Saturday, January 29, 2011


We drive up, and the kids say, "Look!  It looks like Romeo and Juliet."

"Well, look at that!"  my husband says admiringly.  We are intrigued by the exterior decor, warmly lit and unusually inviting.

Inside the door we are greeted with a hushed tone and a tea light...extinguished one at time..."no life without death."

Inside is as creatively changed and charged as outside. The room, so tamed by me, where I laid the floor tiles and painted the walls, is no longer familiar.  I am drawn in.  New art on a string across the wall, pulls me in even further.

The liturgy booklet in my hand is beautifully crafted, stitched together.

The music is unfamiliar, strong, but reserved. Ambient.

 Something shivers over me when a light-footed child goes down the aisle to light the candles at the front.  The innocence and beauty of it.

The liturgy begins, read by a voice from behind.
 At first, I am impatient, rushing ahead but the lights go down too low while music plays for me read the booklet. I am forced into the quiet.   Mattie and Calvin sit ahead of us, Robb on one side of me, Charleigh on the other.

 I foolishly realize for the first time that I have never seen an icon in candlelight.  The gold glows and flickers. I am transported away from my resentment for "having to go to church tonight" after such a beautiful day so full of accomplishment and creativity. I hated to stop my work. I hated to stop when I could have gone on, accomplishing more on such a fine evening.  But I realized why I was there.  What small sacrifice an evening was in comparison. What good it was doing my soul.  Far more was being accomplished.

A lump formed in my throat, while my eyes went over the arrangement of icons and church fathers, Jesus pictures and wood carvings, clustered behind the cross and candles.  The arrangement was deeply satisfying. No wish to move one "a little that way" made me realize a deep thankfulness for our new young part time pastor and his wife. They in there 20s. I realized that we have grown too tired to be this creative. The yearning to be fresh in our approach gets worn out with the long days of responsibilities and the short time to carry them out.   The smoothness and obvious planning was that of someone who cared deeply about the execution.  Gratitude and amazement.

Our family reads the liturgy in the mornings and at the dinner table. When voices came out of the crowd, reading parts of the liturgy, I thrilled to know that truly our Family was reading the liturgy together.  Calvin, sure of the need for silence, reached out and rubbed his sister's shoulder. Charleigh kissed my hand with a loud smooch. 

The contrast of modern music and ancient liturgy was juxtaposed tight.  Invited to the front, with our extinguished candles, to light them and offer them like our lives, I knelt involuntarily to help Charleigh with her candle.  Sometimes, the experience of a mother in worship is through the child.

"Go in peace."

Vintage Vespers.

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