Yet another reason to embrace the ancient faith; to come home to Orthodoxy.
A few Sundays ago, in the middle of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom (the primary Eucharistic Liturgy of the Orthodox Church…dating to about the 5th century and still in use today unchanged) the lights went out. Everything went black. Boom – just like that…bam…no electricity, no lights, what to do right? Well God be praised for His Church – the Orthodox Church – no electricity, no lights – no problem. We just kept on. Kept on doing what we are called to do, what are designed to do, what we are made to do. Without a flinch, without a single thought we kept praying, singing, chanting, and worshipping.
No Electricity? No problem.
No mega Jumbotron with all the ‘song lyrics’ is used, so no problem. No guitar and drum infused ‘contemporary praise and worship’ electricity is used so, again, no problem. No mega microphone system needed, to amplify the 35 minute monologue message, and no power point slides and You Tube videos were threatened, because – we don’t use or need them.
“So how did you see? What did you use for light?” Good questions. Well, we used what our Christian ancestors used from the 1st century until now… candles – Beeswax candles!
We worshipped by the light of candles. Worship in its truest form. Simple, beautiful, unadorned. Minus technology, or electricity, or amplification. Nothing changed for us, there was no hiccup, praying did not stop, singing did not stop, the distribution of the Body and Blood of Christ did not stop. Our lips were not restrained. In fact, even our agape meal (the potluck meal after liturgy was not affected!)
We continued in the rhythm of worship, just like Christians did in the darkened catacombs of Rome, and Antioch. Just like the persecuted brethren around the world who don’t have the freedom and luxury of movie theatre like ‘worship centers’. The Orthodox Church does not reject the power of technology. Our websites, Twitters, and Blog posts are among the best in the land, and we gladly embrace the gift. See: www.ancientfaith.com
But our worship, our Liturgy, our very way of life cannot be stopped by the loss of electricity because the prayers and songs and chants are in our hearts! Like Paul and Barnabas chained in the darkened jail, we, like they, sang from our souls, because the song of the church is found there, and not on the electrical big screen up front. Our hymns are posted in our memory and we sing the same Kontakia and Troparia that our ancestors sang. We don’t really need or use special printed bulletins because we know “what comes next” in the liturgy. We don’t need hot electric guitar riffs, and an “American Idol” praise band, because our voices unadorned by instruments and amplification, provides the sweetest harmony and melody.
The world and technology stopped churches all over our area that Sunday because the electricity went down… but The Orthodox Church kept on, just as she has for over 2,000 years, and just as she will until Christ comes again; for there may be a day in our country, in the not too distant future, when we will be meeting in the dark, in secret, hidding in caves and basements with only candles to light the way.
So when the electricity goes out again, make sure you’re ready. Here is a great place to get beeswax candles made by hand by Orthodox monks at St. John of San Francisco Monastery… and join the Church as we worship the liturgical, ancient way – a way that is changeless and timeless.