Monday, March 11, 2013

It's Judgement Time? Awesome!

I saw this Icon on Saturday
 Well, I don't think you will hear many people say  "It's Judgement time? Awesome!" But that is a phrase that came to my mind as I was venerating the Icons when I first enter into the Church. For the Icon of the day of this, my 89th visit, was called, "The Awesome Judgment." Nowadays, that word, Awesome, is way overused and has strayed from its' original purpose. "That Pizza was Awesome!" or "That tie looks awesome on you!" As you can imagine, when you use the word awesome in that context, it kind of loses its, well, awesomeness.

Instead, I know I should -as I contemplate the return of Christ and the onset of the Eschaton - reflect upon that day with a sense of awe and dread (another misused word.) In Fr. Gary's homily, he made it clear that Christ will return as is promised in the Creed.  It is a good thing to contemplate how that day will be filled with awe and as we pray in Vespers, , we hope to have  A Christian ending to our life, painless, blameless, peaceful, and a good defense before the fearful judgment seat of Christ. Yes, Christ is merciful but I certainly do not want to approach that day with any kind of flippancy. Because the world does and makes many jokes about it. I did a quick internet search and there are tons of "jokes" about the return of Christ.  Of course, so called Christian groups who drive around in vans like this don't help matters much.
oops, got that wrong!

Phony predictions aside, Christ will return and I want to be on the Right side of things when He does.This was a great thing to contemplate during Vespers and I am glad Fr. Gary elaborated upon that point during his homily.

Before all of that, at Five pm,  we went into the Education Building and watched the "What we Believe" series produced decades ago. I found out the teacher's name in the video, Fr Dave (if I remember correctly) and he was instructed under the famous Father Alexander Schmemann. We discussed the Fall of both Men and Angels. Interesting subject. After the tape and before  Vespers began, we continued our discussion on the nature of Evil. It was great to hear Jim Martin expound upon all that he has been reading lately.  With him entering into the Orthodox Church in May, he has been doing a lot of reading. He mentioned this one Russian theologian (whose name I forget) and he said that Evil is not anything or a thing. Rather, it is the absence of Good.  No one created Evil, just like darkness is not a thing but only the absence of light.

We continued our discussion into the nave, (quietly, of course, since people were praying before Vespers began) and Jim remarked, in our discussion about Christianity in general, how THIS was the Church.  He said it with such conviction it was like hearing a pentacostal preacher speak with certainty of the miracles of God! It made me smile.

I asked Jim, on behalf of one of my readers, Maria, whatever happened to his blog, 7 days till now and he said, "I don't know. I just don't have anything to say." I think part of the reason is, he is so immersed in Orthodoxy now, what with his reading, his catechumen class, his Vespers attendance and his Sunday Divine Liturgy attendance that he doesn't need to talk about it in his blog- it is already filling his life. As for me, I process things better if I write them down and, even if no one would read this blog (but I'm glad you do!), I would still do it because it helps me to solidify things in my mind by putting it into written words. Jim, on the other hand, is more verbal.

One quick question before I end this post. At the beginning of Vespers, Fr. Gary led the first set of intercessions from the Sanctuary behind the closed doors. Normally, he would lead this prayers in the nave with us, facing the closed doors but we'd see his back.  Is this some kind of Lenten Triodion  tradition or does this have to do do that no one was serving with him to open the side doors.  Five minutes into the service, someone did go into the sanctuary to serve with him and on the second set of petitions he prayed them in the nave as he usually does.  Just curious. If someone can elaborate on the "ins and outs" of praying with the doors open or closed, I'd appreciate it.

In the meantime, have a blessed Triodian!


  1. I was going to ask if there was no Deacon, but you answered that later as I was reading.
    I suspect it has to do with something that he needed to do in the altar (perhaps put incense in the censor or something like that)

  2. Mimi,
    that makes sense...I am going to shoot Fr Gary and email and actually ask him! I'll let you know what he says :)