I attended Vespers at the Greek Orthodox church last night for the first time. I felt as I expected…awkward, confused, grateful, tired, did I mention awkward?
I wanted it to be darker in there. It was so light. I wanted to hide, very badly. It was interesting because just as I began to realize no one was watching me, judging my feeble attempts to understand hand motions and timing and listening, just as I was starting to find some rhythm the priest did something I did not see coming. He spoke a few words at the end to the young people in the congregation because they’d done some “service” to the poor in the community that day. In his short words he took a moment to point me out and name me. We had discussed the “nous” in the 101 class and so he mentioned that…while pointing me out and naming me.
I was unnerved. I had found a hiding place in that no one was noticing me and then he named me.
I still don’t know what to make of it. I rushed out when the service ended but I did take time to email Fr G when I got home to make an appointment to come and talk to him.
I need a step by step tutorial through the services. I want to do this well, not as competition or vanity, I just want to belong. My struggle is already so complicated (all of our struggles are complicated, I know this) I just want to do it well.
I realized this morning as I sat in my Presbyterian church on this “Reformation Sunday” though that I really ought to have stayed. His gesture was one of belonging. It wigged me out and yet I know it today as a gesture of belonging. I wish I had stayed.
I also realized after all my reading about Orthodoxy that as I sat in church this morning on “Reformation Sunday” staring at a drawing of John Calvin on the front of the bulletin that I am not a Protestant. I’ve never been a part of the protest. I’ve never wanted to be. It’s freeing to know that today.