My (Peter's) parents took our daughter for the weekend. It's a Father's Day present either to my dad or to me. I'm not sure which. Maybe both. We're going to take the offering either way and enjoy some much needed husband and wife time before little girl #2 comes along sometime around Dormition. As a consequence, we have been enjoying a wonderful weekend of church services, outings, dinners, and a soon-to-be experienced Toy Story 3 outing.
This was our first opportunity to take in the Vespers service at church this weekend. Usually, do to our little monkey's sleep schedule, we aren't able to make it. It's also a long drive. We made it a point to go this weekend, because we wanted to go to the Akathist service to the Mother of God Healer of Cancer that our parish celebrates whenever it can fit into the calendar. This was our first time we've been able to attend.
If you recall from the second part of my story from earlier in the year (found here) my first Orthodox service was an Akathist service to the Mother of God. This was the first official Akathist I have attended since our decision to explore Orthodoxy began, and it was a very interesting experience. I'm afraid I don't have a whole lot to say about it now. I'd like to make a posting later about my experiences getting to know the Theotokos and devotion to her. To say the least, it was a very moving service and we were personally very blessed to have been part of that experience with our parish.
This Sunday I was able to be part of the whole service! Usually, I am in and out with the little girl; but without her there, we were able to stay (and stand) through the whole of the Divine Liturgy. I find that week after week, I am learning and seeing things that I haven't experienced before. The most significant part of this week was the sense of belonging that I have started to feel. We've begun singing in the choir. I was asked to play chess with an old Russian gentleman. Felicity was having very personal conversations with various people and women in the church! I got this sense of family that I haven't had since graduating from seminary and moving away from all our friends.
My family and I may never get along over Orthodoxy. We may always have arguments about Saints, the Theotokos, Liturgy, Theology, et al. It's ok. We have family. There are people who have entered into our life (some temporal and others eternal) who are looking out for us and will make sure that we're never truly alone. Sorry if this posting is a little vague.