It was good to be at Vespers last night! It was also good that my son, Justin visited with me. Today was extra special for him because, before Vespers official started, he got to see the Icon of the Cross (which was adorned with flowers) brought out to the center of the Nave while we sang hymns. Also, later on, he got to see a Litya service for the first time. Justin admitted to me later that he was a bit distracted during service but I can totally relate to that. The important thing is to keep coming to the services, enduring the "hard times" when it is difficult to pay attention. I know it is spiritually uplifting when we attend Divine Services and that is why I keep coming back!
By the way, is there a special word for when, before the Vespers service begins, when they switch out the Icons that are in the middle of the Nave? Comment below and let me know, please!
|photo by Jim Forest,|
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Fr Gary talked about Joy being associated with the Cross. At first, it is not obvious that would be the case because the Cross meant death and pain for Jesus. But Joy is the result of the Cross because our relationship with God is restored. For this reason, we bow before it, worshiping God for the Cross.
Justin and I arrived early because Justin wanted to light a candle and say a prayer before the service began. It turns out that there was a service remembering the repose of a boy who died ten years ago at the age of 12. (Tami told me about it, just before Vespers.) It was so sad to hear how this family had to watch a young boy die because he contracted meningitis and died within a couple of days. How does a family get over that? With Alexandra passing away last week and the memorial service for this boy this week, it certainly does put things in perspective. May the boy's memory be eternal and may God grant comfort to his family. Also, may the memory of Alexandra be eternal!
I had always been reluctant to light a candle. I think I always thought I'd wait until (if ever), I became a catechumen but, I think, I shall light some candles in the near future and let them be as a prayer to God. I spoke with Deacon Alexander with whom I was supposed to meet but, because of our busy schedules, haven't done so yet. He said to contact him next week so we can set up a time. He also said he is going to grow back his beard! Now, that sounds like a very Orthodox thing to do, don't you think?