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!
Hugs! That's beautiful! Glad that you've enjoyed your ride!ReplyDelete
Oh, oh, oh. This is beautiful! Happy Anniversary! We have been blessed to know you! Many Years!ReplyDelete
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 writingReplyDelete