Sunday, October 24, 2010

13th Visit - not at all unlucky!


something like this happened at Vespers tonight - read below

Great time at Vespers last night. I’ve been away for two weeks as already noted on the blog and it was great to be back.

Something great I noticed last night. Ten minutes into Vespers, a young couple walks in with a baby, I’m guessing around two years old. They, at an appropriate time, approach the icons and venerate, crossing themselves and kissing the icon. Then, the mom lifts up the baby, the little one crosses herself and mom leans her towards the Icon to kiss it. Besides rating a ten on the Adorable scale, it was also a very teachable moment. Protestants, at least in the Evangelical world, have a special room for babies; it’s called the nursery and babies and young children are separated from the worship experience so that they don’t become a bother to the adults. In Holy Orthodoxy, the family that worships together enters into Salvation together.

I guess it makes sense in an Evangelical’s mind to provide nursery care during the worship service. After all, the highlight and zenith of any Evangelical Service is the Sermon, which can go on anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour, depending on the local church. And since, the sermon requires intellect; it makes no sense to subject little ones to that. But in Orthodoxy, where God uses matter (i.e., the Eucharist, the waters of baptism, icons) to feed spiritually, all can benefit from Worship. See what the Evangelicals are missing out on? No doubt, it is great to listen to God’s Word expounded upon and the Holy Spirit can move an individual through it (for example, me) but there is so much more available than that. I guess that is why Orthodoxy is called the “Fullness of Faith.”

Later on, the mom brought the little one to light a candle.

Father Gary spoke about St. Athanasius of the 14th century. (I think I am getting the name correct- it’s not the Athanasius of the great creed. If I am wrong, someone please correct me) Anyway, this man wanted nothing more than to be left in solitude to pursue his monastic life but God kept calling him to Pastoral work. He kept withdrawing and God kept bringing him back- Sort of a Jonah-ish reluctance, eh? In fact, towards the end of his life Christ appears to him and rebukes him for not pursuing the pastoral calling he had. Father Gary made the point we are all to follow our vocation. Good advice and May God help me be faithful.

After Vespers, as Deacon Ken recommended on my facebook page, I had Father Gary give a blessing over my car. I opened the door so he could, after some prayers, sprinkle holy water on it. A little group gathered around to pray with us which was nice. My wife had said make sure you have the priest say a prayer for the driver as well as the vehicle. Well, as Father Gary sprinkled the car, saying "This Vehicle is sanctified through the Holy Spirit." (or something like that)- some Holy Water splattered just below my eye. So I guess that counts as a blessing on the driver!

I mentioned to Deacon ken how I was enjoying the book "Cloud of Witness". Hopefully, my next post will include some of my impressions of that book.

Here's the Car that Father Gary blest! It's a sweet ride!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

No Vespers tonight!

We ended up visiting our son in Quincy, Mass...It is great to see him....vespers next week, God son went to this school and stayed around the area after he graduated.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

12th Visit to Vespers.

Last Saturday (3 October) was a great time at Vespers. I am getting to the point when I am not looking around to see how others are “doing it” but rather trying to enter in to worship as “the Spirit moves me.” – crossing myself when appropriate, raising my hands in the armon prayer position during the psalm that mentions raising your hands, bowing and kneeling as it is called for. This is very freeing for me.

A man brought a visitor to Vespers last week. He would, from time to time, whisper what was going on to explain. It wasn’t too distracting. At the end when all went around to venerate the icons, he stood in front of the Icon of the Mother of God with Jesus in her heart and explained all that meant. So we had to skip that one to venerate.

We also had a general confession service. This is my second one. The first time I remember Fr Gary launched right into it without explaining that it was happening so I was perplexed as to why we were saying the Lord’s prayer again since we had said it already. I soon caught on. This time he explained it, perhaps for the benefit of the “new person.”

Speaking of confession, participating in a general confession makes me long for the sacrament – actually all sacraments, especially the Eucharist. But I am a long way from that. What is holding me back is my family really doesn’t want me to “desert them.” In fact, my son said “I am glad you are going to Vespers Saturday nights AND with us to church on Sunday mornings.” …What’s a catechumen-wanna-be to do?

The above picture is of my protestant church van in the parking lot of the Orthodox Church. My church let me borrow the van for a few days while I figure out getting my own set of wheels, since my car was totaled. I wonder if people passing by thought there was mass conversions going on? J

couldn't go to Vespers last night because there was a concert at my church my whole family went week, though.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Post about 12th visit coming soon

I am blogging from my iPod touch... Soon I will write about last night's visit... Stay tuned BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop