July 25, 2013

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The Liturgy: What the Community Builds Together We stood for most of the two-hour service. The only time they instructed us to sit was during the priest’s homily. Even then, there were no chairs, just a woven rug on which to sit. And when we stood, we did not watch or listen. We participated, waiting for our turn to sing the replies. Fortunately the choir, which flanked the room on either side, standing perpendicular to the congregation, was well versed in the responses. Their voices were beautiful, echoing in the small dome-roofed room. The dome. I kept looking up at it. Every inch was painted, and the pictures told a story. Paintings of the saints lined the walls, moving in chronological order from left to right. In the center, up in front, was the altar, and behind it an inner chamber of sorts, modeled undoubtedly after the Holy of Holies. The service also included responsive music and specific actions and symbolic gestures. The priest wore robes meant to recall images of the high priestly robes. His going into the inner chamber to bless the sacrament and coming out to present it to us reenacted Christ’s coming from heaven to earth for us. Even his beard and long hair represented a living portrait of Christ. It was our first time to an Eastern Orthodox church. Holly and I talked about our impressions on the way home. “They didn’t cater to us,” she observed. And she liked that. It’s not that the people didn’t care about guests. Quite the contrary. This was the most welcoming community of people we’d been in as guests. They greeted us warmly at the door and were genuinely sad that we couldn’t stay for their weekly after-service potluck lunch in the adjoining room. But no part of the service put the worshipper at the...
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City We Love I LOVE being part of a church that looks for ways to serve our city...and uses art and film to subvert our fears about homelessness and poverty. Check it out! And if you're an artist in the city, there's a cool way for you to be involved! This celebration will change your heart forever. We have two simple goals: first, to dignify people of our city, which includes demystifying the issues around homelessness, and second, to connect the vision of Mary’s Home with your heart so that we have an opportunity to invest together as we journey toward the common good of our city. One way we desire to reach these goals is to partner with local and national artists who share their beautiful visual art to present the theme of the event, “City We Love”, which will include sculpture, photography, drawing, painting, music and film. If you are an artist and would like to participate, please do! Simply email Emile Ibrahim at emile@artforcommunity.com for more information. All art is due August 9th. This semi-formal event takes place on Friday evening at 7pm. A silent auction will begin earlier that day and run through Saturday September 7th. Everyone who attends will get the chance to bid in the silent auction as well as vote on the artwork they desire to see become part of a permanent collection in Mary’s Home. The silent auction and Friday night event will help us raise funds for Mary’s Home. But most importantly, people in our city–everyone involved in this–will be celebrated and dignified. We can’t wait to spend this evening with you!

Glenn Packiam

Lead Pastor, new life DOWNTOWN, New Life Church, Colorado Springs, CO. Author and songwriter.

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