Sunday, September 1, 2013

Prayers for Egypt on my 114th Visit

Nothing says Egypt like pyramids!
photo by Flickr user, Bob the Magic Dragon
 used under the creative commons license.
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I arrived early which I am finding is a good way to ready myself to participate in Worship. I sat/stood near the Icon of St. John of San Francisco, whose intercessions I have been asking for lately. In the petitions, Fr. Gary threw in one that I hadn't heard before, he prayed:

Again we pray for those who are being persecuted for their faith, especially the Christian faithful of Egypt and across the Middle East, that the Lord God will send down upon them every spiritual weapon to endure their tribulations; and that He will grant that Peace which passes all understanding upon the region, and throughout the whole world, as a foretaste of His heavenly Kingdom.

I was glad we prayed for our Egyptian brothers and sisters, given all that is going on there now and I remembered my daughter's friend from Egypt who recently put out a plea on facebook for all us to pray.  In his homily, Fr. Gary mentioned how the Holy Synod of Bishops of the OCA called upon us to pray and he reminded us that we not only pray for Christians and people of good will but also for our enemies. "There is only one thing we need to kill ~ our passions," is the line from Fr. Gary's homily that really sticks out in my mind. Given all the talk of war, persecution (along with the temptation for revenge) that statement was a timely affirmation of what it is we need to do in lives to become more like Christ. May all see the Peace of Christ within us.

There was a "guest choir" at Vespers last night. Instead of standing in the back of the Nave, they were in the choir loft above, as is the custom for Sunday mornings. They were very good but I had to fight the idea that I was in a concert instead of lending my own voice in praise. I felt like I was "ruining" the singing by joining in.
I have heard tale that in many nations there is no congregational singing at all. Is that true? If so, I think that is a tragedy. That reminds me of my Roman Catholic days as a boy where the words of the hymn would be in the missalette and yet not one voice could be heard except that of the choir.  I think that is why I was drawn to a Pentecostal church as a teen. Say what you want about the Pentecostals but you cannot deny they are enthusiastic participants in the service. So, let me know in the comments below, do people join in with the choir at your parish?

Speaking of beautiful choirs, Fr. Stephen Freeman shared this video on his Facebook page. Good stuff:

Thanks for reading!


  1. In my old church - with a very musical priest - the choir sang. The congregation were welcome to join in if they knew the music.

    My current church - with a priest who couldn't carry a tune in a box - has been congregational singing. We are moving towards choir driven now that we have two competent directors in training. Some members are complaining. (They could, of course, come to rehearsals and sing in the choir if they chose.)

    Rare is the congregation that can sing all the proper music with competence and beauty. It is offered first to God as an act of worship. Having congregants feel good about participating is just icing on the cake.

    Keep walking the walk, Jim. It may be some time before you see the fruits of the example you're setting for your family.

    YiC, Bill

  2. Thanks, Bill!

    I never thought of congregational singing as being "Icing on the cake" so you've given me something to think about. I guess my protestant ideology keeps raising to the surface.