Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Orthodoxy




I'm so intrigued by the Russian Orthodox Church. The worship services we attended there were at least 2 hours in length, and we stood for the entire time. At first, I passed the time looking around the inside of the building, admiring the pictures of saints, gold accents, taking in the smell of the incense, stealing glances at the Babushkas who stood 4 1/2 feet tall with their wrinkled hands crossing themselves, then bowing to the floor. I was distracted and bored, not understanding what they were saying, not knowing when to cross myself and when to bow....but after the first hour, I started saying my own things when I crossed myself..."Jesus, I belong to You"...or "I love you, Lord"...and as my focus changed from my surroundings to God, I began to worship.

There's something beautiful about worshiping in such a simple way...with simple words. Our experience has made me much more aware of the words I use in worship - whether that's singing songs, praying, or participating in the Body. I feel a little more uncomfortable with those songs that call Jesus "my best friend"...or "Jesus I am so in love with you". Honestly, there are days when I don't feel in love with my husband, much less God. And if Jesus really is my best friend, then why is it such a struggle to spend time with Him sometimes? I'm convicted of how flippantly I speak his name, how nonchalantly I pick up His Word....and I think, maybe the Russians have got something here....dressing up, covering my head, showing respect and reverence....not that they're all right....I mean, I desire to be in love with Jesus, and I want him to be my best friend....but somewhere in the middle of familiarity and reverence, there is a place for worship.

1 comment:

Tammy said...

Cool post, Gretchen. One of my best friends growing up was Russian Orthodox but we never really talked about what that meant (all I knew is that she stood up the whole time during a 2 hour church service). We lost touch after high school but I saw her this summer during a nostagic drive through my old neighborhood in Ohio. Amazingly, she was home too (she now lives in New York City) and we happened to spot her mom in the yard as we drove by their house. She studied liturgical music at a seminary in NYC and now works for her church. I'm going to NYC in September...reading your post makes me hope that I can meet her for coffee. I've very curious to learn more about her faith experience.