God's Great Commandment to Us
The first question that may come to many people’s minds is not “how” do we incarnate the Orthodox Church into the Australian context but simply should we? My answer is an unequivocal YES. It is our primary responsibility. As Orthodox Christians living in Australia who will one day stand before God to answer for our actions, we dare not keep our faith to ourselves. This will be the underlying assumption of this article.
Fr Alexander Schmemann is far better qualified to comment on this than I:
the missionary dimension of the Church is today’s greatest imperative.
We have to recover a very basic truth: that the Church is essentially
Mission, that the very roots of her life are in the commandment of
Christ: "Go Ye therefore and teach all nations" (Matt. 28:19).
Christian community that would lose this missionary zeal and purpose,
that would become selfish and self-centred, that would limit itself to
"satisfying the spiritual needs of its members", that would identify
itself completely with a nation, a society, a social or ethnic group –
is on its way to spiritual decadence and death, because the essential
spiritual need of a Christian is precisely that of sharing the life and
the Truth with as many men as possible and ultimately with the whole
Mission thus is the organic need and task of the Church in the
world, the real meaning of Church’s presence in history
between the first and the second advents of her Lord, or, in other
terms, the meaning of Christian history.
Obviously not all members of the Church can go and preach in the literal sense of the word. But all can have a concern for the missionary function of the Church, feel responsible for it, help and support it. In this respect each diocese, each parish and each member of the Church are involved in the missionary ministry.