photo by Flickr user, Etsy Ketsy, used under the creative commons license. check out more photos at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/reactionphotography/
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!