As I mentioned in my last post, I spent the weekend of the 24th in southern Indiana. This gave me the chance to visit the very new, as yet unnamed, mission in Evansville. (Sorry, no pitures this time.) It was so wonderful to be able to go to Liturgy while there. This was a first for me. Although Evansville is the third largest city in Indiana, and if you include nearby Owensboro, KY it has a metropolitan area of easily 400,000 people, there is no Orthodox church of any jurisdiction in the area. I have long been praying for a mission to be started there, so it was a particular joy and blessing to attend Liturgy in my home town. Please pray for Father Daniel and the faithful there. They are a very small community right now, so I pray that this seed will bear much fruit in the years to come.
While I was in Evansville, being warmly welcomed by the founders of the mission, we had a visitor at my home parish in Indianapolis. This is not unusual, since we generally have at least a few visitors every week, be they family or friends of parishioners, people new to or visiting the area, or people curious about the Orthodox faith. But our visitor last week, Stacy Towle Morgan, has written about her visit to St. George at her blog, Never Enough Sundays where she is blogging about her experiences as she visits a different place of worship every week this year. In addition to writing about her visits, she is also taking the time to interview the spiritual leaders of the communities she visits, so you can hear her podcast where she has interviewed our pastor, the V. Rev. Father Nabil Hanna.
Morgan amusingly titles her post about her visit to St. George, "This Is Not a Church for Sissies: Discipline Required."" I can understand how she drew that conclusion, especially having visited an Orthodox Church as we prepare to enter Great Lent, but actually I think the Orthodox Church is absolutely for "sissies." Discipline is certainly something I find to be a constant struggle, and I know I'm not alone in that. The Church supports us in that struggle. It provides us with the loving support of a community of brothers and sisters engaged in the same struggle, spiritual fathers to guide us, and the nourishment of the Food we need to strengthen us.
I found it interesting to read about the Liturgy from the perspective of someone totally new the experience. I'm still quite young in the faith, having been Chrismated only three years ago, but although I was worshiping that same Sunday in a new place, with new people, in a very different environment than usual, the experience wasn't new to me at all. It was the Holy Liturgy that I've come to know and love, that I participate in each week. As I stood in Father Daniel's dining room, singing along with a choir just getting to know one another and the music, I felt totally at home.