Saturday, August 28, 2004

Troparion for the day

(More wistful thoughts on losing my church. Skip if you don't like maudlin.)

I walked past my keyboard, and felt a little sadness. Tomorrow is the first Sunday that I won't be going to the church I'm calling St. Nicholas. I'll start going to a new church in a few weeks, but tomorrow it's just little me.

So why the keyboard sadness? I was the choir director. At this time on Saturday night, I would be logging onto the OCA Web-site and printing up the variable hymns. And the keyboard provided a little help in case there was anything I couldn't quite get. In case of a special occasion, it would help me find out if the special prokeimenon or theotokion of the day was one that our little choir could handle, or if it needed to be chanted just to keep the service running smoothly. I had several jobs at St. Nicholas, but the choir director duties were the most dear to me.

I couldn't resist. I opened up my liturgical guide and found out what tomorrow is. Good heavens! (Um, no pun intended.) It's the Feast of the Beheading of the Forerunner.

A symptom of the problems at St. Nicholas was that less and less feasts were celebrated as they should have been, if at all. At the Feast of the Dormition two weeks ago, we had one reader, three in the congregation and one choir member -- me. When I feel low about St. Nicholas, I remember the fasts and feasts that we ignored, and I feel galvanized. I want to join with Orthodox again. I want to feel the rhythm of the Church and the poetry of millennia washing over me and taking away the filmy grime of the week.

Here is the Troparion for the Beheading of the Forerunner (if you got to hear it, count yourself blessed):

The memory of the righteous is celebrated with hymns of praise, but the
Lord's testimony is sufficient for you, O Forerunner. You were shown in truth to
be the most honorable of the prophets, for you were deemed worthy to baptize in
the streams of the Jordan Him whom they foretold. Therefore, having suffered for
the truth with joy, you proclaimed to those in hell God who appeared in the
flesh, who takes away the sin of the world, and grants us great mercy.

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