If my visits were years, I could drink legally now!
Last Saturday marked my 21st Visit to an Orthodox Church!
I am at the point now where my "visits" are no longer that of an outsider but rather, not visits at all...I am just going to church. So from now on my posts will be less about observations I make in the service and more about what is going on in my life as it relates to my faith and journey towards Orthodoxy.
That being said, my 21st visit was a good one. I really enjoyed and was moved by the litanies. I like that the priest mentions a petition and the congregation responds with a "Lord have Mercy" or "Grant it, O Lord." Nothing, in terms of petitions, is left out. We pray for our families, country, President, armed service...basically everything that touches us, we offer back to God, asking Him for His blessings.
Let me switch gears a bit and talk about my visit with my Pastor some weeks ago. (Like I promised I would) First of all, I had meant to blog earlier about this but I have been working a lot of overtime on the weekends and I hadn't been in a writing mood -Note to Michael, that includes answering emails :) - but I am rested enough and shall proceed.
I met with my Pastor who is a caring shepherd and told him about my being drawn towards Orthodoxy. He said his first reaction is that I shouldn't leave because God, in his view, has called me to the congregation I am at now. That is where I am apart of. That is where my immediate family is. This is where I have a ministry. I acknowledged to him all of this. God is always in the business of drawing us closer to Him and He knew that at the congregation I am at now is where I could grow. So I am grateful for all my years in the Church of the Nazarene....but it isn't enough.
Pastor acknowledged that he very possibly was reacting the way he was because he was feeling protective of one "of his sheep." He does understand that God can and does lead people to different churches but he is concerned that my wife and kids do not feel the same. That to him is a red flag. (That to me, is a concern as well but maybe for different reasons),
Pastor went on to say that the Orthodox church had nothing that the Nazarene church didn't. (I had to repress a smile; I didn't want to be disrespectful). He misunderstood my search for the ancient church as a search for the perfect church. I understand the difference and know when, by God's Grace, I become a catechumen, I shall be with imperfect people. What I did not explain was that the Orthodox Church had "better tools" to work on our imperfections. I tried to relate some of that but did a poor job. I spoke of the Incarnation making physical matter "sanctified" and related that to Icons and how this is a means to Salvation and he, of course, called it idolatry.
I must say I left the interview knowing he cared about me and my journey. He truly is a descent man and caring shepherd. He gave me the phone number to a religion professor at our denominational college and asked that I speak with her. She would give objective information regarding all my ponderings. That, dear reader, I will tell you about next blog post!
I promise :)