merciful blessings

It was fitting to have the privilege of attending two baptisms on the weekend of the feast of the Baptism of Our Lord. I enjoyed both of them very much. It was nice seeing our many friends on Saturday at Rose’s baptism . . .

Sunday’s Liturgy was one that I just loved. The whole service that morning was working on me, in a good way. There were many little distractions, from the occasionally imperfect chant to the kids being extra squirrelly, and for me it made the service even more real, and I was was aware at just how much I needed to be there, and how much we all need to do the work of the church. It was a wonderful service, followed by the amazing lunch (more than a coffee hour) hosted by our Deacon and his wife. There was about an hour between the service and the baptism, and after lunch was done, I had 45 minutes to run the kids around in the windy, but sunny, day outside. I ended up talking with a dear lady named Jelena (I think that is how it is spelled) for a time, and for some reason I just felt a deep peace. By the time the baptism started, I was really there.

Even though there were many spots in the baptismal service I could barely hear, I was on the edge of joyful tears most of the service. The exorcism and triple renunciation of Satan, facing west, and then spitting as a sign of that renunciation, follow by turning east and ‘turning to Christ’ and accepting Him with the creed was really awesome. When Eleni was blessed with the oil of chrism, I could feel the happiness and the dampness on my cheeks from my tears. I could tell the rest of the family was getting tired after the hour of the baptismal service, but I just wanted to stay in the church forever… I wanted to prostrate myself before the altar, because I was so aware of how unworthy I am to be there, and how despite that God invites me there. Please forgive me. Great mercy! The blessing of it all was almost intolerable, but I could hardly get enough. I felt like I was going crazy, the passion was so strong, and I left with the hymns in my head… “Αγιος ο Θεός, Αγιος Ισχυρός, Αγιος Αθάνατος, ελέησον ημάς! Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal One, have mercy upon us!”

I went for a bicycle ride later in the afternoon, and the sun was so warm. The day was bright, and winter seemed far, far away. While that grace has carried me through to even this moment, I must ask for your prayers, for myself, and for my co-workers.

This Friday or Saturday will be layoffs. It could be 10-15% of our Denver branch, 300 or so people, maybe more, maybe less. I think I am in a relatively safe position for now, and am not as worried about myself, (although it probably is not good to be over-certain of my status) but I worry very much over my friends in other parts of the company. Lord, have mercy upon us all.

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