Re: Lengthy Church Services
- Respected Mr. Abraham -
I wasn't aware that Pope Francis had shortened Easter service. Compared to our own Orthodox service, I've found the Roman Church's services to already be short. Depending on who you may ask, I'm sure the answer varies. I'm not fully understanding your questions and your suggestion for an "open-ended service". Furthermore, quite frankly if people feel turned off by services they are already aware of as being long, they are free to go and be turned on by attending another church with shorter services. I remember watching a TV show where a child was asked to say grace at the dinner table. The child said, "Rub-a-dub-dub, thanks for the grub. YAY GOD!" That to me is short and to the point, but the further dilution we of our faith we consider, that is the potential of where we go.
As a child I attended Good Friday service with disappointment. But slowly as I grew older I found myself wanting to attend them in its completion, especially during the times I observed the Great Lent. Now, because of my work's strict leave policies and a limited amount of said leave at that, it is difficult for me to take that full day off, but hoping as my children get older they will appreciate our faith better than I did as a child and approach that long service where we as Orthodox Christians spend time remembering the suffering of Christ our Lord as He was accepted as the last sacrifice for the wretched mankind that each one of us are.
I recall attending services at Roman Catholic Churches in college and also a few at some Mar Thoma Syrian churches a few occasions and said to myself, "Yeah, that was short and perhaps to the point, but I still do not feel nourished." Our Orthodox faith is something we truly take for granted. I feel ashamed of myself when I encounter converts and others who are considering converting who have a deeper and more firm conviction to the One True Uncorrupted Faith that was given to us by St. Thomas the Apostle and Martyr. It has taken them years to get to that point, whereas I, baptized as an infant, have not and still haven't appreciated the Gifts of God nearly enough. Our Holy Qurbana incorporates each of our five senses so we can recognize God in our own human way. The rigor and discipline and other elements which our forefathers incorporated in Divine Liturgy is astounding, but so often we don't realize how wonderful this gift is. I'm the most guilty of this and that is not approaching our Holy Qurbana with nearly enough humility, thankfulness, faith, and love.
Pray for me, a sinner. May God be merciful to us all!
St. Gregorios, Washington, DC.
- Some of our church members always complains that our service is lengthy. A normal Sunday service with sermon may be arround 2 1/2 hrs only. Most of the members skip the one hour prabhatha namaskaram and some may reach for last half our only. I like to point about a family who always complain about this long service. The aunty was not willing to sit for the marthamariyam samajam after the church. The uncle always cries about giving the nominal monthly collection for the church and skips the other charity collections. Now this family is a member of Heavenly Feast. Aunty goes for whole day Friday prayers even early to participate in the kanji and payar preparation. Uncle knows to pay the monthly deshamsham. Those who complain against the leangthy service, please rethink. Once you participate in holy Qurbana whole heartedly, you will not feel that it is lengthy. God save our church.
Regards, B V Chirathalattu, Vakathanam