I'm so excited to guest post for my friend Phoebe at beingincommunity.com! She's one of my dearest writing friends and I adored her new book, Putting Joy Into Practice, from Paraclete Press. This post is inspired by that book.
A woman named Janalyn had offered to sit with me. I didn’t know her, but we had a few exchanges in a Facebook community that discusses Christianity and I knew she attended a nearby Antiochian Orthodox Church. When I wrote her about attending a Forgiveness Vespers for the first time, she was eager to help me feel comfortable. Only later did she remember she was chanting during the service, so she’d be up front. She arranged for me to sit with another woman. The chanting went on for most of the service. Didn’t their voices get tired? How did they maintain the rhythm? I didn’t recognize the songs but I knew well the sense of sitting in the Spirit’s presence, the joy that settled over me as our collective voices offered praises to our God.
I talked my mother into visiting the Russian Orthodox church while on vacation. We emailed the Priest ahead of time and he’d assured me we were welcome. As the first song began, people were still moving about the nave, venerating the various icons. I thought I would recognize the chanting style but this one sounded different to my untrained ear. More like singing and harmonies that blew me away. I kept thinking of those men and women who have committed their daily lives to monasteries and convents. They have this glorious sound wash over them repeatedly every week. And, um, when would we sit down?
To keep reading about my experiences worshiping with other Christians in various church settings, visit Phoebe's site. Click here.