Sea of great mercy

Reading more and more lately, I still feel as though I have moved perhaps a half-inch inside the doorway of a boundless library. Naturally, I choose volumes close at hand. These tend to be by other folk who are also newbieish to the room, to the cavern abundantly full.

One such account, by a traveler to Mt. Athos in Greece, is Short Trip to the Edge: Where Earth Meets Heaven--A Pilgrimage. Scott Cairns is a poet, memoirist, and essayist, whose name I have long heard around a Christian literary publication with which I've helped out.

Far into the book, Cairns makes a distinction that rings true to me regarding salvation in the Orthodox Christian understanding. This is what I'll quote below. (He doesn't say anything about passion flowers, but there is one my son coaxed to blooming in our backyard, and I will share it below, as well.)

For the Orthodox, salvation, or "being saved," indicates a process rather than a moment. It is a process of being redeemed from separation from God, both now and later. It has very little to do with the popular sense of "going to heaven." The Orthodox have insisted, from their earliest canons on the matter, that salvation belongs to all humankind, not just to members of the Orthodox Church. Of course, they also insist that the most trustworthy road to participation in the saving life of God is revealed in the traditional teaching of that church.
~ Scott Cairns