Sunday: Christ is risen!
Sunday. Whenever we can, we try to attend the liturgy at church, our local church, me and my family. We have to travel by car for an hour or so, but we don’t want to be without it.
“Christ is risen!”, that’s the greeting when we arrive. “He truly is!” the reply. Three kisses on the cheeks, one for the Holy Father, one for his Son and one for the Holy Spirit. By the way, did you know, that Christians go to church on Sundays because Christ rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion, i.e. on a sunday? I didn’t, until very recently.
Inside the church we and our Christian brothers and sisters light wax candles, bow down and pray in front of the icons and give them a kiss. When one kisses the Virgin Mary, the mother of God, and our Lord Jesus Christ, our true God, it is like greeting them with love in a most humble way, reminding of how we do when we meet our closest and dearest friends.
A very old prayer among Orthodox Christians is the so called Jesus Prayer: “Our Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner”. This is what many Jews and others said when they met Jesus and wanted him to heal them. And he did, if they had faith. It’s also much the same prayer as in the Psalms (Ps.123:3): “Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us: for we are exceedingly filled with contempt.”
I cannot explain why, but one easily feels at home in Orthodox churches, that’s my personal experience anyway, and also the one of many of my Christian brothers and sisters.
Allow me to suggest some Orthodox music now? First chants by four monks in the Valaam monastery in Russia, not far from Saint Petersburg, followed by Gospodi pomiluj, Gospodi prosti.