Worship and You
Worship is derived from the Greek word “latreia” which also implies “adoration.” What do we adore? Worship involves prayer but it is much more than prayer. It is coming into the presence of God and being changed by him. This can happen only if we humble ourselves and direct our focus on listening, learning, and loving.
Sunday Divine Liturgy- The Lord’s Day
Liturgy comes from two Greek words meaning “the work of the people”. Divine Liturgy is the Holy Work of the People to worship the Trinitarian God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Each Sunday we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. We hear the Word of God and then we receive the Lord Himself in Holy Communion. These are two of the greatest gifts of God. They help to guide, strengthen and inspire us. God created us to worship Him, to know our Creator so that we might know how He wants us to live.
Orthodox Christians should attend Divine Liturgy every Sunday. We are part of a family of God’s people. We enter into His Kingdom together, not as individuals, in the life of the Church. Every Liturgy we miss, we separate ourselves further from the source of Life. In the same way, if we habitually come 30-40-60 minutes late to Liturgy, we cannot expect any real benefit. Our unrepentant laziness prevents God’s grace from penetrating into our heart, mind and soul.
Come, taste and see how good the Lord is. He is the source of immortal life!
Children in Church
Parents, grandparents, godparents, aunts, uncles: Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, do not hinder them.” Every time we have an opportunity to pray with, teach, read scripture, the saints, go to church, youth activity, be an example to, to love and care for our children; we are presented with a choice- society’s values and priorities or the priority of Christ? One choice may not turn the tide but it can lead to a series of choices that will reflect what we truly value or what we are enslaved to. Be a slave/doulos of Christ!
We will give account before the judgment seat of Christ for our choices. Think about your future judgment now so that your choices will be influenced appropriately in the right way. The Church cannot help your kids unless you let them come and do not hinder them. Be supportive, active and involved.
It’s been said that children are like sponges. They soak up everything. This is true of worship, prayer, and spirituality. There is so much for them to see, hear, and do in the Church. These experiences will leave a deep and lasting impression upon them. We as parents and godparents have the high calling of forming and shaping the souls of those entrusted to our care. This cannot be done without bringing our children regularly and on time to Sunday Liturgy. It is with particular joy that we see and hear so many children during Divine Liturgy. We encourage parents to bring their children to church regularly and once they are baptized, to bring them for Holy Communion as often as possible. As with anything else, our children need to be taught how to behave in Church.
At first, we may find that our children are more active than we or others around us would like. Eventually, they learn how to act when in the church just like they learn to act when at school or at the doctor’s office. If your child is distracting you, they are probably distracting others. Use the quiet room if necessary or take them into the exo-narthex until they achieve an appropriate demeanor then, bring them back into the church. Don’t be manipulated by them and end up missing the liturgy because they get to “play” or be loud outside of church. If the quiet room becomes crowded, please observe a one parent for one child limit. For parents with infants and toddlers, the youth room is available on Sunday morning for nursing. Diaper changers are in both bathrooms. At this time, St. George does not have a drop-off nursery. We want your child to be with us in Liturgy and they should be there. It’s where they belong.
One last note, if you think your child cannot behave or cannot focus during a one and half hour service, think again. First, ask honestly ask yourself if you can tolerate the service. Don’t use your child as an excuse to come late or every other Sunday. If you are bored and uninterested with Divine Worship, it’s time for a spiritual check-up to get to the heart of the illness that plagues your soul. Your children will do just fine with worship if you allow them to attend and train them appropriately. Parents who come late because of their young kids, end up continuing their habit of tardiness even as the kids get older. The end result is a bad habit gets ingrained in the children and passed-down to yet another generation.
Saturday Evening Vespers and Sunday Morning Orthros:
Vespers (from the Greek “Esperinos” meaning “evening”) and Orthros (meaning “upright” or “wake up”) services are not private gatherings. They are services open to all the faithful. In the Orthodox Church, the meaning of each day and each feast day is found in the hymns of the Church chanted at Orthros and Vespers. Throughout the history of the Christian Church, the faithful learned about what the Church teaches by attending the services. By hearing the hymns and by looking at the icons, the faithful are nourished and educated. Today we are committed to keeping this tradition alive because it most perfectly fits the needs of the faithful. Continuing from the Jewish practice, the liturgical day began at sundown and thus Vespers is the first service of each new day. Saturday evening Vespers are celebrated September through May and provide a unique experience for the family to glorify God. Orthros, although not the first service in the day, is basically the “sunrise” service and is usually held in conjunction with Divine Liturgy. Orthros is celebrated every Sunday at 8:15 AM before Liturgy. Both are full of hymns and readings and could be an option if someone is not able to attend Divine Liturgy on a particular Sunday.
These are celebrated in honor of a particular saint or event in salvation history. These are excellent opportunities to come and worship in a personal/intimate way and a great way to celebrate your nameday. These are also a good time for young children to become better acquainted with the Church and the Liturgy. Everyone who is not working or does not have other commitments should attend these services.