TV Dinners – Such Joy Such Pain

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. Amen.

Tonight we go to Presanctified Divine Liturgy this evening.  This is like a traditional Sunday service except that there is no consecration of the Eucharist but instead already has been sanctified. The Orthodox Church unlike many Western Churches practices a closed communion. Therefore, outsiders are unable to partake of the sacrament which admittedly is a little disheartening but understandable. Those that are not part of the Orthodox faith but attend services are allowed Holy Bread after the service but no wine. In a lot of ways the concept of a close communion is similar to what the Roman Catholics practice in word but not always in action.

The protestant western church has always been an open communion set as long was baptized in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Once one received baptism they were allowed to come up the Holy Table and receive communion.  In the Orthodox Church this is not the case, therefore, like the Old Church many Christians converting must wait until they are received before they can expect to partake in the sacrament again. To be honest the only reason I know any of this is because I went and asked at Vespers on Saturday. Therefore, I recommend anyone looking at visiting or exploring the Orthodox faith needs to visit during a Vespers service so you can speak to a sub-Deacon or Deacon.

I have to admit starting this exploration has made me like a child again in the Church. It is different but familiar. Not to mention its great exercise. While the church I am visiting has pews I find myself standing through services which can run anywhere from an hour to two hours long. For those individuals who enjoy challenges the church provides you with a great deal of them. Between fasting recommendations and participation in services, it can be a humbling experience to be so fragile and new to a different way of expressing the same faith and traditions.

As a stepmom who has lost her stepchildren this Lent has been really tough. I find myself often saying the Jesus prayer over and over when I start feeling lost and alone without the kids. I was looking at organic vegetarian pizzas last night and came across some TV dinners I used to eat as a child. I laughed thinking about it but then started crying because I realized that those were the same TV dinners that my stepdaughter used to eat. It never ceases to amaze me how such joy can bring such pain. I just keep reminding myself that the pain I feel is to keep me away from experiencing the plans that Christ has set up for me in the future. My surgery plans where made so I could be here longer so I can reach that 3871 day mile marker. My husband is going to need me if the children ever come and find us and especially if they turn away and ignore us for the rest of our lives. Either way coming from him I must be there for him and support him in the plans that God has for him.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. Amen.

O God of our Fathers, ever dealing with us according to Thy gentleness: take not Thy mercy from us, but by their entreaties guide our life in peace.