In an effort to catch up on some sleep, avert an incoming cold, and make some important life decisions I'm spending my three-day weekend up at the family cabin in Washington's Cascade Mountains. It's been a wonderfully relaxing, calm, quiet weekend so far and I thank God for it, but the one thing that's missing is church. It's sad to me that in this day and age in North America there are still so many places without any sort of church presence at all - whether it's a parish, mission, monastic community, chapel, or whatever. I will be going to Sunday Liturgy at least, but it's going to be an hour and a half drive to get there and in the winter it would be a drive that would frequently be impossible to make because of the weather.
I'm so thankful for how far we've come and how much we've grown in Orthodoxy, but perhaps part of why we in North America aren't fully free of Old World interference in our life is that there are still so many places for our Orthodox to move, get lost spiritually, and simply disappear from the Church. The recent census has put us in our place (though I fear the numbers may still be inflated). And I hope it's not because we are so small - God knows we're still much bigger here on this continent than the Ecumenical Patriarchate is in Turkey or the Church of Jerusalem is in the Holy Lands. No, it puts us in our place because after over two hundred years of a presence here we still don't know how to reach our own people, much less the wider world around us. We need only to look at the huge numbers of Russians, Greeks, and Ethiopians in this country to know that.