We visited my sister at our sister church this weekend. After Emily was born, we started to see the benefit of visiting different churches and being involved in not just our own community but communities around us. The more I visit other churches and get to know others in them, I’m always stunned at the beautiful people I meet and how I feel like they are my brothers and sisters already.
One of the things I love about Orthodoxy is that whenever I have visted a friend out of town and gone to their church, it always feels like I belong there. There’s this familiarity of celebrating Divine Liturgy with a new set of people and a sense of security that the liturgy is being celebrated in thousands of different places by many of the faithful around the world. My dear friend pointed that out to me one day and I have been meditating on that thought ever since. And beyond that, not only are we celebrating with the Orthodox around the world, we are celebrating with the angels. Rad. It’s like that Kerygma song. The composer I believe wrote the song for his friend that was leaving to go to seminary and in the words he says:
“Though you may be absent, you are present Eucharistically.”
I love that line. It reminds me that I am celebrating the Liturgy with my friends and family who aren’t present with me. With my godfamily (whom I constantly miss) in Alaska, with my dear friends up North, with The Gang (who are all spread out through California), with my friend who is a nun up in an Island in Alaska, etc. etc. etc. We are all connected and a community, no matter how far away we may be at this present moment in our lives.
I feel blessed that we have so many different parishes nearby to visit and get to know the others in them. I feel blessed that Emily and Isaac will have the option of knowing and being connected to so many different kids her age. To be able to learn and minister from a variety of people.
What a blessing to have a sense of belonging no matter where I am and to have such a large community spread out in different churches.