9/19/10

One Year Later

Today is the Sunday of the Exaltation of the Cross.   One year ago, on the Sunday of the Exaltation of the Cross, I attended my very first Divine Liturgy in an Orthodox Church.

A year ago, I wasn’t sure if I could be Orthodox.  Incense?  Icons?  Crossing myself?   I don’t think so.  I remember thinking, “Can I be Orthodox and not do the whole icon thing?” (um, no)

I knew that theologically, I needed to be Orthodox.   The whole concept of Theosis just resonates within my soul.   I had come to realize that my view of salvation was Orthodox!  I was saved.  2,000 years ago Christ suffered on the Cross so that I could be redeemed.  My faith has made me “right with God.”  I am being saved.  Right now,  I am being conformed to the image of Christ and I strive to be more and more like Him.   Lord have mercy,  I will be saved when I stand before Him and behold His glory! 

But even though I my heart sang with joy at the discovery of Theosis, my mind struggled with such things as icons and incense.  I knew I had to *experience* Orthodoxy.   Silly me, I thought that if I could experience Orthodoxy, I would “get it out of my system” and be able to return to my safe little world.

This morning I realized that I have come to love the smell of incense.  I have come to love the beautiful icons, and crossing myself has become second nature.  Today as I worshiped I realized that it had meaning for me and it was an expression of my love for God.   A year ago, I couldn’t comprehend lighting a candle or venerating an icon and I certainly felt out of place as everyone around me prostrated before the Cross.   But this morning,  I lit a candle, and, with love and gratitude for my Savior, I venerated several icons.   I even did my own (modified because of bad knees) prostrations before the precious, life-giving Cross. 

I cried out to God and I told Him that if He wanted me to be Orthodox, He was going to have to work in my heart, and He did.   There is still so much I don’t know and still so much I don’t understand but I am willing to follow Him and see where He takes me.

Through Orthodoxy, I rediscovered my love for God and have come to a deeper understanding of His love for me.   I have a richer, more meaningful to me, spiritual life than I had before.  

I’ve learned that seeking after God with everything I have can take me down paths I never even knew existed.  It’s been a wild ride of a year!

3 comments:

  1. Hugs! That's beautiful! Glad that you've enjoyed your ride!

    Bzmom

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  2. Oh, oh, oh. This is beautiful! Happy Anniversary! We have been blessed to know you! Many Years!

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  3. Tess, this is Richard from Church (the big guy with the cute lil baby !!). Thanks for sharing this. I just discovered your blog. Keep up the great writing

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