Tuesday, April 25, 2006

riding the liturgical wave

I once heard someone use that terminology about Orthodox Holy Week. That was before I ever thought about Orthodoxy, but I think I now understand to some extent what he meant. I've visited a lot more services than normal in the past few weeks. It helped that my wife and son were out of town for a week during Lent, so I was able to attend something almost every day. I think I visited four different parishes--one Antiochian, two Russian, and one Greek--and had some great opportunities to stay late and talk to people. Normally, I find myself rushing off as soon as the service ends, so I can see my family.

I also explained to my wife in advance that I would be trying to attend several services that I hadn't experienced before. If there was something that repeated during Lent, like Presanctified Liturgy or Canon of St. Andrew, I tried to catch at least one. I also attended an Annunciation service and Lazarus Saturday. During Holy Week, I attended one Bridegroom Matins, Royal Hours and Holy Friday Vespers (took the day off of work), and the Pascha midnight service. I didn't want to skip church with my family Sunday morning, so I got only a couple of hours of sleep that night. Surprisingly, though, I felt more awake than normal.

I think my favorite song from Pascha was the Megalynarion:
The angel cried to the Lady full of grace: Rejoice, rejoice, O pure Virgin!
Again I say, rejoice! Your Son is risen from His three days in the tomb.
With Himself He has raised all the dead. Rejoice, rejoice, O ye people!
Shine! Shine! Shine, O new Jerusalem! The glory of the Lord has shone on you!
Exult now, exult and be glad, O Zion!
Be radiant, O pure Theotokos, in the resurrection, the resurrection of your Son.
Not that it's easy to pick one over all the others. Anyway, it's been a great season for me. I wish my wife could have participated, but at least it was encouraging to bring my son along to a few services. He now associates icons with church, recognizes Jesus when he sees him (and expects to see him when we pray before bed), and knows the difference between the quiet church and the one with the train. I only wish I could get him to some of the bigger services. It seems like it was mostly for lower-key stuff like Hours and Matins that he came with me. Unfortunately, we had to leave just when he was getting really interested.

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