Tonight was quite a night. At Vespers this evening, our church had its annual visit from a group of Methodists, who bring their confirmation class to see an Orthodox church. I always enjoy this visit, because after the service our priest (my Dad), allows them to ask questions about the church, our faith, or even about the "weird" pictures we have at the front of our church! I always learn something new by listening in. Someone always asks the question, "What's the difference between your church (Antiochian) and Russian or Greek Orthodox churches?" My father always explains that except for language or minute cultural differences, we are all the same. We are all one. We are all Orthodox. I always feel so proud, and truly do feel like all of "us Orthodox" are one family.
This hit home two-fold tonight. We have had storms the last few days, but during Vespers the weather took a turn, and I noticed several people, including my mother, glance down and then walk briskly into the Narthex with cell phones. I found out that three tornadoes had been sighted a little south of the church (where my house is!) and were headed towards us. The service kept going, but I could see nervous faces, especially the faces of the mothers who were there with young children. During the petitions, we responded "Lord have mercy" more firmly, and with a sense of urgency. Eventually the weather calmed, and we all breathed a sigh of relief.
Unfortunately we found out that during Vespers our sister church a little west of us was hit and the roof collapsed right onto the altar! No one was hurt, but I was filled with such a sense of grief for my brothers and sisters in Christ. We truly are a family. Please pray for the parishioners of St. Elizabeth in Murfreesboro, TN. God grant them peace, and a quick recovery from the damage.
2 weeks ago