This weekend we went up to St. Louis to "Our Orthodox Family", as we refer to them down here. What a great time. Saturday night was Vespers at Ss. Cyril & Methody in Granite City. After Vespers the ladies (I'm assuming it was the ladies, cause the food was gooooood!) had a great lenten dinner prepared. Towards the end of dinner we young adults settled down at a table to visit with each other and Fr. Andrew of Ss. C & M. And the conversation was great. I was amazed to find out that Fr. Andrew had converted to Orthodoxy (or at least been convinced of it) in East Lansing, MI. That's nearly my hometown! Then, after his chrismation and seminary he was sent back to East Lansing to St. Andrew's, which is an Orthodox Church I drove by a million long before I ever thought of joining the Orthodox Church. Anyways, those were some coincidences.
After dinner we stayed with Shawn and Tara. That was great. Shawn and Tara are converts and very excited about the Orthodox faith. I won't mention the fact that they seriously have a cross of some sort in every room of their house. Oops, I guess I just did.
Sunday liturgy was great. Fr. Oliver gave the homily and it was great. He's a very engaging speaker. As an aside, it is nice going to a not-humongous parish with three priests. Each of them is different from the other two, so together they're a great blend.
Dinner coffee hour I had good conversation with Fr. Oliver about seminary plans and if there could be Orthodox seminary in my future. He offered some valuable insight and discernment. I believe he converted to Orthodoxy while in a protestant seminary, so he knows what I need to know.
Sunday was the first time our kids stayed all the way through Liturgy. A lot of Sundays one of us takes them downstairs at about the 1 hr mark when they get a little too fidgety or too fussy. This time there was none of that. They were awesome. I wonder if part of that is our evolving sense of what a child's role is in the community worship. We're letting go of some of our western sit up, sit straight, pay attention mindset and allowing them to meet God in His Liturgy in their way. And when we don't fuss at them for moving around a little bit, they stop fussing. Of course, we're talking about a little bit of fidgeting, not rolling under the pews or running down the aisles. That wouldn't even fly even in an Orthodox Church.