Sunday, September 23, 2012

Absent from Vespers and a question about Prostrations

I know I don't owe any of you an explanation but I thought I would tell you why I didn't go to Vespers last night. I worked six days this week, each morning waking up at 2am so on Saturday I was really exhausted and spent the evening home, recouping!  There were times when I was tired and went to Vespers anyway and I have always been "extra blessed" during those times but I guess you have to know  the difference from being tired and being really worn out.  Last night, I was worn out.

I do have a question that I have been meaning to ask about the differences between Metania and prostrations. For my prayer rule, I use the St. Philips prayer manual from Fellowship of St. John the Divine which I learned about from Fr Joseph Hunnycut of Orthodixie fame and during the morning prayers it says:

O come, let us worship and fall down before God our King.
O come let us worship and fall down before Christ, our King and our God.
 O come let us worship and fall down before Christ Himself, our King and our God.
After each sentence, an instruction is inserted in parenthesis, simply saying metany. Is it proper to do a full prostration instead? Or is that going overboard?  I actually like prostrations better than metany because, believe it or not, it is easier to just go full on the ground than to bend down and touch the floor.

I'd love your thoughts and wisdom on this!

In the meantime, I'll stay with the prostrations....

P.S., if you are interested in the prayer manual, go to this website


Monday, September 17, 2012

Banana Cars, Church Signs and Being late to Vespers

Banana Car
photo by Brett Davis, used under the creative commons license.
check out more photos at:

My kids to this day, even though they are adults, play a game while we are driving called Banana Car~ Basically, you get one point for each yellow car (same color as a banana hence the name of the game) that you spot and at the end of the trip, the one with the most points, wins. A silly game, I know but it passes the time and usually leads to great discussions on different shades of yellow. I bet you didn't know that one color could hold together one conversation for more than ten minutes :)

Why mention the Banana Car game? I'll get to that in a minute but first let me tell you that at my protestant parish, I am responsible for changing the Church sign. I took that job because I used to complain that our associate pastor, who used to change the sign, took such a long time to switch out the sayings. I mean there are only so many weeks you can read the same cheesy quotation without getting sick of it. So, I felt impressed (I think it was the Holy Spirit) to instead of complaining about something, to actually be willing to do something! So I volunteered to take over changing the sign, much to Pastor Brad's delight who really didn't like changing it.

It turns out, I didn't like changing it either and now the sign sits even longer with the same (not so cheesy now) quotation. (For the most part I put up Scripture Verses instead of sayings like, in the heat of the summer, You think it's hot here or Honk if you love Jesus; Text while driving if you want to meet Him.)Honk if you love Jesus. Text while driving if you want to meet Him.) So I deci

The church sign
So I am off to Vespers, knowing I will be late because I took too long on the sign. And, of course, I am in a bit of a bad mood because, believe it or not, I hate being late, even though it seems to happen a lot! As I am at the traffic light, waiting for it to change, I notice two girls on bicycles weaving through the stopped cars . Now, if this had been moving traffic, it would have been very dangerous for these girls but they decided that since the cars weren't moving while we waited for the light to turn green they would quickly cross over. One of the girls seemed to be a bit nervous about weaving through the cars but the other shouted encouragements. She had the biggest smile on her face as she talked to her friend and in the middle of a sentence she yells, "Yellow Car" and continues on with her conversation. I see a yellow car opposite me and I quickly realize that this girl is playing Banana Car only by a different name. As I said, she had a big smile on her face and it seemed to me she was just living in the moment that God gave her and, well, rejoicing! Her smile helped me get out of my little bad mood.

As I walked into Vespers (7 minutes late, it turns out) I quickly take my place and jumped right into the Psalm with the Faithful. My bad mood was gone and I was able to worship without too much distraction. It wasn't until later when I had time to reflect that I realized this girl taught me something I forget sometimes. God gives us moments and when you are standing in prayer with others who love Christ, live in that moment and give it your all.

I know in the Divine Liturgy, there is a point where we are asked to "lay aside all earthly cares."

That's great advice.

Hopefully, I will continue to learn to do that!

Thursday, September 13, 2012


photo by Flickr user, Etsy Ketsy, used under the creative commons license. check out more photos at:

As usual, Vespers, last Saturday night, was beautiful. I enjoyed the hymns, the psalms and the incense. And not only did I enjoy it, I felt that I was participating in actual worship. I heard a podcast yesterday featuring Bishop Kalistos Ware (Don't know if I spelled that right) and he said one of the best things you can do to have the laity engage in worship is to remove the pews! As soon as you put pews in a church, the people become observers of what is going on up front. Well, our parish doesn't have pews but we do have folding chairs set up in rows like pews. But I admit I try to stand as much as possible, only sitting when others do. (In our parish, it is customary to sit for the epistle readings~ That is one of the few times we all sit down in mass)

I guess I have said all of this about pews because, as is my custom, I cannot help making comparisons between Vespers and my protestant church. Of course, we have actually pews in our protestant church and I do believe they try hard to engage the congregation in worship. They use contemporary choruses and sprinkle in a a couple of "traditional" hymns. But I admit it is much easier to concentrate on worship at Vespers than at my protestant parish.

All that being said, it was good to be a Vespers last Saturday. We do have a Vespers Service tonight for the "life giving Cross" but I have to wake up at 1am Friday morning in order to get to work by 2am so I think I won't be going to Church tonight!