Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Taking the plunge

Sunday was our first opportunity to go to church with the bishop present. It wasn't a full hierarchical liturgy, but there was something truly wonderful about the whole experience. We've been attending another small parish about 45 minutes away (everything from here is about 45 minutes away) on occasional Sundays to be a) not the youngest people b) not the only family with small children and c) not the only converts. Though I'm not sure how well we do on the last front, we're definitely in good with the other two! Lots of little kids very close to AJ and Christine's ages and lots of younger couples, older couples, a monastic.  It's a good parish.

Sunday the bishop was going to be at church. I've been to one other hierarchical liturgy before, but never as someone who could be called a regular attender, catechumen, or any other official category in Orthodoxy. Observer, maybe; but nothing deeper or more profound than an outsider looking in at all of the proceedings. When we arrived he was already vested and performing the necessary prayers and services for the proskomedia. If I hadn't known what he looked like, I would have assumed there was a visiting priest. Though there were a few extra tidbits to the service, the whole experience was like having a loving friend, father, or close relative serving alongside the normal priest and presiding over the service. Something truly Christlike and incarnational even with long purple robes and a crown. There was no pretense, no extra fanfare. For a very nervous newbie, this was the type of service to see.

When he went around to our table he simply shook hands with us, blessed our girls, and simply congratulated us on being catechumens. What I want to focus on is the way he loved on our little girls. Placing his wooden panagia on the heads of our daughters, blessing them and praying over them with such tenderness that I still choke up. A true shepherd and father of the flock of Christ. I felt truly blessed to be able to spend just a few minutes of time with him. I felt this must be what it was like when parents brought their children to Our Lord so that He could bless them. The joy and (dare I say) relief that they felt when He picked them up and poured His love onto them.

Thank you, your grace, for the love you showed our girls. Thank you for the love your showed our family. Pray for us as we pray for you.

No comments:

Post a Comment