Yesterday was my fifth visit to an Orthodox church. Turns out it was Sunday of the Holy Fathers, a feast I suppose but before I entered the church I saw the lady –sorry, I forgot her name- who always gives me the Litya, called to me and said, “Sorry, we won’t be feeding you tonight!” This she said with a big smile and I remarked that it was okay. Then as I entered the church I saw Ken decked out in his Deacon robe and he greeted me. I told him I had to leave right away after the service to pick up my son from work and his expression said, “You don’t owe me an explanation- You are allowed to leave!” but as I handed him a New Testament and Psalms for Orthodox Christians: military edition – and asked him to hand it to his son Bill for me, he understood why I was explaining my need for a rapid exit. I would have liked to have handed it to Bill myself and perhaps told him I was praying for him but I can tell him that the next time I see him. Bill served alone as Altar boy (is Altar Boy a RC term only, I wonder?).
Something that I heard mentioned on a podcast happened today. I forgot which podcast but I remember hearing how it might be a good idea to come to church early so you can reverence the icons and light candles before the beginning of the service so that you don’t have to do it during the service. Well, in the middle of the service a couple came a did exactly that, kissed icons and lit candles. Can any of you Orthodox leave a comment and tell me about this. Is it considered rude and distracting or is it just part of normal everyday Orthodox life? I would really like to know so leave your comments below or email me at Jim.email@example.com
Fr Gary mentioned, during his homily, how the church has a new icon over the entrance of the church. I had noticed that before he mentioned it because I remember on my second or third visit, I looked to see if they had an icon over the door because Fr Peter Prebble of the Shepherd of Souls podcast said that many churches have icons of the last judgment over the entrance as a reminder to think about such things as we exited the church. This icon was not the last judgment but rather the Protection of the Theotokos. He explained how it was good to remember how we are protected by the Theotokos as we entered into the world.
Speaking of the Theotokos, my mom told me when I was 16 and starting to get involved in a Pentecostal church, not to forget the Virgin Mother. I told her I wouldn’t but I really had no special devotion to her at the time. I get the feeling that the Theotokos is responsible for my desire to enter the Orthodox Church. After years of listening to Roman Catholic podcasts, I still had intellectual reservations about praying to Mary (during the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, which I would pray on my own, I would always replace the Hail Mary with the Lamb of God) But then I just started praying the Hail Mary and although I wouldn’t call it brain washing, it just seems to make sense now. I guess in anything, you have to pass from the intellectual to the actual doing. A doctor who spends all his time studying medicine but never once practices any first aid is kind of useless, don’t you think? My mom told me that one day I would return to the Catholic Church; Well, she was sort of right, I mean Orthodox is Catholic, right?