Friday, November 07, 2008

Going to the Chapel

For years I've been longing to be in a place where I could pop over to Church and pray Matins or Vespers daily. Not by myself, but with others in the Church. God has blessed me and answered that prayer, and it is so comforting and wonderful.

Even though I feel like a stranger in this city, when I walk into St. George's Chapel, and it's still dark outside and it is literally lit only by candle light and oil lamps, I am no longer a stranger. There is a deep human need to know and be known, and there at least I get to see the icons of my Christ, and the Theotokos, St. John the Wonderworker, St. Raphael of Brooklyn, and many others. Familiar faces, even though the ones in the flesh around me are still mostly strangers.

And familiar melodies, although to a different rhythm mixed with familiar lines and unfamiliar tunes, blend with enough insence to scent my yawns afterwards. Lungs full.

And it is in such a place that I am known and that I can know. Even after just a week the faces around me are becoming familiar and are becoming attached to names and stories and personalities. Knowing others, and becoming known is a process. Having a cup of coffee with others afterwards helps, too.

But there's this other aspect of daily prayers that I really like: The way it ties my day together, beginning and end. Not too long to be impractical: just thirty minutes at 7 am and thirty minutes at 6 pm, a nice frame to the day. And it's an extra support for my feeble heart, who surely needs it, for the private prayer life I struggle to cultivate.

It's a good thing.

6 comments:

Amanda said...

It sounds like you have found a wonderful place to get connected with people in your community.

elizabeth said...

i am so glad to hear. hope the unpacking and setting up house is going well!

SacredandtheProfane.com said...

That's wonderful! We currently drive around 25 minutes to our parish so rarely make it to Vespers or morning prayers with the toddler. There are closer parishes that we're considering (we moved closer to them about a year ago) but I don't know. I'm so glad you're blending in to your new community.

Jennifer F. said...

What a blessing -- I am so jealous. That sounds just wonderful.

maria said...

I really tried to prioritoze attending marning and evening prayer, and midday communion, while here in Durham. And I thought of you often, and really wished you could have joined me. I think you would have really enjoyed it, in a deep way.

Mimi said...

What a blessing!