Okay, I’m officially freaked out!
I went to Vespers Saturday and, even though I was very tired from working for the Air Force that day, I am glad I went. The Worship was beautiful, as usual and the incense, candles and bells help transport me to a different realm BUT when it came time for some Icon veneration, -It was the Icon of the Cross- Father Gary and several others did full prostrations on the ground. Others just dropped to their knees. I didn't know what to do. I felt out of place and I did what I have heard described as a “profound bow”, that is, I bowed from the waist down. And of course with the Orthodox, if it’s worth doing once, it’s worth doing three times! So every time it mentioned bowing down within the liturgy, they did.
What freaked me out is, really this type of Worship –using your whole body, soul and mind to Glorify God – is something that is foreign to me. I am used to singing some worship songs –short little “ditties” that lack the rich content of Orthodox Hymnography- and even when I sang those, the most demonstrative thing I have ever done is perhaps raise my hands but this…! Pentecostals have nothing on the Orthodox! I was struck by the lack of emotionalism that I have witnessed in other places. No Worship leader had to beg, plead to “let yourself go” and worship. Rather, the Orthodox just worship, with their mind, body and will. They don’t have to get “pumped up!”
All of this leads me to a question. Shouldn’t I be more engaged in Worship? In my own private devotions, I will cross myself (the Orthodox way, of course from right to left) and I will do a few bows but if I am going to worship in an Orthodox church, shouldn’t I be doing all they are doing? These past six times that I have been at Vespers, I have not crossed myself or done any metanies. I have just stood when everyone else stood and I have bowed my head a bit. I think the reason I don’t fully participate, is I believe (whether rightly or wrongly) that I should receive some instruction first. I feel I have to make my intentions clear, some declarative statement on my part that I intend to be Orthodox, almost like receiving permission because, after all, I am not Orthodox, just a seeker. I think I should shoot an email to Deacon Ken and set up a “meet and greet” or a cup of coffee at a diner or something and talk it over with him.
So what do you guys think? Should I be crossing myself, doing prostrations, kissing Icons, ect., even though I am not even a catechumen, let alone Orthodox? Leave some comments below; I’d love to know your opinion.
After Vespers ended, I had to rush out of there to pick up my son from work.