I attended Divine Liturgy this morning, finally. I was comforted that Vespers has prepared me for some of the ritual, the language, the feel and the rhythm. I was thankful to find the parallels I’d been expecting from my Catholic roots. The reading of the Word, the prayers of the Faithful, the blessing of the Mysteries, the “Take and eat…”
It was nice to feel some connection already there, not everything was foreign. I still feel awkward, the teenager between childhood and adulthood, arms and legs making movements that are familiar but angular and clumsy. I kept hoping no one would notice, I kept reminding myself of why I came and what I hoped for…it was good even as it was a struggle. Sometimes I got it, sometimes I was lost in the translation, sometimes I was bored. It happens.
My 13 yr old daughter and I got into a discussion about “church” when I got home. She observed that for her, church has been about navigating her friendships. She says that when she is at church she doesn’t find that she considers God much at all. I just listened. This is something I’ve been feeling for a long time as well, this strange loneliness that comes of knowing community in the body of Christ. It doesn’t change much for some of us as we get older I guess. I still have trouble navigating this tension. I think in some ways for the last 10 or so years church has been much more about community than about meeting God there.
I watched her as she talked, her long and lanky limbs, her wild gesturing to make her point. She’s finding her way in these things at about the same rate I’m finding mine. I told her that at some point I was going to take her to Liturgy with me, that she didn’t have to become Orthodox unless she wanted to but that I wanted her to come with me sometime, to see if maybe she could meet God in the mystery of it all. I told her that is what I wanted most of all for her, was to have that memory of “church” as this safe place to find Him. It’s what I want most for me, maybe for us all in fact.
Perhaps this is what I’ll find in this catechumenate process, this time of preparation, finding a groove in which God will be miraculously present, waiting there patiently, even when I knock over vases and planters with my bony elbows as I reach out to embrace Him.