Today was the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee. And I have to admit that this was the first Sunday that I have been to Orthros. Even if it was mostly in Greek, and read so fast that the words were hard to distinguish..
There was a point where Father John was singing. It was in Greek so I don't know what he was singing, but I do know that the words, the tone..for one moment it was as if I were hearing the voices of every true believer rising up like the cloud of incense, pure and strong and sweet and sad, and full of ineffable longing. And my heart just *ached* in my chest. Ached with such a sweet pain. I haven't had any music on since I returned from liturgy. I don't want anything to compete with that memory.
In Liturgy, when Father sang "Take, eat.." Once more I felt as if I were hearing Jesus speak, hearing Him say the words, and more the sense behind them, that He wanted to feed us, nurture us so much, so intensely and so purely that He was willing to give us parts of His body and His blood. And it reminded me that Jesus's divinity, His God-self came from God, it *IS* God, but His humanity came from Mary, from the Theotokos. And I wondered what she taught her son, what great and self-sacrificing, self-effacing love had she shown Him, that when the time came He could like a pelican in it's piety feed the world from His own flesh and blood.
But there were more things. Seeing Father speak about the Publican and the Pharisee makes me even more aware of the weight of unconfessed sins on my soul. The list of wrongs I have done stretches away back out of sight and I want more than anything to start over. Start fresh and clean. I want to belong, to *be* a Christian. But I don't think that I can be, and honestly be one if I omit steps in haste. It takes as long as it takes. Whether that be a day or a month or a year or ten years. As long as it takes. I pray to God that He will let me live, to be baptized and chrisimated.
I had a long wait for Mike, especially since I can't use the bathroom in that church, and I cannot go downstairs into the Fellowship Hall. There is an elevator that allows me to get into the sanctuary, which is upstairs but that's pretty much it, as far as concessions to disability. I don't care. It's worth it. It's worth it to go to Liturgy there. It's worth it, worth it a thousand times, to see Father speak about reaching out to people in need, and there are *tears* in his eyes. I respect him so much for his passion and his willingness to share that passion. He has a compassionate heart, and I want to be able to be so compassionate.
Because real compassion isn't niceness. It's not about saying the right thing to turn away someone's anger. It's Father exhorting and admonishing people about staying in Liturgy because he cares that much for their souls. Compassion is reaching out to people who really need it, and *loving* them as they are. Not as you think that they ought to be, and not as you want them to be. Not even as THEY want themselves to be. Just as they are. As Jesus loved them.
I cannot explain it, this feeling. Like a weight that presses down, like a subterrainean fire. These are just words, they just dance around the subject. They are, I guess, an intellectual masturbation, designed to make me feel better about myself or to look better to others. All I know is that there is *food* in the Liturgy, and there is awe, in watching someone care that much.
God exists in ordinary things.
I love you all.