Saturday, April 26, 2008

Paschal Vigil

Who would believe that the weather for Eastern Easter Vigil was just about as bad as the weather for Western Easter Vigil - a month ago!

We awoke to snow showers, gusty winds and temps in the 30s this morning, but that didn't dampen our spirits as we left for the Vesperal Divine Liturgy this morning - one of my favorite services of the year. Four people were chrismated this morning at this festive service and I always enjoy seeing this rite - feels like only yesterday that it was me standing barefoot before the priest.

My favorite part of this liturgy is the announcement of the Gospel, at which point clergy come bursting out of the altar with baskets of rose petals and bay leaves and quickly walk through the whole church, flinging them all about as we all sing "Arise, O God and judge the earth, for to you belong all the nations." As the clergy returned to the altar, I looked around and was amused to see all of the worshippers with bay leaves and roses in their hair and on their clothes.

After liturgy this morning, we stayed for a bit to help clean up the church (we used our leaf blower - in vacuum mode - to help suck up the petals and bay leaves from the rugs), then on to our Holy Saturday afternoon jobs: a couple of loads of laundry, a trip to the grocery store and the liquor store, and preparing our Pascha basket and other food for tonight's agape meal after the liturgy.

Well, right now it's 37 degrees - it has stopped snowing, but there are sustained winds of 40 mph. I'm guessing we won't be keeping any candles lit for our little midnight procession at church ... oh, and I will be dragging my winter coat back out for church tonight!

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