Church is a Spiritual Hospital

Church is not a religious organization, nor a social or ethical system, but a spiritual hospital that heals man’s spiritual illnesses. Met. Hierotheos, The Science of Spiritual Medicine: Orthodox Psychotherapy in Action, page 253.

When I tweeted the above quote I got a number of “likes” and remarks on my Facebook page. But the remark I liked best was from an old grade school friend of mine who said, “Yes. That is what it should be.” Boy, is she ever right. We know Church is meant to be a place of healing. But Church for many is nothing more than pettiness, entertainment and “relevant” teaching. Yuck! Check out this video, solid gold!

I have been reading, The Science of Spiritual Medicine, ever since I heard the nuns at the Monastery of St. Paisius reading from it at meals this summer. The author argues that the Church is a therapeutic community through asceticism and sacraments. We can define asceticism as the effort to do God’s will. The sacraments that the author focuses on as primary to the healing of the human person is:

  • Baptism, which grafts a person to the Body of Christ
  • Chrismation, the anointing of the Holy Spirit
  • Divine Eucharist, the partaking of the body and blood of Christ
  • Confession, the sacrament of repentance and forgiveness


Filed under Orthodox Christianity

6 responses to “Church is a Spiritual Hospital

  1. David Felker

    I left this emerging version of worship nearly twenty years ago. I left for the reason voiced in the “trailer”. While, I do agree that it serves as a means to call people back to the protestant version of our walk with the Risen Christ, I see such as profanely shallow.

  2. aaron h

    ya, that pretty much sums it up. albeit i am of course not remotely sold on any idea that any church can ever be a source of healing.

    i have yet to find one that goes beyond any form of simple analgesic at best, and anesthesia at most.

  3. Angela

    I agree with Aaron and David. I can’t say that I have ever found a church that wasn’t depressing. Between the hypocrisy and the organized hate, leaving church has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. But like Anne Rice recently expressed, it’s not God or Christ I reject, but the majority of the people masquerading in their names.

  4. s-p

    I’ve had a lifelong love/hate relationship with the idea of “church” since I was involved in the Jesus Movement in the late 60’s. “Church” as institution, club, organization or meeting of people with common likes is not healing, in fact it is often the source of injury and harm because it is more “of the world” than “of Christ”. Church as “ekklesia”, a place where we are called out of the world and to forsake all the ways that the world harms us and we one another is “true Church”. But I didn’t find that either. It took me a long time to accept that Jesus doesn’t leave me the option of a “churchless Christ”. So I have had to figure out how to “do church” without losing my “religion”. Of course in the 60’s the answer was “Love, love, love…” and I think now that was and still is right. Love has been for me coming to grips with the fact I’m as broken and hurt and damaged as everyone else, but maybe its my arm and its their leg, so we just don’t get each other’s crippleness and disabilities because I’m so self absorbed. If I looked at them instead of my own pain, I might find that with my good arms I could help the person with one arm instead of hitting them with my cane because I’m mad because my leg is broken. During the times I spent away from “church” I found I couldn’t escape dislikeable and obnoxious people anyway. I have to do the same thing in the world that I have to do in “church”. What the Church offers is not escape from the world, but a place to find people who are struggling as hard as I am to learn to love like Christ loved. And admittedly not everyone in “church” is trying to do that… but I have found people that are. Like all families, the Church has its goofballs, black sheep, obnoxious uncles, drunk brothers, kindly grandmas, doting aunts etc. but it is still family, its where and how we grow up. Standing in the front yard during a family reunion and casting stones at the family is being part of the world that we claim to despise. Being a part of the family and learning to love, that is healing, that’s how we become human beings. Anyway, that’s what I’m still working on, even after 40 years. sigh….

  5. Character654

    My brother is in a “worship team” like the one in the video. Whenever I hear him talk about his Sunday morning it sounds more like a battle of the bands than something to glorify God. One of my last Sundays attending that church, in an hour long service 45 minutes was spent on music. There was a special guest speaker that was to give the sermon, but when his time finally came, he had about 10 minutes or less. It was obvious that he had prepared much more than his remaining time would allow. If it had been me speaking, the service would have hit overtime.

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