It used to be a regular occurrence, the absence of Father Theodore of our parish. And often a priest from another parish, sometimes even from another country, would step into the breach and celebrate the Holy Liturgy with us in Deventer. Today, for the first time since quite long, Father Theodore was in Russia again, and we had a guest priest.
Father David helped us out — but Father David is not just from another country, he’s from another continent. An American from Los Angeles who now studies Ethics in Leuven, he is not quite fluent in Dutch, so we celebrated in English. Mostly in English; our choir sang in Dutch, the Lord’s Prayer was in Church Slavonic, and I had to read the Gospel in Dutch.
It was the first time I heard the familiar texts of the litanies, the consecration and all the other prayers I know nearly by heart, in English. And that was so beautiful and fitting, a really smooth translation, especially compared to the texts in Hapgood, The Orthodox Service Book, which I have in a 1922 edition.
About the only point where I was jerked out of the flow was at the consecration itself: in Dutch the priest says ‘Het Heilige voor de Heiligen’, but in English it’s something like ‘The Holy Things to the Holy Ones’ — and that anemic ‘things’ felt quite wrong.
Another reason it’s good to have the occasional guest priest is that, since I am an acolyte married to a choir member, we hardly ever have the chance to attend liturgy in another church, which means in turn that we need these visits to ‘calibrate’ our customs and expectations. And it’s always good to hear someone different preach the homily, because that, too, makes one listen with new ears. Todays homily was very different from Father Theodore’s way of preaching, and it was very apposite: about the necessity to give up any dreams or ambitions that are not from God and the Holy Spirit, if you want to follow new dreams and ambitions, ones that are not produced through listening to the yakking of the world around one.
Whether that means that I should finally make a decision about what I should really concentrate on: Krita, the novel-in-progress or my study at St. John the Theologian, is something that I am rather reluctant to contemplate.
The problem is — if I don’t code, I feel blunted, if I don’t write
I feel cramped and if I don’t study I feel stunted… The other side of the
same problem is that I really don’t have enough time to do everything
at the same time.