Monday, September 28, 2015

Visit #184 ~ Love Those Anitphons!

We Sing the Scriptures in Liturgy!
photo by Ben Sutherland,
 used under the creative commons license
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I hadn't been to a Sunday Divine Liturgy since August. As I've said before, I have been having trouble getting someone to cover my Sunday morning shift. Pray for me that, when my schedule changes in November, that I'll be able to get Sundays off! Is there a patron Saint for Schedule Changes? If so, tell me so I can get them to work! :)

I really loved the Antiphons and I couldn't help but compare them to the choruses we sing in my protestant parish.  While the worship leader in my protestant church is very thorough and thoughtful in the songs he picks out, nothing compares to actually singing Scripture! It was truly a blessing to sing Psalms...or even the Beatitudes! Below is a video of another parish singing one of the Antiphons! It don't get any better than this!

Once a month, Fr. Gary has a children's homily. That is when the kids of the parish pull up a rug and sit down near the front and Fr. Gary speaks to them directly, although us adults in the congregation can listen in and learn as well. He spoke about Pope Francis, probably because he is all over the news anyway and he spoke about how our own Bishops take time to talk to their people and to pray for their people, just like Pope Francis did.

I had to leave a bit early from the Liturgy because I was going to meet my wife at an early Oktoberfest, sponsored by the Elks Club so they called it Elktoberfest! Clever, huh? I left right after the Faithful received the Holy Mysteries.  So many people there know that I am not Orthodox so many go out of their way to make sure I receive the fellowship bread.  (I forget what that is called.) I make it a point never to turn down anyone who offers it to me, even if I think I've had enough. I figure it would be rude to refuse. If someone is going to go out of their way to give me some bread, I won't say no! I'm am always so grateful that they are thinking of me!

Below is a video of some of the music my wife and I saw at the Elktoberfest! Sadly, I had missed taping the polka version of Funky Town, but I assure you, it was a hoot to listen to!  It was a fun time with great food! Gotta love those Germans.

So, remember to pray for me that next schedule change I am able to get Sundays off! And if you can think of any Patron Saints that might be helpful along those lines...... :)

Monday, September 14, 2015

Visit #183 ~ Panikhida for James Patrick Martin....and then Vespers!

It's been a year since my friend Jim Martin reposed so I wanted to make sure I made the Panikhida being served for him last Saturday before Vespers.  Tiffany was there, along with others of the Faithful and it was a very emotional time, especially when, towards the end of the service, Fr Gary the very mournful tones of May his memory be eternal! It was good to remember my friend and I continue to remember him (and his family) in prayer.

It was good to stay for Vespers. My work schedule has made attending service a challenge at times and completely impossible at other times.  I was happy because, today for the first time, I went up to light some candles and say some prayers without feeling self-conscience.  The other times I did that it was hard to concentrate on praying because I felt so self-conscience. But, this last times, I lit three candles - one for Jim Martin and family, one for my family and one for myself - and I was actually able to pray without feeling "a thousand eyes staring at me." It was good.
fr Gary and Jim's Godfather, reader John

I felt like I didn't want Vespers to end.  The prayers, the psalms, the smell of incense, the beauty of the icons all pointed me towards the Kingdom of Heaven.  It was a good place to be! Hope to be back soon!