My dearest friend Brigid recently said, "maybe she's weird," as Christians sometimes feel, like ducks out of the water, because we sort of go against the grain. If you've done any sanding of any type, you'll understand that going against the grain can ruin a perfectly good floor or piece of furniture. Yet, we are "called" to go against what the world would say at times, to serve Christ. This takes courage and conviction, which does not come from us. All we have to do is let go and let God.
Today, I'm not well....at lest physically. But, joyfully, I am praying for others around me who have also got this horrible virus that is going around. I am in a state of happiness, overflowing from the healing that I have received and rejoice in hearing about the healings and stories pouring in from last weeks presence of the Myrrh-Streaming Icon of St. Anna. So many came, were touched --and in some way, everyone received a blessing. Father revealed interesting stories during his wonderful homily.
We have a wonderful priest serving St. Michael Church. He is a great leader. I am so grateful for all the hard work he does. It is not about the size of your church, or how glorious it is, lest anyone boast or deceive you, it is about the sheep of the Great Shepherd. (Ps:23)"He leads me in the path of righousness for His namesake." He is always with me, even when I'm not at my best. It's not about numbers, it's about you. You alone...
When father greeted me at the door yesterday, I don't think he knew how badly I felt. Jokingly, he said, "are you going to make it?" (Maybe he heard me coughing in the parking lot.) I said, "I don't know." I was there, hoping that my wheezing and coughing would not interfere with the singing of the Liturgy, and would not present itself loudly over the mic. Father and I would do our best to get through it, as he also was in distress.
I went with confidence, having taken my asthma meds and prednisone, allergy and aspirin, and other pharmacy delights all for the sake of being able to breath, never mind sing. The virus had travelled to my eye, and ears which left me feeling far away and not able to hear well. All I had to do was hear him, and then sing the responses, praying, Lord have mercy...
Throughout the service, I could not really hear the people singing as usual, and I wasn't aware of how many had come to church, focusing on the task at hand. I recalled something that Fr. Steven had told me many years ago, and that was that "the angels fix it on the way up" and I always laughed, thinking it was a joke. I hoped the angels would help me, I knew somehow.
During the Liturgy, after I sing "We Praise Thee" in English, several people sing it in their native language, tuning in, in different octaves, not usually together, but sort of a mishmash of sounds. Father used to say that this was the highlight, out of all the songs he'd heard sung, in which I had no concept of where that came from, until yesterday. I wasn't prepared to hear what I heard. It was the most beautiful harmonious sound coming forward in perfect unity and with richness and fullness, that I literally, turned my head to see how many people were singing. Then I understood, that just like we all do not see the same things, we do not all hear the same things either. I recalled the words of Jesus in (Matthew 21:16) "Yes. Have you never read, 'Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise'?" The beauty was about the sound that came from the humbled, suffering people, and their genuine love of their God and His holy church, as they praised Him. We in our spiritual infancy, just do not get it! I was so thankful for this glimpse of this heavenly comprehension and understanding. I had been given a blessing and great gift upon hearing it. Perfection never comes from us....It is only through Him, through His presence in us.
Today, I am reminded in (2Corinthians 12:9-10) "And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (10)Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
I couldn't have said it better. Praise be to God in all things, known and unknown. God honors weakness and humility. As a woman in this world, where it no longer acceptable by many, to wear a head covering in church, or to allow your husband to honor you as the weaker vessel, while you join together, being heirs together in the grace of life, are deprived of the greater opportunity. For in unity, your prayers are not hindered. So, let me who am foolish to the wise of the world, be so. For it is written in (1Cor3:18) "Let no one deceive himself, if anyone among you seem to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise."
Let me be then, a weird and foolish Christian, for (1Cor3:20)"the Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile."
All scriptural referrences aretaken from the Orthodox Study bible.
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