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Posts Tagged ‘joy’

CatechumensFather Patrick, Feel free to correct me where needed.

On Pentecost Sunday our friends, Mark and Barb got blessed and prayed over to become catecumens at St. Peter the Apostle, Antiochian Orthodox Church. Mark’s two sons and his daughter-in-law came to witness and experience this day with all of us.  There was no official announcement of what was about to happen. We had been going through the Matins service of bible readings, hymns and prayer… I am still unfamiliar with the services, so I did not know that Matins was over, or if it was(?)… then Father Patrick, with Jackson carrying a candle (the long one that the alter boys carry) headed straight down the center of the room. At first I did not know what was going on. (It seems like the Orthodox Church is kind of like a box of Cracker Jacks… there is a surprise in every service. Well, for me there is, because Orthodoxy is so new to me.) Then I saw Father Patrick smile at Mark and Barb, who were behind me, and motion for them to go to the doors.  They stood in front of the doors, facing in toward the altar. Their faces were full of joy. Big smiles and excited eyes flashing up at Father Patrick in eager anticipation. He marked them with the sign of the cross, prayed over them and then before I knew it… it was done. I wonder what they were thinking…  Maybe they will blog about it.  I am happy for them. They looked peaceful afterward. 

When Father Patrick was talking about Pentecost in his homily,  he compared it to the headwaters of the Sacramento River. He used to live by the headwaters. There is a bubbling spring where water comes up out of the ground at this park in Mt. Shasta. (view pictures of Sacramento River and headwaters, here on wikipedia) It is not a lot of water but it makes a lot of noise. As the water moves on down toward the sea, it gaines more water from streams and rivers and lakes. As the water gets deeper and wider, it gets quieter.  [edited to say…I don’t think this analogy came up in his Sunday homily, I think Fr. Patrick talked about this on Saturday night at Vespers… sorry for the confusion]

Pentecost began when the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles. It began rather noisily, with much talking and signs. Talking in many different languages. Talking that drew people to come near the house where they heard it emanating from. Talking that was at first considered drunken babble… but then was recognized as many languages pouring out in worship to God. Babble that drew men toward God and toward unity, as opposed to the “babble” that was a sign of separation from God and disunity between people, which is what happened at the Tower of Babel. From that day of Pentecost the stream of the Holy Spirit working through God’s people began to grow deeper and wider, and if the analogy of the Sacramento River holds true, it should be quieter and stronger too. 

I pray that as Mark and Barb pursue their walk with God in the Orthodox church that they will notice that deepening, strengthening and quieting of their faith and of the Holy Spirit working in them.   

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