Home again, and another anointing
It began with a fright, however. On the way there my sister-in-law and seven of her eight children were in a serious accident. No one was seriously injured, just bruises and cuts, and aching bodies. The warm days and balmy waters were good therapy for the injured, and by the time we went home, the healing was well along its way. It was a terribly frightening experience for them, and a reminder to the rest of us that we need to treasure each other, as life is fragile.
My favorite memories of the week were watching the kids play in the water, my littlest loving being in the water, and getting a cute little tan. My five year old coming into my room on my birthday, and shyly wishing me a happy day. His cute, shy, loving expression was priceless.
All in all it was a nice time, but now it's back to real life, getting ready for school, planning my next icon workshop, and de-cluttering the rooms before most my day is full of schooling.
We went to Vespers last night for the Feast of the Transfiguration. Again, a beautiful service, followed by another anointing, as well as the blessing and distribution of blessed grapes. The custom of bringing fruit to the temple to be blessed by the priest originates in Old Testament times (Gen 4:2-4; Ex 13:12-13; Num 15:19-21; Deut 8:10-14). In many areas, August is the month of the ripening of many different fruits. Since olden times, the faithful have been bringing fruit to temple for blessing and as a sign of thanksgiving to God. St. John Chrysostom wrote, "The plowman receives fruit from the earth not so much for his labor and diligence, as out of goodness of God Who grows this fruit, because neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase."
My favorite prayer of vespers is this one, sung slowly and with much feeling. Especially during challenging times, this prayer speaks to the need of trust in God, and need to ask for the gift of trusting God.
Deign, O Lord, to keep us this evening without sin.
- Blessed are You, O Lord, God of our Fathers! Praised and glorified is your name for ever. Amen.
- O Lord, let your mercy rest upon us, for we have placed our hope in You.
-Blessed are You, O Lord : teach me your statutes.
-Blessed are You, O Master : grant that I may understand your statutes.
-Blessed are You, O Holy One: enlighten me with your statutes.
-Everlasting is your love, O Lord; do not turn away from the work of your hands!
-Indeed, praise, adoration and glory are your due, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and always and for ever and ever. Amen.
The Church is so generous with the faithful. The bounty of grace and consolation is amazing to me. All you have to do is ask, and it will be given to you, healing, feeding, loving, bandaging our sores, and over time, there will be definite, noticeable vigor in the spirit. This is my prayer; that all will avail themselves of the gentle calling of God, and partake of the banquet feast. Come to the Feast~