“But ask the animals and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you.  Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this?  In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.”

                                                                                               – Job 12:7-10

As we read this scripture, it is not only revealed to us that God’s glory is truly everywhere present and fills all things, but also that God’s Glory and Love is something to be experienced. It is not something merely pondered, it is not something merely reflected upon. This is a fundamental truth for the Orthodox Christian, which is one of the primary reasons we are so careful about what we choose to experience. For all experiences, good or bad, leave almost indelible imprints on our souls and upon our personhood.

This could not be more true for the entirety of the life journey of the Orthodox Christian. For the Orthodox Christian understands that we will often times have to go without, or to discipline our actions, or temper our consumption, and one of the ways we know this is through our experience of fasting. For the Orthodox Christian understands that we commune of the Body and Blood of our Lord and taste the Lord’s sweetness, thus in actuality, we actually touch and experience the Lord our God physically. For the Orthodox Christian understands that forgiveness only comes with action and movement, which is why confess our sins out loud, in the church, with our Father Confessor. For all of these things are not philosophy or theory, they are action and experience. Therefore, if we proclaim to be Christians of the True Faith, then we will have to be Christians of experience. We will have to regularly experience God’s presence, we will have to regularly experience God through prayer and dialogue, we will have to experience the Lord’s presence through interaction with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

OCF North American Office knows this as well as anyone and faithfully seeks to serve the Lord and witness the fullness of the True Faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, through service. This is why the OCF Real Break Programs are making such a difference for the people we serve, because ultimately the programs are very much in sync with Orthodox practice. For one cannot understand the plight of others merely by sitting on ones hands and thinking about it, rather we only truly touch others when we experience their struggles with them.

This upcoming Spring Semester dozens of students representing Colleges and Universities all across North America will visit those in need of their Trinity-centered service. Students will travel to places like Honduras, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Guatamala, Detroit, and Constantinople. They will not theoretically mourn with those who suffer or ponder the plight of their brothers and sisters, they will actually go to their brothers and sisters and they will be with them, and they will experience with them their struggles. They will help repair and rebuild their homes, they will help feed those who are hungry, and they will walk and talk and share with those in need of gentleness and friendship.

For the Orthodox Christian College student who takes on the challenge of Real Break 2014, they will no longer theorize and imagine what its like to feel the crush of the fallen world, they will be right alongside those who suffer, and will offer their time and love in support of those crushed by the weight of the world and mourn with those who mourn and they will make a difference in the Lord’s Kingdom. These college students know in their hearts that there is no cross-training or alternate method in suffering with those who suffer without actually being present. For often thoughts and words are not enough, but so often being there is!

This year, through the blessings of our Lord Jesus Christ who calls all men and women to salvation in and through Him, several of our Real Breaks 2014 have already closed due to filling up so quickly. There are only a few spots left in many of the Real Break 2014 Trips, and we hope that you will take this time to pray and answer the Lord’s call and to serve those who are in need of Christ, and to be the presence of Christ, through Christ, to those whom you will soon serve. The Lord is calling you and I, and He is calling us through one another, so please pray, and come and see and serve those whom the Lord has put into your care through the Real Break experience, and witness God’s love for them, and be God’s love for them in a time in their lives when they could not need His presence through your presence more.

Christ is Amongst Us!