This afternoon I went out to our church to mop the floor, replace the oil in the lamps, and do weekly cleaning. While I was working, I put my iPhone on Ancient Faith Radio to listen to music. If you’ve never listened to AFR, boy, you’re really missing out. They have a channel with talk shows about Orthodox Christianity, and another channel that plays sacred Orthodox music, usually chanting. AFR has an app for your iPhone too. On the music channel as I cleaned, they were playing a recording of the liturgy.

Now, the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, the one most Orthodox churches (and Eastern Rite Catholic churches) use on most Sundays, is long and complex. When I first became Orthodox, I was as lost as a goose inside it. Even today, eight years later, I can’t tell you exactly what comes next, even though I’ve been worshiping in that liturgy for all this time. Today, though, as I pushed the mop, I found that I knew what was coming next at every turn. I didn’t have to think about it; I prayed right along with the priest as he chanted.

Not sure why, but that made me feel so good. After all these years, the liturgy is working its way into my bones. It was so opaque to me when I began in 2006 — beautiful, of course, but opaque — and now it’s becoming second nature. It slipped up on me. It’s hard for me to imagine worshiping outside it now.

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