Sunday, May 11, 2008

We Made It!

Whew! We made it all the way to Seattle with all our luggage, not too much weariness, and of course, lots of hugs to be had at T's parents' house. We were even surprised by the "welcome" the kiddies had concocted involving a specific place to stand, lots of cheering, and, naturally, home-made confetti. What fun :) It's been a great visit so far. On Saturday, when we got here, we had a small, late dinner, and then went to bed. We had to be up fairly early on Sunday to attend Divine Liturgy. It was so good to attend St. John's again. We've missed the beautiful richness of the Byzantine rite very much while in Boston. The songs, the incense, the vestments... it's just beautiful. I can't quite explain the feeling I get when I walk into the church, as the altar boys (there are only boys, no girls allowed) prepare for liturgy in the sanctuary, as people exchange greetings, and as the family files into the pew after venerating the icon on the tetrapod. Mum always pauses for a moment in front of the icon of Our Lady (the Most Glorious Theotokos). As soon as the youngest learns to kiss, she has to kiss the icon and the blessing cross too :) It's very endearing. PLUS, this week is Pentecost--the ONLY time the WHOLE year that the church is decorated in GREEN cloths and candles. I don't know if it was because I was raised Roman (and saw green so often during the year) or if it's just 'cuz green is an awesome color, but I love it when things are green :) Since green is used for only this week the whole year, it seems to make it extra special. Green is the color of life, the color of the Holy Spirit! We got to see Anselm serve for the first time (that is, it was the first time WE saw him, not his first time serving), and Fr. Joseph was in excellent form for the homily. The recently ordained Deacon Michael is a joy to have too! His presence, as deacon, enhances the liturgy tremendously--he's a more concrete liasion between the congregation and the sanctuary. And he's got awesome vestments... and a nifty hat. (Apologies for not using the right terms for things-Byzantine. Not having been raised Byzantine, I'm not familiar with them. However, to be completely fair, neither is T (not with ALL of the right terms), though he's been Byzantine much longer than I have.) This Sunday was also the Solemn Communion for the children who made their first confession on Saturday. If you didn't know better, you'd think it was their FIRST communion, similar to the Roman rite, because they're all dressed up in gleaming white attire. But, in the Byzantine rite, a child is chrismated and receives the Eucharist at his baptism. Thus, he's received all the sacraments of initiation from the earliest possible moment. Then, when he reaches the age of reason he receives the sacrament of reconciliation and, clothed once again in the white of his baptism, he confesses the creed before the whole congregation. It's a lovely tradition, and it's darling to see all the children so fancy! And since it was mother's day as well, all the mothers received a beautiful holy card and pin of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. After liturgy there was a yummy reception downstairs and I got to sit with my friend K who is GETTING MARRIED ON SATURDAY! It was good to catch up with her and chat about the impending bliss :) Also, I finally got a chot-ki! It's a pretty bright royal blue with a big tassel :) So Sunday was wonderful and we're super-excited to go stay with the fam for three days on the San Juan Islands. Yay for vacations!

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