Sunday, November 1, 2015

Visit #187 ~ Readers Service - Simple and Beautiful!

The Service was Simply Beautiful, like this Fall Leaf!
photo by Walt Stoneburner, used under the creative commons license.
check out more of his photos here:
I went to Vespers last night, knowing that Fr Gary was out of town for vacation. That means it's Reader's Service Time! It was a small group. I came early, lit a candle and stood up in the front by the Icon of one of my favorite Saints, St. John the Wonder-worker, Bishop of San Francisco. My eyes were front, waiting for Fr. Deacon Alexander to open the doors from the Iconostasis and begin. Instead, we hear his voice from the back where the small choir was standing.  Okay, so he'll lead the service from the back. I was a bit disappointed because that meant no incense.

It turns out I had no reason to feel any disappointment because the service was simply beautiful! We progressed through the service book nicely and all our voices rose towards heaven, much like the incense we see at the services. Having a small choir meant that when the hymns were sung, Deacon Alexander and Reader Innocent (Jack Hayford) would alternate singing  the hymn solo. That made it much easier to understand the lyrics of the hymn.

I felt uplifted during the whole services and was very disappointed as I turned to the last page in the book and realized we were about to end. One thing that made me smile was, towards the end of the Service, while some hymns were being sung, Reader John carried out a small Icon of Sts. Cosmos and Damien (We did hymn them that evening) and he handed it to one of the ladies standing next to the table in the middle of the Nave which had a different Icon on it.  John removed the Icon on the table and the lady placed Cosmos and Damien on the table, replacing the Icon John just removed.  What made me smile about this was the lady's expression when John handed her the Icon of Cosmos and Damien. She had a Who, me? expression, surprised that she was being called upon for this service. I guess since we were a small group that evening, we all had to do our part!
Sts. Cosmos and Damien, pray for us!
At the concluding prayer, some of the faithful weren't sure if we were finished. I kinda of thought we were (I was following along in the book) but some were looking around at each other, waiting to be dismissed.  I guess people get used to Fr. Gary, standing up front and concluding the service with his-

 Through the prayers of our holy fathers, Lord Jesus Christ, our God, have mercy on us and save us.

But none came.  Instead, Reader John turns to Fr. Deacon Alexander and asks, "Do you have any words for us?" He said, Sure and went to the front to deliver an impromptu homily. It was very good. He began by saying Don't forget to turn your clocks back tonight and went on to say that when it gets darker earlier, and when leaves change color and the grass turns brown, you can't help but think of death and wonder will there ever be life again.  It was a very solemn yet joyful homily and I found it extremely uplifting as I did with the whole service. 

Afterwards, we all venerated the Icons and congregated in the back for some discussion. I had a talk with Deacon Alexander about the Supermarket industry (I used to work in it and he currently does) and Tami hands me a music stand and tells me to carry it upstairs to the balcony.  I, of course, obey. It was the first time I've ever been up there and you do get a different perspective of the Nave from there. Tami showed me where the bells were and explained the process of how the girls would ring it during Divine Liturgy. She then joked about how now that I was up in the balcony, I'd soon be in the choir and learning to ring those bells.  
The Church is like any other church.  Once you get a job, it's yours until you die! :)

I'm glad to know that! I could get used to ringing bells. 

No comments:

Post a Comment