Sunday, April 28, 2013

Visit 97 Brings me up to Palm Sunday!

Pussy willows
Why they use pussy willows for Palm Sunday, I have no idea...
photo by Ed Gaillard, used under the creative commons license.
check out more photos at:
I arrived early and had a chance to venerate the "Lazarus" icon before the service started.  Then I sat down next to Jim Martin and he said, "One more week." What he means is, next Saturday, he, Tiffany and Ben get christmated into the Church.  I am really looking forward to that. I am also glad I spoke with Jim because, for some reason, I thought he'd be christmated at the Easter Vigil but it turns out it will be Saturday morning so I might have missed it otherwise. One of the things that Father Gary has to fit in is Ben's baptism. Tiffany and Jim were baptized already but not so for Ben.  It's going to be a full service and I wonder if I'm allowed to take pictures? I'll have to ask.

During Vespers last night, Fr. Gary "switched out" the Icon for Lazarus with the Icon for Palm Sunday - on the table in the center of the Nave (What is that table called again? I keep forgetting)  This was done with a simple elegance. One thing I love about Orthodoxy is it has a humble pageantry about it. Let me explain:  There are certain ways of doing things in Orthodoxy that is ritualistic and ceremonial.  This adds dignity to Worship. Yet, a humbleness abounds. For example, last night before the homily, Reader John took the Litya into a side room in order to cut it up for distribution later. When he was done, he put it on the table and sat down. Well, that table was in front of Fr Gary who was giving a homily. In a more "High" church atmosphere, Reader John would have felt compelled to stand aside while Fr. Gary preached. Yet, in our parish, he quickly and quietly placed the Litya on the table and then sat down to listen to the sermon.  That may not seem like a big deal but, to me, it is.  I love that we worship Christ in all manner of respect and reverence and yet, are not full of ourselves as we do so.

Talking to Jim, we also discussed confession, something I had been meaning to ask about. I wondered when a catechumen would receive the Sacrament of confession because, technically, isn't that supposed to be for "the Faithful" and he would not be  Orthodox until he is christmated. And yet he should confess before receiving the Eucharist, right? Maybe, I am being too legalistic about this. Turns out confession for him will be on Great and Holy Friday. I said to him that confession isn't something I'd be looking forward to. He joked it might be easier just to give Fr. Gary  a list of the sins he didn't commit!

I am looking forward to next Saturday. It will be Vespers with Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great at 10am. That is when the catechumens become part of the faithful and then, later on that evening it's PASCHAL Matins and Divine Liturgy.  I better get a long nap in that afternoon so I can be fully awake for the celebration of Jesus' Resurrection!

As I drove away, I met Jim at a red light. He rolled down his window and said, "How's it going you Nazodox. (For those keeping score that would be half Nazarene -my protestant parish- and half Orthodox). He also asked if I was any closer. I said, soon. The light turned green and we parted. And I repeated to myself, "soon."


  1. Soon! Such a wonderful and joyous word! How exciting! I continue to pray for you during the prayers for the Catechumens.
    As to your question about the pussy willows - in Northern Climates there aren't palm branches, so pussy willows were used. This is pan-Northern Climes, so you will see them in England and other non-Slavic north countries.
    A couple of notes to what you brought up. When you do your first Confession in Orthodoxy, the stole isn't laid on your head after your Confession, as it usually is. The putting of the stole on your head is part of the Chrismation ceremony.
    And, yes, you are most welcome to take photos. It is not uncommon to have a combination of Baptism and Chrismation - when I came into the church my infant was Baptized and another man and I were Chrismated (as was he) together.

  2. Mimi,
    thanks for the continued prayers! So I guess I'll take some pics and put it on my blog!That is, if Ben doesn't mind; He is kind of a private person...

  3. I agree, it would definitely be good to get Ben's authorization!

  4. If anything, I can at least print up the pics and give to him!