When I walked into the Church two Saturdays ago (October 20th would be #119), I went up the side steps to the Church, as I normally do but I won't be doing that anymore (more on that later.) I was happy to be in Church early and I said a prayer for my wife's two uncles, both of whom were in the hospital that very week. It was comforting to be in the presence of Saints, whose prayers I "felt" and it seemed easy to offer my own prayers, knowing those in Heaven are helping me through. I know people say they feel God everywhere, especially in nature (or on a golf course Sunday morning) but to be in a Church that has been set apart for Worship and consecrated by a Bishop is something that should not be downplayed. In Church, you can get close to God. Yes, God is everywhere but there are places on earth where God can be more easily sensed. I was glad to be in Church and pray for my family.
Father Deacon Alexander, newly assigned to our parish, led an Adult education class on Thursday. I was able to attend and there I was happy to see Jim Martin and Tiffany. Deacon Alexander was talking about the structure of the Church (the physical building) and said that always in an Orthodox Church, there are steps leading up to the front doors. In this way, the faithful can remember that they are ascending to the Kingdom. Now I always liked to come in through the side doors (which took me to the Narthex) and even though they too have stairs, I think that I am missing the teaching point for myself if I don't come in through the front doors. Every time I ascend the steps in order to attend a divine service, I am reminding myself how I am connecting with the Kingdom of God. So for now on, it's the front doors for me.
Last night, (#120), I put Father Deacon Alexander's lesson to heart and walked through the front doors. On the way up the stairs, I uttered a short pray. I came early so I didn't feel rushed as I venerated the icons. That's a good thing. I need to work on being less "self conscious" and more "God conscious." Fr. Gary was not there last night and Father Sergious filled in while Deacon Alexander sang in the choir. Fr Sergious has a deep voice which is very pleasant to listen to.
Today, (Sunday) is my last day of my online class. (Yay!) After I post this entry, I am going to take a final exam which is almost three hours long. I woke up early so I can finish in time to attend church with my wife and son at my protestant parish.
Thanks again for all your prayers and comments!