Monday, October 23, 2006

Orthodox marathon week

This is going to be another Orthodox-intensive week. I haven't had one of those since sometime during Lent, when my wife took Ian out of town to visit her parents. This time, they're visiting her brother and his family, leaving tomorrow morning and returning next Tuesday. I'll be able to attend vespers tomorrow night and hopefully Thursday, great vespers Saturday, matins and DL Sunday. I also have to take the car in to get it looked at, so Wednesday is out. Guess maybe I'll get some time to work on my dissertation as well. If all that's not enough, this past weekend had two significant events. Fr. Gregory came to our condo (for the first time) to meet with my wife after Ian went to bed Friday. Saturday evening, we went to a Russian festival at a nearby Moscow Patriarchal parish. Ian didn't seem to think too much of it at first--wanted to hang out in the little courtyard away from all the action for quite a while. But he really got into the music when we sat down for the concert. My wife also admitted that she had a good time. (Not that there was much religious about it, aside from being on the grounds of a church and having religious items for sale.)

The meeting on Friday seemed to go pretty well. Fr. Gregory was very gentle and skillfully avoided any opportunity to argue about Evangelicalism vs. Orthodoxy. He said the main reason he wanted to meet was that I wanted in, and he didn't see much reason to keep me out. He wanted to know first, though, whether and to what extent my wife would support me. She, for her part, said she didn't agree with what I was doing, but that she would not stand in the way. I'm going to try to meet with Fr. Gregory one-on-one this week, so hopefully I'll get a better sense of how he thinks things went.

One thing that came out of the meeting. My wife wanted a friend and mentor present, so she'd have someone to talk to about it afterward. When Fr. Gregory asked if we were praying together, we got rebukes from both sides of the aisle, so to speak. It's something we've never been able to establish as a habit, but we're trying again. Last night was our first time in I don't know how long.

Yesterday, in our Evangelical service, one of the action points from the sermon was to take a day sometime in the next two weeks if possible to do whatever we like, and to thank God for it. We were talking about it later, and honestly I'd want to spend such a day in as much Orthodox worship as possible. Since getting to a monastery would mean driving a long distance (which would mean it's no longer a day doing what I want to do), the next best option is to do exactly what I'm planning to do this Sunday (speaking here of the liturgical day, starting with vespers)--spend it in church as much as I can. Beyond that, if the weather's nice, I'll probably try to take a long walk. I'll try to keep things updated as the week unfolds.

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