If I ever had the idea that Orthodox Christians were always serious because they were always worshiping the Triune God, then I was wrong. Yes, Orthodox are very serious about worship and why not? The Lord is righteous, perfect and transcendent and worthy of all worship! But even Orthodox Christians like to crack jokes every now and then....but more on that later.
As to worship, I was impressed last night on the use of the Psalms. I have known for a long time that Psalms were an important part of ancient Worship. The early Christians, since they were jews, did what they knew to do and that was use the Psalter -and with 150 Psalms, there's a lot to choose from - and that practice is continued extensively in the Orthodox Church. My own Protestant Parish uses old Hymns (although going back to the 1800's is hardly old when you consider the Hymnography of the Orthodoxy Church which goes back centuries!) and they use choruses a great deal, what I have heard called "Worship ditties." While these choruses have some substance, they do not possess the richness found in the Psalms. After all, which is better, singing a song based on a Psalm or singing the Psalm itself? The Church opted for the Psalter and I understand the benefit of that more deeply now. Last night, singing Psalm 1, I was brought back to when I was a young man, in my teens, actually when I memorized the entire Psalm. True it is a half a dozen verses and not a great feat but committing that to memory helped me in a small crisis of faith I was having at the time. Singing that Psalm last night brought me great comfort and helped me to do what we all should do in Church - Worship!
Now, as to "More Comedy Jokes" - a phrase I stole from Steve Martin from a comedy album he did decades ago - Fr Gary was commemorating saints of the day and we came to Martinianos the Righteous, who, it turns out threw himself into a burning fire in order to calm his own lusts as a harlot was trying to seduce him...that would work pretty well, I think. Well, as Fr Gary mentioned his name, Deacon Ken whispered to me, "Martinianos, is he the patron saint of bars, alone with his sister Olive?" I must admit, even though I don't like martinis, I broke away from praying for a few moments in order to chuckle...:)
After Vespers, I gave Deacon Ken an Air Force Web belt and Canteen to give to his son Billy who is in the Civil Air Patrol. (He was not in Vespers that night). Also, I chatted with Tammy a bit who was happy to read about herself on last week's blog post. She had emailed me with a link to Ancient Faith Radio for a discussion with