My favorite part of the Presanctified Liturgy!
It's got to be said: The Presanctfied Liturgy is beautiful! On my 95th time at my Orthodox parish, I was just as moved as before with the beauty of the Psalms and prayers of the people as they (we) prostrated ourselves during Great Lent. Fr. Gary was joined by Fr. Sergious so when it came time for "Let my prayer arise" part, the mournful, longing psalm was chanted in harmony. If this ain't worship, I don't know what is!
The video of the song for those who have never heard it is above. It is not from my parish but the song is the same.
When I first walked in (early for a change) I noticed the Cross in the center of the Nave, beautifully adorned with flowers and there was a rug before it. A thought occurred to me as I approached to venerate, that I should do prostrations first. But, I didn't. I guess I am still a bit too self-conscience about things. I felt a bit rebuked when, after I returned to my seat, a kid came in, on his own and did three prostrations. Oh, for the humility of a child!
Speaking of children, it was funny to see one little girl go around and venerate the Icons. She opted for metanies instead of full prostrations before the Cross and when she got to St. Kathrine's Icon, she couldn't reach it so she kissed her fingertips and jumped, trying to touch her crown, it seemed. She gave this several attempts and a lady was just about to go over to her (and pick her up, I believe) when she reached St. Kathrine's crown on her own. The lady and I looked at each other and started chuckling.
I was very touched when during communion, a young man seemed to be hanging about, waiting to go last and I wondered why. He approached Fr. Gary and the young man covered his mouth and said something to Fr. Gary. Fr Gary then presented the Chalice to the man, who reverently kissed it. I almost started to cry. Here was a man who for some reason did not commune. Maybe he wasn't Orthodox, maybe he didn't feel himself sufficiently prepared to receive the Body and the Blood. Yet, he wanted to show his devotion so he approached the Chalice. Such humility and yet such devotion!
Fr Gary's homily was good. I appreciate his direct and humble style in preaching. There is no theatrics but rather a humble sharing in a straight forward way. He mentioned that even though we may feel unworthy to approach God at times, we shouldn't hold on to that opinion. After all, God thinks differently about it. He sent His Son so we could commune with Him.
I liked how at the end of the service, we leave we go up to Fr. Gary, who gives us a piece of blessed bread. Because people have been fasting all day, I am sure they appreciate it. After service, I actually stayed for the agape meal. I didn't eat anything, though, because I had eaten dinner already. I had a very good cup of coffee (without milk, of course) which Tammy had made. She confessed that it was half regular/ half decaf and she said she scooted out of the service at a particular time just to plug in the coffee pot. If she had put the coffee on before the service, the coffee would have been overdone. As it was, I am glad she took the trouble. I love a good cup of coffee.
I had a conversation with Jack Hayford about something that has been troubling me lately about praying for the departed but I'll save that for a separate blog post. I do appreciate Reader Jack taking the time to talk to me before the Agape meal, considering he must have been very hungry.
I hope to make it to another presanctified liturgy again before Great Lent is over. The problem with me going is that the service is very long and I don't like to keep my son waiting for me to pick him up. I feel it's unfair to him. He took off last night.
But I"ll tell you, going to a pre-sanctified Liturgy is worth the trouble!