Now being in a Russian Diocese under our blessed Bishop Agafangel and our blessed priest, Father Gregory Williams, I have submitted all of my blogs and Internet activity to their wisdom and advise. So it is with fear and trepidation that I post this, for I know that Father Gregory likes to remain "off the radar" and is not comfortable when anyone would highlight him in any way. I look forward to the day when I might kiss the hand of my Bishop, but I am honored to kiss the hand of my priest every week. I am so honored that Father Gregory recently mildly rebuked me for asking for his blessing so often.
Under my blog photo, which was taken in front of our home altar, is the scripture that best reflects my heart. In all of my Journey To Orthodoxy, my heart has yearned for only one thing:
"One thing have I desired and that will I seek after. That I may dwell in the house of the lord all of my life and inquire in His holy temple. "
As I sit here blogging, my mind must catch up with the fact that the desire of my heart is being fulfilled. I entered the Agape Community/Holy Annunciation Orthodox Church, one year ago this month, only with a desire to serve, to fill in the gaps of need in this small community of believers. If that meant to only fix a broken cabinet, polish the brass, repair a lectern, or cabinet door, then my joy would abound. During liturgy, I was content to stand in the corner and worship the God. I found, however, a priest, who, in his wisdom and need, allowed me to chant the very first vigil we attended. In his wisdom he also gave to my wife his holy vestment to repair, trusting us, though he had just met us. It was that discernment of the spirit, that knowing, that our souls had been so oppressed by two former priests, that that trust, that putting us to work of the Kingdom, was the fulfillment of our hearts.
I so fear the thought that I might be accused of self-promotion, that I have the tendency to stand back and wait. The discernment of our blessed Matuska Anastasia, Father Gregory's wife, drew me to out of my waiting when she told me, "Father will not ask for help but needs it and would welcome it." This is how I now find myself assisting my priest at the Holy Alter. I told him I so desired to assist him if he needed me, and he has allowed me to do just that. Through the years, in this small community of Orthodox Believers, he has had to "do it all". But why should an arch-priest, a faithful servant of God, these 30 plus years, have to do it all? Why should he have to trim the wicks, light the incense, move a table, prepare the blessed prosphora, especially if there are faithful men in the church to assist?
There are moments during the Liturgy, when Father is in the nave and I am awaiting him to returned to the altar, that I look at the holy altar and suppress the tears of joy, for it is an awesome thing to know that I, yes I, in my sinfulness and weakness, am allowed to stand in the presence of the King of all creation. I am humbled. God be merciful to me a sinner.