I am in this crowd! Bottom right; dark blue jacket and white stripe
Wow, is all I can say. The Pashca Vigil was amazing and words will fail every time but I will try anyway. I entered the service at 11:25pm and a young girl was reading from the book of Acts. People were sitting about quietly praying, some where venerating the shroud and it was completely dark. Uncharacteristically, I sat on the right side and was tapped on the shoulder by Tammy who warmly greeted me and invited me to stand next to her. She noticed I had no candle so she offered to get me one. She herself did not need one since she would be carrying an Icon.
I think my favorite part was when we all received the light and then processed around the church with lit candles, although, the candles did not stay lit because of the wind. Then we entered into the church with the bells joyfully sounding out that Christ is Risen! And when we returned to our seats, the Church is bright and all are joyful, embracing each other and saying to each other that "Christ is Risen". Father Gary, of course, is incensing the Icons and proclaiming in different languages that "Christ is Risen" When he got to German, one sole loud voice responded, "Er ist wahrhaftig auferstanden! Tammy joked, "He is from the German contingency"
In fact, I was able to record it; take a quick listen below:
The whole evening was a blessing. I could not stay for "the fellowship" meal afterwards but I did get my red egg which I promptly ate the next morning.
Even though I did not get a lot of sleep, the next day, as I went to my protestant parish and celebrated my sons 19th birthday, I was very joyful!.
And speaking of occasions of joy, a friend of mine who used to attend my protestant parish but now is a member of a big, charismatic Mega church, contacted me via goodreads.com. For those who don't know, Goodreads is like Facebook for book enthusiasts. My friend, also named Jim, noticed that I listed the Orthodox Study Bible as something I was reading. He asked for a review, which I gave him. I also briefly shared my own journey towards Orthodoxy and pointed him towards my blog. Well, Jim kept facebooking all day long, telling me that he had read each blog entry and he was anxious to visit a service. He went to Bright Monday Vespers and he blogs about it. Please take a read. You will be blessed as you witness God working in his life.
I could not attend Vespers on Monday because I had to leave for work at 12:30am (Yes, that is 30 minutes past midnight!) so I needed to get some sleep. I look forward to worshiping with Jim this Saturday night.
Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!