Get in Line, You’re Family


My final Sunday at All Saints as a regular attender was not filled with much that was out of the ordinary. As typical, I was later than I wanted to be, thus not only missing the Matins Gospel, but barely sneaking in before the Great Doxology. I guess you would have to know me to understand why I have a twinge of guilt about this.

I sang in the choir, as usual. Sat among the first row or so during the homily. My feet longed for a rest and my voice longed to sing a different melody during the Anaphora prayers. But there was something about communion that was completely different than before.

When I first moved to Bloomington, I wasn’t an Orthodox Christian thus I didn’t partake of communion. In learning what communion meant to an Orthodox Christian, I was rather thankful for “closed communion.” But after 2-3 months of attendance, while I wasn’t ready to be an Orthodox Christian, I was grieving that I didn’t have that opportunity to partake. It’s odd to describe – I didn’t feel unloved or excluded from “the cool kids club” but rather I was beginning to understand  the depth and know I was unprepared.

So, on my final Sunday, a thought struck me rather suddenly as I walked to the communion line: I’m with my family. And it grieved me in an unexpected way that this was my last time with them for a while.

I think above all things, that is what I’m missing here in Indianapolis – my family. I miss the fatherly figures; my “brothers” who tease me but have also stood up for me when needed; and my “sister” who is more aptly described as my cosmic twin. I miss looking across the nave and seeing my Godmother with her prayers and reassuring smile. And while these are the ones I’m closest to in spirit and proximity during the liturgy, we would be incomplete without our extended family to offer their experience, prayers, and support in ways that we only fathom.

We aren’t perfect. Not even close.

So, while my Protestant background would have me singing “Blest Be the Tie That Binds” and “The Family of God” – well, now I’m one of those pesky Orthodox converts. After singing “Receive me today…”, we sing from Psalms: “Young men and maidens, old men and youths together, let them praise the name of the Lord, for His name alone has been exalted.”

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