Because of the Icon's completion, I couldn't help but think of the Theotokos during Vespers last night. I used to be very scandalized as a protestant for what I perceived to be the worship of Mary. I got more of a sense of that as worship when I was in Roman Catholic circles but, as usual, the Orthodox got it right in terms of balance and honor. During Vespers, there is a time towards the end, when Fr Gary comes through the Royal Doors and faces the small Icon of Christ and says a prayer, then he turns to the small icon of the Theotokos and says, "Most Holy Theotokos Save us," and we immediately go to the More honorable than the Cherubim Hymn and from there Fr Gary turns back to Christ where we commend ourselves to Him.
Yes, the Orthodox may honor Mary but it is always in relation to Christ and Christ is first!
And I tell you what, isn't it a good idea to ask for the prayers of someone who is Holy and close to Christ? So when we pray, Most Holy Theotokos,Save us we are asking her to save us by her prayers.
Last night at Vespers, at the end, the altar servers always leave the altar area through the side doors and stand in front. I had noticed only one Server last night and he came out a little bit earlier to lead us in the Trisagion Hymn but at the very end when the servers take their last position in the front of the church, a young boy came out the side door, robed as a server and stood up front. I had wondered what he was doing there and I figured that he was "a learner" and was probably instructed to stand at the altar and watch what is going on so that he, someday, could serve. I don't know if I am right about this but it's a good guess. Later, I saw the boy stand by Matthew, a man I met at the Coffee hour back in February so I think that it is his son, James. You can read about me meeting Matthew here http://orthodoxyorbust.blogspot.com/2012/02/all-important-coffee-hour.html
Last night Tiffany gave me a card to give me to my daughter. It was a congratulations card for Sara's new car. (In the card, she put a small bag of coins that Sara is supposed to throw in the back seat so that if she ever needs toll money, it is there....nice idea!) Jim Martin wasn't there last night and I missed seeing him. I should see him today though because he is working at our parish's ethnic Festival. (He is cooking for a couple of hours and manning the beer tent for a couple of hours!) The only reason why I wouldn't want to go today is the food is probably excellent and I get weighed in tomorrow for Weight Watchers. (You can listen to my progress in losing weight; there is a link to my podcast to the right).
But, maybe, I should risk it! Jim, after all, is a fantastic cook!