pours out on us, which he teaches in the sacrament of the Eucharist, we must bring to people. We are called to reflect the light with which the Lord illuminates us. If we live with God, if we let Him dwell among us, then the Kingdom of God is already among us.

“Christ among us” – so priests greet each other before Communion

Worship is not a service and is no substitute for good works. This is a family dinner at the table of the Lord. When the love that reigns in the kingdom of Christ settles in the heart, good deeds become natural. We do not “earn” salvation, but help others unselfishly, without fear of punishment and the desire for reward.

So, there is no alternative – worship or good deeds. There is God's love living in the heart, and its free pouring out on people in good works.

All about Passion Week
Media Library Selection The most important time in the life of an Orthodox Christian began. To live this time more consciously, to better understand what is happening in the temple – use our materials.

You can download the file in high resolution (12 MB) and print it on A3.

The lecture of Ilya Aleksandrovich Krasovitsky, an experienced church regent and a teacher at PSTU, tells in detail about Passion Week. Every day has its own dedication, its own order and its own characteristics of worship. All this is disassembled in the lecture.

The main book that sounds in the temple during the days of fasting is the Fast Triodion. Maria Sergeevna, the wife of Ilya Krasovitsy, tells how this book appeared, who wrote it and why, and most importantly, how to better understand and love it. The lecture was very bright and poetic – like the Fast Triodium itself. Recommended.

You can also download the Lenten Triodion from our library. There is an option in Church Slavonic and Russian translation of Amvrosy (Timrota). In this book, you can follow what they read and sing in the temple.

Have a good week!

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