I was taught prayer was identical in church and at home. Prayer in bed,in the car, in church, were all the same, right? There was nothing special about the church building. I knew not to run in church, not much beyond that. This was not necessarily a fault of the protestant tradition, simply my understanding.
The Orthodox view of a church building is different from the view I was used to. We even have a prayer upon entering a church:
"I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy: and in thy fear I will worship toward thy holy temple. Lead me, O Lord, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make thy way straight before me, that with a clear mind I may glorify thee forever, One Divine Power worshipped in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen."
Pretty big deal huh?
I was inspired to write this after viewing a comment from my last post from Khouria Susan (Khouria is the title for the wife of a Priest.) She is the wife of Father Basil, a priest in our parish. In my last post I mentioned how silly it sounded that I liked to pray in church. She wanted to know exactly what I meant.
Here is Kh. Susan's comment from my previous post:
"...And no, it's not silly that you like to pray in church. I can think of many many other things that I like to do that are silly, but praying in church isn't one of them. Oh, maybe you meant it's silly that you LIKE to pray in church... not that praying in church is silly. hmmmmmm. syntax.don't you just love it?"
"I was raised to believe a church was NO DIFFERENT than our home, therefore,prayer in a church was nothing special. So what I meant by the post was; It might sound silly to my friends, but I actually LIKE to pray IN a church... a concept formerly foreign to me. "
After completing my last final exam for the semester, I planned to go to church. I realized I crave being in church. It is a holy place. Yes I pray at home, but I also pray with other Orthodox believers in church.
I'm still getting used to it, "I like to pray in church." It sounds absurd, because I should have always felt this way. It sounds silly to say it, because isn't that the purpose of a church? The definition of "a church" has changed for me. I love that a church is a holy place, a place for worship and prayer.
Tonight I will attend Vespers, I'm really looking forward to it because I like to pray in church.
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