An unworthy Deacon, named for the brother of God: James, striving to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" within the Tradition (paradosis) of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. It is a strange and marvelous journey, and I am accompanied by the fourfold fruit of my fecundity. My wife, the Matushka or Diaconissa Sophia, is my beloved partner in the pursuit of Theosis, and she ranks me in every way.
I’ve often sung its praises and have even considered bringing into existence. But the thought occurred to me last night that for all intents and purposes we already have it. Sure we don’t sleep under the same roof – at least not very often – but when I consider the amount of time we DO spend together and the circumstances which brought us into closer proximity to one another, how can we see it as anything but “intentional”?
My family and I moved from Sultan to be closer to Church…and that meaning more so the people as opposed to the building (though that too!) Since moving we have in essence opened our little home and it’s backyard to fairly regular dinners where we eat, talk, drink, pray and just BE together. Including ours, we have three families who regularly gather and live within walking distance of one another…and fourth and fifth regularly attending families live further away but are none-the-less ever present at our gatherings as well. I suspect it is the graciousness of my friends that typically brings them to my house as opposed to theirs, kindly recognizing my family as having the most and the youngest kids…but we all recognize the extent to which our houses are wholly open to one another and we have all offered some form of labor to one another in their upkeep and improvements. Anyway, at our little house, these gathering make for quite a crowded scene, but it is a scene, which in at least a small way reveals the strong sense of community so lacking in our “diverse” culture today.
We fast together (as best we can!) and we feast together and I have been particularly reminded of this during this Dormition Fast. Friday was Transfiguration and yesterday was St. Herman’s feast and on both occasions our little community within the bigger community gathered together at my house. I cannot begin to communicate the welcome-ness I feel for them all…it has reached the point to where my children EXPECT these gatherings…and come to think of it, so do I.
It is an altogether natural thing…truly, the best of both worlds! The simplicity and intimacy that the "home chuches" claim, I think, integrates perfectly with what I perceive to be the solid foundation of an ancient “institutional” church. I would have it no other way. At such times, I think my home feels even more like home ought to feel.
James, Like you, I see this as intentional community. It is the graciousness of our hosts that bring us all seeking fellowship to your door so often. (BTW... now WE have the most kids!)While our gathering on Transfiguration was planned in advance, the expectation of my children for gathering again so soon was clear. On Sunday afternoon the whining began,"It's Sunday, aren't we going to the ?" All day long on Monday from the moment the kids woke..."Are we eating at the ?" The most telling was the phone call I received from TRG at 3 PM, "So, are we eating at the ? Thanks for allowing us all to invade so often! - AB