Last night: Got to church just a bit late for the 10:30 blessing of baskets. Stayed in the basement for the 11:00. papertigers
brought a double batch of her amazing mac and cheese and the church ladies were pleased. After the baskets were blessed, I hid mine above the coat rack because we didn't have time to go back to the car before the beginning of Nocturnes.
Or so we thought! Nocturnes actually ended 15 minutes late this year, and the rest of the "night" cascaded from there. When Metropolitan Jonah knocked on the door of the church and asked, "Who is the King of Glory?" three times, and each time the other clergy replied, "The Lord of Hosts!", and on the third time the lights to the church came on, papertigers
turned to me and whispered, "Protestants don't do anything this cool." I found that sweet, somehow.
We ended Liturgy a good hour later than it ended last year, and with about twice last year's crowd (to be fair, it was a bit cold and drippy last year). The new choir director had the choir singing some of the melodies I remember so well from childhood, including the Extopostilarion that reminds me so much of K.R.'s wonderful soprano, and the Theotokion that we did together a few times, with me taking the alto part (for once, the part with all the beautiful ornamentation).
Metropolitan Jonah is interactive in ways that are unexpected if you are cradle Orthodox. For example, when we sang "Having Beheld the Resurrection of Christ," he came out and conducted the congregation - rather expertly, at that. Someone - perhaps him, perhaps the director herself - also decided that all
of the most important hymns had to be done both in English and Slavonic. When we finished the Our Father in Slavonic and I was waiting for the priest to chant the ending, suddenly the choir was singing it in English. (I only know the first few words of the Slavonic, but I'd prayed along anyway). After Communion, when I gave her antidoran, papertigers
gave up and crept downstairs for the remainder. We finished a good hour and fifteen minutes later than last year.
A few fun things happened downstairs at "breakfast." For one thing, Fr. J. came down to bless the food, and after the Our Father, he sang, "Lord have mercy Lord have mercy Lord have mercy... I guess I'll bless." (OOOPS! We were supposed to sing "Father, bless"!) A roomful of exhausted people giggling at 4 a.m. is something to experience. There were meat pies and cheese and spinach pies and lamb cooked over a spit. papertigers
and I also had fun hanging out with a flirtatious priest and a highly competitive egg-smashing twelve-year-old, but we went home fairly early. Even so, it was 5 a.m. before we were in bed.
Today it was dinner at my unofficial family's. Four generations of women (not all of us, just a representation) and girl children sat around a table talking and laughing and telling stories. The lamb was cooked magnificently. I introduced them to cheese Pascha. A good time was had by all.