Listen to the Audioboo first, then read below!!!
I walked in a couple of minutes late; I guess I shouldn’t have taken the time to record the audioboo first!
I grabbed a service book (pamphlet really, made for the occasion) and sat in the back. Of course, since I was late I had no idea where we were so Tammy, helpful as always, walked away from the choir to show me the place in the book.
Fr Gary and Fr Sergious stood in the front and took turns reading/chanting from the book. All about repentance and all cries for mercy! I especially liked how, besides asking for the prayers from the Theotokos we also asked for prayers from Zosimas and, I think, Mary of Egypt. The prayers referred to Mother Mary but, from the context of the prayers, it seems to have been about Mary of Egypt. Can someone confirm that for me? Just email me or leave a comment below.
My back had been hurting the last couple of days. (due to my weight, my arthritis and the nature of my job) so I could not stand the whole time and I was a little worried about doing prostrations. Sure, I could get down easily enough but getting up wouldn’t be so graceful. In the past, the few times prostrations were called for, I would just drop to my knees while almost everyone else placed their faces on the ground. I just went to my knees, not because of physical limitations but because, frankly, I was uncomfortable “behaving in a such a way.”…I had decided that, tonight, no matter how I felt, I would do a full prostration.
The first time it was called for, I could only manage to get to my knees. By the time I got there, everyone else had finished and was standing up again. Okay, I’ll just wait for next time around. Well, I decided to just do it. Even if everyone else was finished, I was going to do the prostration. After all, I had been learning through reading/podcasts that there is a physical side to worship, it’s not all spiritual or “in my mind.”
When I went down and did a full prostration, I have to tell you. I felt like I was really engaging in Worship. I was in the proper posture before a Holy, Almighty God. I felt connected…I felt like I was doing the right thing. And, getting up wasn’t as hard as I thought!
I have to say the Canon of St. Andrew was a beautiful experience. I can see why the Church uses it every year to start Lent off. What I really like about it is every reference to our unworthiness or sinfulness is immediately followed by a cry for Mercy and, woven in and through the words, in an expectation that our Merciful God will grant us His Mercy!
Truly, we live in hope!