Will you be there?
The question came from a friend as I was leaving the Good Friday service and then, from someone else today, this Holy Saturday, through Facebook.
Yes. I will be there.
I cannot tell you how good it is to be asked this question. For me, spending a lot of time on the edges of social gatherings, church meetings, any kind of event that requires me to “be” there in person, it’s amazing how good it feels to be wanted, to be included, to be welcomed.
When I was chrismated finally after a few years of plodding along the first thing someone said to me was “welcome home!” and in that moment, I probably broke down a little. It is home. I do feel welcome. That welcome came from the people who reached out hands to me when I was new and feeling overwhelmed. It kept me coming back.
The beauty of the Orthodox church, the liturgy, the calendar, the rhythm of “Lord, have mercy” ringing through streams of incense is undeniable. I’d wager, though, that the true beauty, the fullness of the faith is demonstrated best within a community. It is not enough to practice the prayers, the fasting, the doctrines, we need each other. Will you be there?
The Holy Week finds us gathering at the Last Supper, witnessing the washing of the apostles’ feet, standing at the foot of the cross of the crucified Christ and then at the tomb as his body is laid within. We stand together in these moments, and we stand then too, awestruck when the stone is rolled away, confused in the cold of night and then joyous when we say to another person, “Christ is Risen!” and joyous when we hear the response, “Indeed, He is risen!”
Will you be there? I hope so. Be there, and enter in.