this is my ringtone
I've always been afraid that someday I would forget to turn off the sound on my cellphone and it would ring right in the middle of Vespers. Happily, I came to the conclusion that I should just leave my cellphone in my car and, thus, helping me to "lay aside all earthly cares" I'd be able to concentrate on worship and not be as distracted as I could be. Besides, helping me to concentrate, not having my phone go off at Vespers would save me some embarrassment considering I have strange tastes in ringtones. You can listen to my ringtone above which is from a movie called Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. I know at 53 years old I should just have normal ringtones but, hey, I gotta be me! Besides, Scott Pilgrim was a fun movie to watch!
So with my phone safely in my car, I had nothing to worry about. I came into Church early and was happy to see Jim Martin whom I don't get to see all that much. I sat next to him and we did some catching up. It was good to talk to him. Tami came over to talk to the man sitting behind us and Jim points to me and says to Tami, "So, have you met my heretic friend?" I gotta love Jim; he always makes me laugh. Of course, technically, I am not a heretic because from what I understand to be a heretic, you have to have been a member of the Orthodox Church who now teaches incorrect doctrine. That is not true with me. I guess I'm just an outsider, looking in!
Just before Tami was about to go to the other side of the Nave (because the service was about to begin), all of a sudden the phone starts ringing behind us. I don't remember the ringtone but it was some modern song. Immediately , Jim starts dancing in his seat and Tami, of course, laughs at Jim's antics. Meanwhile, the poor guy behind us (whom I haven't met yet) is frantically trying to turn off his phone. Apparently, he was having trouble finding the right app to shut it down. Finally, he gets it turned off and he is embarrassed. Jim and I laugh with him, setting him at ease (I hope) and Tami remarks that at least he heard the phone because she remembers that once a phone went off during Divine Liturgy and some older lady, whose phone it was, didn't even know it was ringing. I guess she forgot to turn on her hearing aid.
|From the movie, Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World, where I get my ringtone|
I remarked to the man that it could have been much worse. At least, it happened before Vespers started.
Vespers started and Deacon Alexander began with a "Master, bless," and from there on in, it was all Psalms, hymns and prayers. I love that, even though, my mind wanders during service, there is always something to pull me back in. I kept thinking about the Saints on the wall and how they are with us, praying for us. I was also moved by the thought, expressed in the hymns, how the Fathers of the Ecumenical Councils were praying for us. It's not just that they helped establish correct doctrine but also that they are concerned for our salvation.
Father Gary's homily echoed this thought. He talked about all the troubles in the middle east. No matter what our political views may be, he said, we pray for the Israelis and we pray for the Palestinians. And what we are praying for is their salvation. That is just what Christians do. It was a very powerful homily - a lot of punch packed into five minutes!
I wanted to stay and talk after the service and introduce myself to the guy who sat behind Jim and I but I had to leave while it was still daylight. I have been having issues with my headlights. I guess I will be at the mechanics this weekend.
As a post script, above is the ringtone I use for when a member of my family calls. I sampled it from a sermon from my protestant pastor who, as you can hear, gets very expressive when he is making a point. In his sermon, he was talking about how we should feel very blessed when we think about the family that God has given to us. His style is quite the contrast to Fr. Gary who simply explains the Gospel with a bit less theatre. This is not to denigrate my protestant pastor. He has to be himself, as we all do and this is authentically him!