Saturday, June 23, 2012

Wisdom! Let us Attend...actually paying attention to the Readings!

I don't know about you but my mind sure likes to wander and when I hear Fr. Gary say, "Wisdom, let us attend," what usually happens is my mind doubles down in its wandering. You can blame Satan, you can blame my undiagnoised A.D.D or you can blame no one at all and just chalk it up to being a fallen human. But this time when Fr. Gary said, "Let us attend", I actually listened and I have to tell you, the church is so wise when it comes to putting the readings together.

Today (Tomorrow) is the celebration of the Nativity of John the Forerunner- that's John the Baptist for all you western Christians- and two readings were narrative accounts of barren women. Abraham's wife Sarah, who laughed when she was told she'd be pregnant (since she was an old lady at this point in her life) and Samson's mother, who was told she must not drink any wine since her son was to be a Nazarite, set apart for God.

Fr Gary, in his homily, tied this in with the parents of John the Forerunner who was also a miracle birth. Zachariah and Elizabeth were both old and childless but God gave them a son whose name was to be John. Zachariah didn't believe it so the angel made him deaf and mute until John was born. Fr Gary went on to speak about the comfort you can take in God because he is certain, even in uncertain times.

Another point Fr Gary said was it is not enough to say you are a Christian, your actions have to show it. He left us with the admonition to follow Christ.

This was a fantastic service, one filled with worship (which is always, even when I don't participate) and filled with great counsel to follow the Lord. Again, I hate to keep comparing it to my protestant parish, but the Vesper's simplicity yet intensity is such a contrast to what I experience on Sunday Morning Nazarene Worship. At Vespers, I feel as if I am communing with God and his people.

About ten minutes into the service and grandmother walked in with a young child, a boy, who promptly pulled out his toys from a bag and quietly played while we worshiped. I was struck on how this grandmother would, from time to time, pick up her grandson and while the sign of the cross was being made during Trinitarian Invocations, she would sign the cross on this child. At first, I thought she was just teaching him but I think she was actually covering him with the sign of the Cross, which is all powerful. No, not a magic tailesman but rather a seal of God's Love and Protection on this little one. I was quite moved.

Today was a busy day for me. I spent the afternoon running a Teen Photo Scavenger Hunt for my protestant parish which was a great time - maybe I'll share some photos with y'all - but I am glad I committed to coming to church tonight. It would have been easy to say 'No, I am too tired" but, thankfully, I wasn't. As it turns out, it was the highlight of my day.


  1. Dont feel bad, it took me a moment to focus as well as all I could think of "Father Abraham had seven sons, seven sons had Father Abraham".

    1. I have NEVER liked that pointless song and I have been hanging around Evangelical Christianity for over 35 years!

  2. All I could think of is that if John had been named after his father as the Temple elders presumed, he could have been referred to as the Razbaz by the Jews. That made me smile.

  3. I agree, the "Wisdom, Let us Attend" pulls me back from a lot of mental birdwalking. Sigh.

    I love the way you describe the Grandmother and the sign of the cross.

  4. Mimi,
    I find what helps me a bit if, on the way to Vespers, which is a 35 minute drive for me, I put on some Orthodox music. It helps me "get in the frame of mind" to Worship....even then, though, it is a constant struggle.

    Yes, that whole scene with the Grandma and the child was such a blessing to me; I just had to share it!

  5. FWIW, I'm currently reading up on the history of the Divine Liturgy and your blog hit page number one on Google. Congrats, Jimmy, you've made it!

  6. Tiffany,
    Wow! Well, such news doesn't help me develop the very Orthodox virtue of humility...:)